In Tonawanda, New York, the Niagara River picks up speed as it courses north toward the falls. To the east, just over the river’s grassy bank, lie rows and rows of onyx black solar panels, glistening from the corner lot of Riverview Solar Technology Park. The new solar array soaks up the Western New York sun and converts the rays into energy – energy that’s now allocated for Corning Incorporated.
The array, which went online in December 2020, in addition to five solar community solar projects announced today, expands Corning’s renewable energy use in New York State. Together, the six solar projects will help avoid more than 4.44 million pounds of greenhouse gas emissions annually, equivalent to the energy use of approximately 243 homes.
If you drove by the Tonawanda site two years ago, you would see the remnants of a petroleum storage facility, with one derelict tank rising over the field. Today, it’s transformed to make way for clean energy. Montante Solar remediated the site, engineered, and constructed the solar array. Corning supported the project by entering into a long-term power purchase agreement with Kenyon Energy to buy the array’s energy output for its Advanced Optics facility in Canton, New York.
The investments demonstrate Corning’s long-term commitment to becoming a greener and more energy-efficient company, says Dr. David Morse, executive vice president and chief technology officer, who co-sponsors Corning’s Global Energy Management program.
“We recognize the transformative potential of solar energy,” Morse said. “It creates value for our customers and shareholders, while supporting healthier communities around the world.”
Corning also made five other long-term community solar agreements with Kendall Sustainable Infrastructure for solar projects engineered and constructed by GreenSpark Solar. Corning functions as an anchor-off-taker on these community solar projects in New York State, that serve not only Corning, but also local communities. These projects create local jobs, make lease payments, add to tax rolls, and create energy savings for community members. A portion of the solar array is available for community members to sign up for through the NY-Sun community solar program. Participants receive energy savings, along with helping to create power from a renewable resource.
The energy produced by these projects is partially allocated to several facilities that support Corning’s Headquarters campus, Houghton Park campus, Corning Environmental Technologies, Integrated Die Manufacturing, and Corning Manufacturing Support. It also supports the nearby Corning Museum of Glass.