Last month we reported that Distributed Sun (D-SUN) and Washington Gas Energy Systems proposed to co-develop and finance the on-site renewable energy solutions for Cornell University’s proposed NYC Tech Campus on New York City’s Roosevelt Island.

This month, the project was been awarded and is now actually on its way.
Chase Weir, the CEO of Distributed Sun, the project developer, said, “This story has so many superlatives. A $2 billion sustainable campus, an anonymous $350 million gift, a new venture fund, the promise to spawn 600 new tech companies, jobs and more jobs, tens of billions in economic impact. We’re a small but inspired part of a very big ambition, and our real work has only just begun. Distributed Sun looks forward to working with Cornell to build New York City’s largest solar and geothermal systems, and with our friends at Washington Gas to provide the next generation in fuel cells -- all delivering innovative power and finance solutions to this visionary project.”

That "anonymous" donor has been revealed as Charles Feeney, a Cornell alum and philanthropist. Stanford University dropped its bid to participate last week.

The Cornell project includes renewable energy generation from integrated solar, geothermal, and fuel cell power sources to contribute approximately nine gigawatt-hours of electricity annually. D-SUN will provide distributed solar arrays totaling 1.8 megawatts, as well as a geothermal system with 400 wells at 500-foot depths across four acres. Additionally, fuel cells will generate 22,500 million Btus from natural gas per year.  This mix of renewable energy solutions has the potential to reduce conventional electricity consumption at the campus by as much as 75 percent.

According to Weir, the project is a “truly unique opportunity for the city of New York to apply and demonstrate the vision of tomorrow’s renewable energy solutions at an applied sciences campus.” If built today, the NYC Tech Campus would deliver the largest geothermal and solar installations in the city and the largest net-zero building in the eastern United States, according to the CEO.

Source: Distributed Sun

The $1-billion-plus campus is being situated toward the arc of the sun to maximize solar energy potential. Weir stated: “This is a remarkable testament to the advance of solar in the U.S. and around the world, to have an entire campus and an architectural landmark designed and pointed toward the arc of the sun for maximum solar output. That’s a good indication of where tomorrow’s energy generation is truly headed."