Capital Region BOCES partners break ground on Albany County’s first solar array

ALBANY — The location of a new solar farm near the Capital Region BOCES Career & Technical Education (CTE) Center – Albany Campus will open a new chapter of learning for students in a pair of BOCES programs.

Announced on Sept. 1, Albany County’s first major solar photovoltaic (PV) ground-mount array is located on five acres of property located at 897 Watervliet Shaker Road in the Town of Colonie. The location is within a half-mile of the Career & Technical Education Center Albany Campus, which is home to two of CTE’s three Electrical Trades program laboratories, as well as the Network Cabling, Wireless Technologies, and Cybersecurity program.

“This project will provide students at Capital Region BOCES first-hand experience in the construction, installation and maintenance process for this technology, in turn gaining valuable work-based experience in the field,” said Capital Region BOCES Senior Executive Officer Joseph P. Dragone, Ph.D. “Further integrating the use of real time data and energy systems from this project will support the knowledge and technical training that our students receive in the classroom.” 

The 2.1 megawatt solar is being developed by Siemens. The solar project will be owned and operated by Calibrant Energy, a joint venture between Siemens and the financial services company Macquarie Group.

CTE Director Jeff Palmer said the project is a perfect fit for CTE students.

“We look forward to our students taking an active role in the construction and operation of this facility and to learning from it, just like they have done with so many of our employers and business partners,” he said.

The Electrical Trades program prepares students for careers as electricians, lineman and in emerging renewable technologies, as well as within other sectors of the industry. The program teaches students the fundamental skills in electrical theory through classroom instruction and hands-on shop lessons.

The Network Cabling, Wireless Technologies, and Cybersecurity program helps students develop a unique understanding of today’s ever-growing field of network connectivity and emerging technologies. Through lecture, course work and hands-on activities, students have the opportunity to explore this exciting field and gain the technical knowledge and professionalism needed to prepare them for an after high school career or post-secondary study.

Students in those programs and others were involved in the construction of the new Albany Campus in 2021, learning from BBL Construction Services officials as they oversaw the construction of the site.  

BOCES works extensively with more than 300 businesses, labor, education and professional organizations, such as the BBL, to train students and prepare them for careers that exist now and those that will exist in the future.

These partners provide work-based learning opportunities and expertise for more than 1,300 students enrolled in 29 programs.

The solar farm is the result of a collaboration between Albany County the New York Power Authority (NYPA), the Town of Colonie, Capital Region BOCES and other partners.  

Construction is expected to be complete in 2024.

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