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Community Engagement

University to Partner with Industry and Communities on Solar and Storage Network for Emergency Preparedness

ALBANY, N.Y. (June 12, 2013) – The University at Albany announces a partnership with Direct Gain Consulting of Stone Ridge, N.Y., to help communities in New York’s Hudson Valley and Capitol Region better respond when emergencies interrupt the power grid.

UAlbany Research VP James A. Dias

UAlbany Research VP James A. Dias (Photo by Mark Schmidt)

The goal of the RE-START program is to create a major network of solar installations on critical businesses and community services including gas stations, bank ATMs, food stores, health clinics and emergency service providers. While providing emergency backup, the network will demonstrate currently available solar and storage technologies and allow for the testing of next-generation technologies including those under development by University faculty.

James A. Dias, Vice President for Research at UAlbany, said, “The RE-START program is the type of innovative partnership that the University is cultivating as part of its Emerging Technologies and Innovation initiative. These partnerships hold the potential to connect our technologies with private industry and move them into the community.”

Phase 1 of the project will include an assessment of community needs and opportunities. Up to 30 communities, each with five or more sites, will be sought through a request for proposals that will be issued this month. Locations that are properly sited for solar, centrally located, and regionally owned (without absentee landlords) are most desirable.

As solar and storage technologies quickly advance, today’s cost-effective solar and battery combinations are expected to power the basic functions of a small business – a couple of gas pumps and a cash register, or a convenience store cooler and lights, a major benefit.

“With the six month anniversary of Hurricane Sandy upon us, we hope this effort can be mobilized in advance of the fall storm season,” said Direct Gain CEO John Easoz. “While direct storm impacts are daunting, even worse is the loss of business continuity that prevents basic services like grocery shopping or picking up a prescription because the cash registers aren’t functioning.”