Monday, May 28, 2018

''Are You Eating Plastic?"

> Europe is proposing a ban on single-use plastic items such as cutlery, straws and cotton buds in a bid to clean up the oceans. - CNN
It is SO about time for this — we now know that tossed plastic gets washed into the world's oceans and starts breaking into tiny bits which fish eat and retain, and that we used to feel confident eating fish. So this is very, very late, but the proposal is a solid advance towards a practical overall solution, and in a prompt few-year timeframe. 

Plastic bags everywhere thank you
A good start, but here's a humble Suggestion: ban the manufacture of all single-use plastic products.  And no plastic product can be made without an end-to-end plan for re-everything: recapture or recycle.

Its vendors will naturally need to work the cost of all that into the product, and voila, it's not so cheap to produce anymore, which is one of the main causes behind our ever-growing problems with the damn stuff.
> The European Commission wants to ban 10 items that make up 70% of all litter in EU waters and on beaches. The list also includes plastic plates and drink stirrers.
> The legislation is not just about banning plastic products. It also wants to make plastic producers bear the cost of waste management and cleanup efforts, and it proposes that EU states must collect 90% of single-use plastic bottles by 2025 through new recycling programs.

> On a global basis, only 14% of plastic is collected for recycling. The reuse rate is terrible compared to other materials -- 58% of paper and up to 90% of iron and steel gets recycled.  Research shows there will be more plastic than fish by weight in the world's oceans by 2050, which has spurred policy makers, individuals and companies into action.

> The Rethink Plastic Alliance -- an association of environmental organizations -- called the proposals "a leap forward in tackling plastic pollution,"
 …but said that since the proposals do not set targets for EU countries for reduction, it "could result in countries claiming they are taking the necessary steps as long as any reduction is achieved," however small.
"Europe plans ban on plastic cutlery, straws and more"
by Alanna Petroff, May 28, 2018

More good ideas to solve the scourge of plastic are going into practice, like this one:
> Starbucks also announced in March it was launching a $10 million grant challenge to solicit designs for a cup that's easier to recycle.
From this blog (2014) — "What Can We Do With All This Old Plastic?"
  (Photo by Bill McN. Ross)

Friday, April 20, 2018

(How About) A Greenhouse Walking Track Community Center

A Concept Statement.

(Greenhouse on the Biltmore Estate - Dale S. Rogers)
Imagine — not just "picture," since scent is central to this— a lush, leafy greenhouse under a large, arching glass ceiling, filled with beautiful, breathing plants, most of which are also food.  It's warm, with an invigorating light moisture in the air.

Then, winding its way through this living space, a walking track, a footpath under the bowers, interspersed with fountains and benches.  There's a space in one corner, say about 25 x 25 ft., where near sundown the shelves of plants usually growing there can be swung into wheeled stacks and moved to open it up for meetings, small performances, etc.

The small café, its tables tucked in under the leaves, is always open starting later in the day, once all the work on the plants is through.  The music is selected for the tastes of the plants, the food for the people's.

You began coming here (remember, we're still imagining,) because you heard the walking path was very pleasant, and maybe to look at the various foods grown there and for sale.  But definitely hearing that interesting and generally healthier types of people were getting together there was an influence.

Once you'd been in there a couple times, you noticed how much you looked forward to that first in-breath of oxygen-rich air when you walked in the double door, and your step always became just a bit livelier.

Eventually you became a member, because you fell in love with all of it.  Membership in the co-op means that you get the best price and first crack at every new crop, with a year-round food share of whatever best grows in each season and cycle, and preferential choices for walking times and meeting space use.

You even looked forward to the open member meetings because you liked a lot of the people, and came to feel a common cause with them.

Now, realistically, we all know that good and even helpful ideas can and do run aground as easily as bad ones.  So any idea worth its salt has to stand up to a few good rounds of How's It Work, What-If and Then-What?

The key idea is that the combination of a strong, (literally) healthy Membership program, and the café (which could expand into a restaurant if the demand is there), could ease the enterprise out of the brutal stream of making it work exclusively as a retail operation on what's grown for sale.

Okay, sounds ducky; but "What If" it doesn't work?

If it didn't fly as this multipurpose dreamhouse, it could still be easily turned into simply a commercial greenhouse — unless the winter fitness or restaurant crowds are what draw the main support, who knows? — and I'll just need to find somewhere else to walk in the winter, even year-round.

It would so cool if someone would do this; I'd consider moving there and becoming your first member, how's that?

(April 20, 2018)

Friday, August 25, 2017

"A Working Simple System"

This post represents an interesting confluence of past and present. In a recent short series I wrote for LinkedIn on "Economizing on High Quality Documentation Projects," I ended the third with a reference to John Gall's famed concept about the crucial role of what he called "a working simple system."  It turns out this concept has become so famous over time that it's now known as "Gall's Law."

Well, that started the wheels turning, because one of the first half-dozen posts I wrote in 2006 was about just that.  Why rewrite what I've long been saying about Mr. Gall's stellar thinking, when I already have *and* had decided to start republishing my own favorites from the blog, as topsoil for what will come next.

That's what made this one our nominee for our blog's humble "Hall of Frame," we'll call it.  So:

Here's an idea so profound, so fundamental, that I can't tell you how many times I've quoted it; even before the time I had it on my first site ( in "the Serious Part," now enshrined here, along with everything else in the Internet Archive). A lot of system designers of all kinds would do well to contemplate this principle.

It's from a book by John Gall, famously named "Systemantics, The Underground Text of Systems Lore." (With the typical feverishness of Web publishing, I'm going to slap this up here now, then do some searching later to see if I can find anything about it online, or in print, or at least a bread crumb trail. Originally found this in print, in the old Whole Earth Review when I believe Kevin Kelly was editing it, before he went on to Wired.)

Some essential statements:
"Complex systems exhibit unexpected behavior. 
"The system always kicks back - systems get in the way - or, in slightly more elegant language: Systems tend to oppose their own functions.
"A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that worked.
"The parallel proposition also appears to be true: a complex system designed from scratch never works and cannot be made to work. You have to start over, beginning with a working simple system."
General Systemantics Press, Pub. Date 2nd Ed.: November 1990

(Shortly afterwards:)
...Sure enough, there are ample references to Mr. Gall's book all over the Web.

"General Systemantics Press was established in the 1970s to publish Dr. John Gall's book, 'Systemantics™ - How Systems Work and Especially How They Fail.'
This was the First Edition of what is now 'The Systems Bible™,' 

which they proclaim includes,

"three new chapters, new AXIOMS, THEOREMS AND RULES OF THUMB, and many new Horrible Examples..."

Of course there are a number of entries about it in the Wikipedia;
the main page for Systemantics contains these additional, comforting Laws:
"The Functional Indeterminacy Theorem (F.I.T.):
In complex systems, malfunction and even total non-function may not be detectable for long periods, if ever.
"Systems develop goals of their own the instant they come into being."

– from this blog, Rosswriting: "A Working Simple System"
  (originally posted  July, 2006,

Facebook, LinkedIn… and Back Around to Blogger

All of my blogging energy for years now has gone into my locality of Facebook, and the blog has mostly been left sitting here, wondering when I would return.  (Blogs are a lot like dogs that way – they just wait.)

But recently I've begun dropping articles (now known more as "long posts,") in LinkedIn, too.
The three-part "Economizing on High Quality Documentation Projects" is the current one.

That, in turn, has brought me back here – how do I want to use the "old fashioned" public blog?
The first answer to that was to go back and find the posts that I'm happiest about, the most proud of, that say things that bear repeating (at least one more time), and republish them, annotated. 

That starts with this "Introductory Demarcation Point," which you apparently are still reading.  Good!

(I'm terming this bit that way only because an "introduction" is a logical unit that would only function correctly at the beginning of what it describes, at the top, right?  But in a blog, they immediately sink to the bottom as soon as what they were previewing appears and pushes them out of the way. Even after over 10 years, I still find that clumsy.)

Well, whatta ya gonna do?  Each medium has its quirks to match its virtues.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Does Amazon Own Google Now?

On a laid back Sunday morning, when I'm most likely to feel the room to indulge curiousities that float by when you're buttering the toast, I was looking up how little you could get the third season of 30 Rock for on DVD at this point.

On Google, after a lead ad,

  • the first three (3) pure search returns were Amazon pages,
  • then one from Wikipedia,
  • then we get three more in succession from Amazon.
  • That's followed by one from Bestbuy,
  • one IMDB,
then an ad by Amazon and one by Target. Even better, the third result of the leadoff 3-in-a-row for Amazon is for Season 4, when my search for "30 rock season 3 dvd" pretty much couldn't be simpler or more specific. What's the logic there?  (Maybe "rationale" would be the better word.)

Overall, of nine (9) pure search results, six (6) were from Amazon.  Dear Google, how smart does that look?

Google's 2/3rds Amazon search results, Jan.'16

I realize of course that your Shopping tab will give me what I want.  But most people, and it's been this way since the earliest days of Web search (based on having worked at the original AltaVista Search in the late 90's), just go a search engine, type a one-word search and pick something from the first page. Google's default search page should be much smarter than this; and, inevitably, it makes me wonder what other subjects they're screwing up in similar ways.

On the identical search within the hour, Yahoo did much better, although with two each for Amazon and Ebay, it's still plainly skewed towards the Big Boys. That's anti-competitive, a principle that is not only common sense, but deeply entwined in the law. (Sure sounds a lot like whistling in the wind in this era, doesn't it.)

So, am I complaining about a flaw in their search algorithm ("Such mistakes have always been traced back to human error, Dave,") or Amazon's dominance?

Both.  First, we not be many, but there people like me who clearly choose not going to Amazon except in a pinch, and for all the reasons.
Like, Shop Local for everything possible, because Small Is Beautiful and human-scale, and you have a voice in it.  Unlike the alternative, where Too Big is a Failure of society, and Amazon in particular sounds pretty brutal to their workers, both white- and blue-collared?
That last part may not be such a problem in the near future, though, because here's a tip: if you're a robot, go see them about a job.
Bigger Is Better – for the Bigger.  Not necessarily for anyone any smaller.

Yahoo - pure search results, not incl. ads - one each of:
  • Amazon
  • EBay
  • Wikipedia
  • Bestbuy
  • EBay (2nd)
  • Amazon (2nd)
  • barnesandnoble
"Inside Amazon: Wrestling Big Ideas in a Bruising Workplace
- The company is conducting an experiment in how far it can push
white-collar workers to get them to achieve its ever-expanding ambitions."

New York Times, by Jodi Kantor and David Streitfeld, Aug. 15, 2015

Friday, February 27, 2015

NY State now 4th in U.S. solar energy jobs

Here we go again, again: with something over 7,000 jobs directly attributable to solar energy in New York State, 2100 added in 2014 alone, the state appears ready to turn solar energy into a real business, finally.  We were following earlier efforts, and it's good to see what looks like a major corner being turned.

From The Solar Foundation (an independent, strategic research nonprofit in D.C., begun in 1977):

"Solar is the fastest growing source of renewable energy in the U.S. today. Accounting for 50 percent of new generation capacity in 2014 in the U.S., the sleeping giant of solar energy is most decidedly waking. The solar industry currently employs nearly 174,000 Americans and contributes almost $15 billion to the U.S. economy."

Relevant fun facts from the Solar Energy Industries Association:

•  In 2014, more than a third of all new electric capacity was solar. At that rate, a new panel is installed approximately every three minutes; the one-millionth solar panel will likely be installed this year.

•  over 17,500 MW of cumulative solar electric capacity is operating in the U.S., enough to power more than 3.5 million average American homes.

In here:

Will The Solar Rise Again in NY State?

"Green" Lights in Europe, Asia, But Not U.S. (Except...)

Our long-running top tag is "appropriate technology"

Thursday, October 02, 2014

No Glam, Just Bam: Net-Zero Energy with Passive Design in Maine

Although putting the principles of passive energy design to work can efficiently generate a solid, high yield over time, "passive" is just not the kind of attitude the mainstream culture gets turned on by these days. You get bang for your buck, but they're looking for technologies that make more noise.

With the relics of the Industrial Age still running big jobs all around us, we unconsciously think a powerful solution has to somehow belch smoke and fire and make loud banging sounds.  Like so many pro tennis "raquet-eers" of our time, we want our solutions forcefully grunting with each serve, so we can hear how hard they're working for us.

So, with the news that wildlife on the planet has been cut in half in the last 40 years (Wall Street Journal), as the earth is blindly stripped of their habitats by multiplying human populations, here's another working example of how far you can go with how little. What a very important advantage that is turning out to be.

The New York Times just published this look at a net-zero energy house built by Jack Soley, a commercial real estate developer (and evidently, hardy outdoors-type,) in Portland, Maine. He built this retreat home on a tiny island off the coast as,

"a 1,200-square-foot structure that produces all the energy it consumes — less than it takes to power a high-end refrigerator." 
Mr. Soley and, "Christopher Campbell, a Portland-based architect, collaborated on a design that borrowed from traditional marine and boating practices to create the simplest, most cost-effective solutions..." 
"The 12-Volt Solution" - NYT Home & Garden, Oct. 1, 2014
How?  By putting passive-house principles to work in his design, like:
  • "super-insulation, double-paned fiberglass-clad windows and a south-facing orientation to the sun";
  • building it on only a 12-volt system powered by a micro-array of solar panels only the size of a dining room table, and stored in four marine batteries;   
  • collecting and storing rainwater to supply nearly all that the home uses, with an on-demand heater providing hot showers, etc.
"'You can be here,'" Foley says in the article, "'and have no notion you’re off the grid on a coastal island.'"

Architect Christopher Campbell's site

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

California Becomes First State to Ban Plastic Bags

Well, I'll be… good old California, always — okay, usually — out front:

"California Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation Tuesday that makes the state the first in the country to ban single-use plastic bags." 
- Time Magazine, Katy Steinmetz / San Francisco, 9/30/14, 12:56 PM ET

The ban will go into effect in July 2015 for large grocery stores, the next year for smaller businesses.

It allows stores to charge 10 cents for a paper or reusable bag instead, and also provides some financial support to manufacturers of dem ol' devil-bags, to soften the blow as they shift to producing reusable bags.

(Because lately we've been writing about exactly this need in here:)
The OceanS' Floating Garbage PatcheS – Yes, it's worse than you thought

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

What Can We Do With All This Old Plastic?

Continuing this small series on solutions to the resulting problems of all of that plastic we were told to, "Use it once, and just throw it away!" – 
Echoing the words of Buckminster Fuller, here's a gentleman reusing plastic by mixing it in with cement for roadways.
The road to the dump, and beyond it to Madurai (India)’s airport, is like a Hollywood vision of dystopian ruin: lifeless, black, choked with human refuse. And that’s why Rajagopalan Vasudevan’s enthusiasm is so jarring. … “Wonderful resource,” he says, admiring a jumble of plastic bags, jerrycans, and torn food packets. “With all this plastic, I could lay the whole road to the airport.” 
''Innovators – India's 'Plastic Man' Turns Litter Into Paved Roads''
By Akash Kapur, Businessweek, July 10, 2014
As is characteristic of truly good ideas, it has benefits in multiple ways: 
Chandigarh, India - Some rights reserved by, under Creative Commons
•  it literally "takes out the garbage," but for real,
•  it's much cheaper than the bitumen it replaces in the cement mixer,
•  it even makes the roads stronger!

But wait, there's more — Vasudevan’s roads reuse more types of plastic than can currently be recycled otherwise, including thicker types, grocery bags, wrappers, even the unfortunately popular snackpacks that are layers of different plastics and aluminum. 

The method also has the rare quality of Simplicity: Businessweek's story says, "It requires no significant technical knowledge and no large investments or changes to existing road-laying procedures."

Question: shouldn't it simply be against the law, internationally, to produce or introduce anything into the environment that can't be recycled?

Here it's probably worth noting that any product, material or substance, of any kind, that's publically available must be considered as entering the ecosystem, because it will — as proven by The Great Ocean Garbage Patches.
Also in here:
UNDO-ing Plastic: At The Source
Photo: Chandigarh, India
Some rights reserved by, under Creative Commons

Friday, August 08, 2014

UNDO-ing Plastic: At The Source

As I've been documenting just one small corner of our problems with plastic pollution — the fact of the vast patches of plastic garbage in the world's oceans — it's equally important to keep the focus on solutions.

They do exist (Bucky Fuller said so), and while we don't expect any particular new deconstruction of technology to restore the planet back to Eden overnight, it's almost always a much better use of our time and attention to be part of a solution.  That's even if its effect is no more than a nudge in the right direction (which, let's be realistic, may be the best we can expect at this point).

But it is still worth doing – any part of the right direction feels better than just moving further into the wrong ones.

Trying to address the source of the problem is usually a good way to go.  So here is just such an effort:

The "Think Beyond Plastic Business Accelerator," in Menlo Park, California, (of course,) calls itself the world’s first such incubator to focus on eliminating plastic pollution.  The company helps startups to develop affordable, sustainable alternatives to plastic, meeting the specific needs of large companies.
"Plastic may be toxic, and it lasts forever, but it’s also extremely convenient.  ...If you want companies to stop using plastic, you need to offer viable alternatives—and provide assistance to the startups coming up with them."
"A NewBusiness Accelerator Takes on Plastic Pollution"
By Caroline Winter, Businessweek, July 14, 2014

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

'Fun Facts' About The Great Pacific Garbage Patch & Co.

Continuing from the previous post, a few interesting items from the Wikipedia page on the "Great Pacific garbage patch" and its four fellow mid-ocean dumps around the globe:

  • The Great Pacific garbage patch was predicted in a 1988 paper published by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the United States. 
  • Charles J. Moore, returning home through the North Pacific Gyre after competing in the Transpac sailing race in 1997, came upon an enormous stretch of floating debris.
  • It consists primarily of submerged, suspended concentrations of often-microscopic particles in the upper water column, which, in one of many effects, fish consume as they feed on their normal menu… and those plastic micro-bits migrate all the way up the food chain.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The OceanS' Floating Garbage PatcheS – Yes, it's worse than you thought

Recently, the conclusion has come to me that the mere fact of the five gigantic "floating garbage patches" in the world's oceans means we'd better start figuring out how to capture waste plastic in the wild, and to reuse or break it down to its original elements, among other things.

North Pacific Gyre World Map (by Fangz)
(That's right: it's not just the one in the northern Pacific, the first one spotted in 1997, said to be twice the size of Texas.)
I mean, really – shouldn't the world collectively feel the shame of this, and the responsibility?

(Okay, I know the world I've mostly chosen to live in is a Frank Capra movie, but,)
How come as soon as the news first hit the big media, had its 15 minutes — now probably down to around 3-5, hm? —an immediate worldwide action movement didn't spring up to do something about it?
Could it be that maybe all the plastic they say has leached itself into our systems has influenced us to be more sympathetic to plastic!? (Okay, I'm kidding... I sure hope I'm kidding.)
But for the moment, rather than dive any further into another depressing round of grim facts about all our plastic-coated problems, two basic questions:

What can be done about it?
What can we do?

Maybe we could start with an insight of R. Buckminster Fuller's, who had the right idea when he wrote, decades ago,
“Pollution is nothing but the resources we are not harvesting. We allow them to disperse because we've been ignorant of their value.”
(Pollution seen simply as unharvested resources – this idea would work as an brilliant example of Genius, or vision, something really grand like that.)

An End-to-End Range of Solutions

Beyond that, of course, the full product lifecycle has to be dealt with. The main point first will be to reduce demand and production to the level where it can all be recaptured and somehow processed.  Reducing demand will require learning how to produce good alternatives to the functions people like to use plastic for.

The Buckminster Fuller Institute 
The Guardian's environmental news index on plastic bags:  ( 
The "Great Pacific garbage patch" on Wikipedia  
Here: posts tagged "appropriate technology"

Monday, July 21, 2014

(All the old posts restored, cleared of any unsuspecting copyright issues)

As noted in a post here some months back, I had promptly taken down all 150+ pieces that I'd put up over the years when I heard that a certain online image bank was sending hefty bills with threatening letters to bloggers who'd used one of their copyrighted images.

It didn't matter if you'd linked and attributed that photo (which I've always practiced), or immediately took it down.  You owed 'em, and they said they'd sue if you didn't pay.

Given what a wild and woolly frontier the Web was in the early years, with everyone reusing everything and proud of it, this certainly did seem like a dirty trick.
So I then started going through every post, following the links to everything that I'd put there, and zapped anything that I couldn't confirm had a Creative Commons license or was otherwise public domain.  This did get dreary, naturally, so it's taken awhile; it wasn't exactly a high priority, y'know?

But today, working on a new one, I finally got around to finishing going through the rest of the earlier posts, from way back in 2006.  So, for what it's worth, it's all there again, minus a couple of pix.

A quick search of "blogs images copyright threats" reveals quite an amount of cases; this one, among others, was detailed and instructive:
If Getty Images sent you a demand letter, there is definitely potential for a lawsuit.” –  (

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

"All Earth's water in a bubble"

Saying, "perhaps this will give us some perspective on how truly precious a resource water really is," Treehugger posted this provocative info-graphic from the United States Geological Survey (USGS), attempting to show how much water is there on, in, and above the Earth as a series of full bubbles.
 Earth water as a bubble 860 mi. in diameter

The big one represents all of the water on, in and around Earth as a bubble 860 miles in diameter.  But that's 96% saltwater.  "The smaller sphere over Kentucky represents Earth's liquid fresh water in groundwater, swamp water, rivers, and lakes," the USGS says.  The volume of this sphere would be over 2.5 million cubic miles, forming a perfect bubble (and you have to imagine, quite an imposing one) about 170 miles in diameter.

That's the fresh water we need every day, but around 30% of it is unavailably deep in the ground. Rivers, the source of most of the fresh surface water people use, only constitute about 300 cubic miles, about 1/10,000th of one percent of total water.
"How much water is there on, in, and above the Earth?"  (USGS) 
From the USGS Water Science School, which offers "information on many aspects of water, along with pictures, data, maps, and an interactive center." 
"If you put all Earth's water In one place, it'd look like this"
by Jaymi Heimbuch,

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Will The Solar Rise Again in NY State?

Try, try again - only a few years back, a big push for developing solar industry in New York's Hudson Valley and elsewhere melted down, between China underpricing the world for solar panels and the failure of a deeply politically conflicted U.S. government to resolutely fund the growth of sustainable energy.  But Governor Andrew Cuomo sure seems serious about it, and he just seriously upped the ante again.

"The already-impressive NY-Sun Initiative is about to become one of the most ambitious solar programs in the nation, with the governor committing, through a filing with the state’s Public Service Commission, $1 billion to the program—that’s right, $1 billion—over the next 10 years."
 – Natural Resources Defense Council, Pierre Bull’s Blog, 1/8/14

SUNY Buffalo's 750 kilowatt Solar Strand,
the switch just flipped on in December, 2013
From the Spring of 2012, Cuomo's NY-Sun Initiative brought together and pumped up existing programs of the NY State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), Long Island Power Authority (LIPA), and the New York Power Authority (NYPA), to create one, well coordinated and funded solar energy effort.  The launch came paired with the Public Service Commission's approval of NYSERDA’s request to double funding for customer-sited solar electric systems to $432 million over the next four years.

Last month the Governor added another $108 million in funding over the next two years for residential and commercial solar energy projects, bringing the total budget for the next two years of NYSERDA alone to $216 million.

The NY-Sun Initiative had the stated intention of "doubling the amount of customers' installed solar power in a year, and quadrupling it by 2013."  As of December, according to the Governor's office, a total of 299 megawatts of solar photovoltaic capacity has been installed or is under development, more than was installed in the entire prior decade, said to be greenhouse-gas equivalent of taking 29,000 cars off the road.

Due largely to the initiative, the state rapidly moved up the national charts of installed solar power ranking, as of the third quarter of 2013:
 “With enough solar to power more than 30,900 homes, New York currently ranks 12th in the country for installed solar capacity," According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (via "There are more than 411 solar companies at work throughout the value chain in New York, employing more than 3,300 people."
But the goal is even more ambitious: to install 3,000 (MW) of solar across New York, enough solar, they say, to:
• power 465,000 homes,
• cut greenhouse gas emissions by 2.3 million tons annually —subtracting the exhaust of almost 435,000 cars — and
• create more than 13,000 new solar jobs.

A win-win-win?  Sounds great, like it always has...

SUNY Buffalo's 750 kilowatt Solar Strand 
"'SolarStrand' Opens as New Gateway to UB Campus"
3,200-Panel Photovoltaic Array at the State University of NY at Buffalo.  Built in partnership with, and $7 million from, NYPA's Renewable Energy Program, which is now under the umbrella (solar-panelled, we're sure,) of NY-Sun.
More links:
"Governor Cuomo Announces Additional $108 Million Commitment to Solar Industry Through NY-Sun Initiative" - Gov.'s Press Office _

Filing with the state’s PSC
Related, in this blog:
"Green" Lights in Europe, Asia, But Not U.S. (2011)