Renewable Energy


Powered by Local Small Scale Hydroelectricity!

Saranac Lake-based NP&L connects local energy producers with local customers. The company began supplying Paul Smith’s in March, when the College subscribed to electricity from the Azure Mountain Power facility in St. Regis Falls. This latest announcement adds electricity from the Sissonville hydro station on the Raquette River in Potsdam to meet the rest of the College’s electric needs.  “We are thrilled to expand our service to Paul Smith’s” said NP&L founder Emmett Smith. “The College was an early subscriber to our first project, Azure Mountain Power, and that was a big help to us getting started. But we did not have enough power available to serve the whole campus until we brought Sissonville online.” The 3.1 MW Sissonville hydro station is located at the former site of Raquette River Paper in Potsdam, NY. NP&L manages energy from the project in partnership with owner-operator Boralex Hydro Operations, based in Glens Falls. “Paul Smith’s College is committed to supporting local clean energy while reducing its greenhouse gas emissions.” said Paul Smith’s College Sustainability Coordinator Kate Glenn.  “Supporting local businesses and preserving existing renewable energy sources in the region, like the historic Sissonville Hydro station, will help build a more resilient electric grid and local economy. Rural areas face unique economic struggles, and renewable energy generation is one of the ways we can continue to develop our region’s economy sustainably.”

NP&L enables small producers to connect with local consumers through a platform called community distributed generation (CDG). Under this model, customers subscribe to a portion of the output from a local facility, and pay the provider for power as it is used. Other companies relying on CDG in the North Country include Saranac Lake Community Solar. NP&L is currently seeking new customers for projects in the North Country, and service is available to any customer who pays a National Grid electric bill. Residents and businesses can sign up or find out more at

Emmett Smith, Founder, Northern Power & Light, Inc. (518) 293-4075,

District Heating Wood Pellet Boiler

Our pellet boiler system was manufactured in Troy, NY. The pellets come from Curran Renewable Energy in Massena and are sourced from local, sustainably harvested, FSC-Certified woodlots! In 2007, Paul Smith’s College was among the first to sign the Presidents’ Climate Commitment. Our current Climate Action Plan lists our carbon neutrality date as 2029. The installation of the pellet boiler is a significant step towards our goal of achieving carbon neutrality. This system provides the primary heat for our three academic buildings: Pickett, Cantwell, and Freer. This pellet boiler is one of the first institutional mini-district heating systems (connecting three buildings) in upstate New York State! The pellet boiler was provided at minimal cost to the college thanks to grant funding through NYSERDA

Solar Array

The solar array at Paul Smith’s College promotes solar energy development in the Adirondack Park, and is an education tool for our community, while also serving as a symbol of our college communities’ commitment to renewable energy. Our 12.24 kw grid-tied roof mounted solar array consists of 48 (255 watt) solar panels, which generate between 10,000 and  13,000 kWh of electricity annually. The array is located on the roof of the Joan Weill Adirondack Library. Real time energy generation information is displayed on the Paul Smith’s College sustainability Energy website. This project was developed by team of students, faculty, and staff here at Paul Smith’s College, and paid for by a grant from the Sustainability Grant and NYSERDA (New York State Energy Research and Development Authority). The system was built and installed by ADK Solar, a local solar installer located just 12 miles away in Saranac Lake. ADK Solar supports our educational mission and often speaks in classes and engages with our students by leading field trips to area solar installations.  To view the full Sustainability proposal please visit, 

LEED Certified Silver Buildings on Campus

USGS (Green Building Council) LEED  (Leadership in Environmental Energy and Design) Certification is a third party rating system for energy and environmental design.  Starting in 2007, all new buildings here at Paul Smith’s College will have to be LEED certified Silver or better specifications.  Paul Smiths College has two LEED Certified Silver buildings, the Palozzi Center and Overlook Residence Hall. Both projects use geothermal heating and cooling systems with high efficiency heat pumps, low VOC paint, high density spray foam insulation making this buildings really well insulated, bike storage, local landscaping and other features.

Overlook Residence Hall houses 23 apartments with kitchens and a classroom in the basement. The building features a permeable pavement, parking spaces for fuel efficient vehicles, a bike rack, locally sourced wood and passive solar design principles.

Countess Alicia Spaulding-Paolozzi Environmental Science and Education Center (Paolozzi Center) building, houses the Adirondack Watershed Institute. This building maximizes efficiency using geothermal heating and cooling and low wattage light bulbs.The facility has a conference room that seats 24 people and is equipped with a podium computer and HD projector. The ground floor of the Paolozzi Center houses a state-of-the-art laboratory that supports the research and monitoring work of AWI and CAB, as well as other research, student capstone projects, and courses. Click here for more information about the Paolozzi Center. 

Green Roof on the Joan Weill Adirondack Library

The Joan Weill Adirondack Library is home to the solar array and has a green roof! The green roof has insulating properties and helps the facility to stay around 56 degrees. When entering campus you may notice the large “hill” leading to the back of the library, this is our green roof! Not only does it help with insulating the building and therefore conserving energy, but green roofs can also help  reduce noise, help manage stormwater runoff, sequester carbon, minimize the “Urban Heat Island Effect”. It also makes a great place to sit and have a picnic!  


See information below, or click on our live link to get real time data on our solar panel! 

Paul Smith’s College Solar Panel Live Data

January 2019 Solar Electricity Generation

February 2019 Solar Electricity Generation

March 2019 Solar Electricity Generation

April 2019 Solar Electricity Generation