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Post date: July 16 2009

Attorney General Cuomo Dedicates $500,000 Towards Creation Of Green Jobs Training Laboratory For Solar Energy In Saratoga County

ALBANY, NY (July 16, 2009) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the dedication of $500,000 towards the creation of a solar energy laboratory in Saratoga County that will prepare New York’s “green jobs” workforce to be leaders in the field of state-of-the-art solar electric systems. The funds - secured from a record $9.5 million court-ordered settlement with American Electric Power over federal Clean Air Act violations - will be used to install a solar energy system for education and training purposes at the “TEC-SMART” resource center in the Town of Malta, Saratoga County.

The solar energy system to be installed with funding Cuomo secured will serve as a hands-on laboratory for workforce education and training with the installation, maintenance and servicing of solar electric systems. The host center - officially known as the “Training and Education Center for Semiconductor Manufacturing and Alternative and Renewable Technologies” - is currently under construction and is scheduled to open in January of next year. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and the Hudson Valley Community College (HVCC) are partnering to create the TEC-SMART resource center, and HVCC will occupy the building and coordinate all training at the center.

“Increasing our reliance on renewable forms of energy will not only provide tremendous environmental benefits, but will also create sustainable, high-paying ‘green’ jobs for New Yorkers,” said Attorney General Cuomo. “By helping to establish this cutting-edge training facility, New York is making a down payment on a future solar energy workforce while promoting energy independence and combating global warming.”

The solar energy installation being funded by Cuomo at the TEC-SMART center will consist of two installations, one rooftop and one ground-mounted photovoltaic or “PV” systems that will supply electricity directly to the building. In addition, the funding will be used to construct platforms and other structures necessary for safe access by students and instructors to the solar electric systems.

The installation will serve as an educational and training laboratory for students from across New York interested in the renewable energy field, as well as established journeyman electricians looking for career advancement from the direct, hands-on training in the installation, maintenance and servicing of solar electric systems. For example, the installation will prepare students for nationally-recognized professional credentialing in the installation of these systems.

“Today's announcement is yet another example of a longstanding partnership between the Attorney General and NYSERDA to protect our environment, improve local air quality, and grow our State's clean energy industry," said Francis J. Murray, Jr., President and CEO of NYSERDA. "The solar photovoltaic (PV) system that will be installed on the TEC-SMART building will provide renewable energy to a state-of-the-art building while training the green collar workforce of the future.”

“Hudson Valley Community College is pleased that Attorney General Cuomo's office understands the importance of renewable energies and the "green" jobs they can produce,” said Hudson Valley Community College President Andrew J. Matonak Ed.D. “This funding will enable the college to purchase state-of-the-art photovoltaic systems that will power the facility and serve as training tools for students. Hudson Valley is excited about its new facility, TEC-SMART, and the training it will offer in semiconductor manufacturing and clean energy technologies, including alternative fuels, photovoltaic, geothermal and wind energy.”

The solar energy installation will further serve as the regional "train-the-trainer" hub, preparing educators from Clinton, Erie and Fulton-Montgomery County Community Colleges, North Country Community College, and the State University of New York Institute of Technology and Canton campuses to provide workforce training in the solar energy field at their institutions. The installation is also an important part of Hudson Valley Community College's application for a federal Department of Energy grant to become one of six nationally-recognized regional solar training centers.

The solar installations at the TEC-SMART center will be capable of producing 62.5 kilowatts of power directly to the building, which is enough to power about 20 homes. By harnessing solar energy rather than purchasing electricity from conventional sources like coal power, about 45 tons of carbon dioxide emissions will be avoided per year. Emissions of other pollutants, such as nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide and soot, will also be avoided as a result of the installations, resulting in additional clean air benefits.

The TEC-SMART center will be located at the Saratoga Technology and Energy Park (STEP). STEP was created in 2001 by NYSERDA as the nation's first technology park dedicated to fostering the growth of clean energy and environmental technologies companies. In addition to the solar energy installation, the TEC-SMART center will include an array of other renewable energy installations to be used for educational and training purposes.

Funding for the program comes from a landmark settlement that a coalition of states and environmental groups - led by New York and the federal government - reached with American Electric Power (AEP), the nation’s largest power company, for violations of the federal Clean Air Act. From this settlement, Cuomo secured a record $9.5 million in environmental improvement payments over five years for use in energy efficiency and air pollution reduction projects - the largest payment for environmental projects ever received from a New York State settlement under the Clean Air Act.

Also today, Cuomo announced the dedication of $500,000 from the AEP settlement towards an innovative program to protect thousands of schoolchildren in Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess counties from harmful air pollution. These funds will be used to upgrade approximately 140 school buses in the three counties with state-of-the-art anti-idling technologies, significantly reducing area children’s exposure to dangerous diesel emissions. Cuomo also dedicated close to $2 million in funding from the settlement last fall to create a new oil energy efficiency pilot program, administered by NYSERDA, to help New York’s neediest families cope with the high cost of home heating oil.

This matter was handled by Assistant Attorney General Robert Rosenthal, under the supervision of Deputy Bureau Chief Lisa Burianek and Special Deputy Attorney General for Environmental Protection Katherine Kennedy.