Solar Array Celebration Opens Alumni Weekend 2017

Published Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Oakwood Friends School Alumni launch solar array project.

The Oakwood Friends School community opened Alumni Weekend 2017 with the official launch of our solar array project. On Friday, May 12th at 2:30 pm. Board members, students, faculty, alumni, parents and guests from the larger community gathered to celebrate this landmark event in the greening of Oakwood’s campus.

Fred Doneit, board member and former clerk of the Property Committee, spoke about the significance of this occasion: “This project emerged from visionary thinking among our senior administrators and members of the board’s Property Committee – thinking fostered by shared values of energy efficiency and sustainability, and a readiness to think decades past the school’s near-term needs. We felt the urgency to seize current opportunities offered by state incentives, and a power-purchase financing method that involved no capital outlay by the school, or significant impact on our facilities maintenance staff. As a school community, we can be proud of our leadership role in reducing our carbon footprint on the environment. We are hopeful that the facility will be a resource and inspiration to our current and prospective students, to alumni donors, and to the Hudson Valley community at large.”

The board’s Solar Sub-Committee worked diligently to bring us to this exciting day. Working with consultant Ron Kamen of Earthkind Energy, the committee met frequently between April and November 2014 before recommending a proposal for the full board’s approval. Through a combination of strategic partnerships and New York State’s forward-thinking solar energy incentives, Oakwood secured the two-acre array project with zero outlay of dollar resources.  

In a time of uncertainty over the rate of rising electrical costs, Oakwood will benefit greatly from a partnership that includes a well-defined and guaranteed cost per kilowatt over the next two decades.

The system, online for over a year now, has surpassed the one million kWh milestone. Sized to offset 100% of Oakwood’s annual electrical consumption the array will continuously, cleanly and sustainably produce enough energy to support our campus’ 22 buildings and a community of over 200 faculty and students who call Oakwood home day and night. 

Head of School, Chad Cianfrani, spoke about the benefits of the project: “As part of a multi-year focus on sustainability and stewardship in action, this project does more than provide clean, renewable energy. The Oakwood array provides a focal point for countless educational opportunities within our Middle School, Upper School and local community. The array serves as a backdrop for outdoor classroom space and neighborhood outreach programs.  This array is also a wonderful example of sustainable energy production which is both economically beneficial and environmentally responsible.”