The US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory is home to a newly completed 32MW solar array in New York known as the Long Island Solar Farm (LISF). Representatives from Long Island Power Authority (LIPA), BP Solar International and Brookhaven National Lab were flanked by government and environmental leaders as they celebrated the official completion and commissioning of the system.
Owned by BP Solar and Met Life, the LISF project is said to be the largest solar energy project in the state of New York, the largest PV array in the eastern US and one of the largest constructed on federal property. It contains 164,312 solar panels, which are expected to produce 50GWh of solar energy per year for LIPA’s electric grid.
“This is a historic day for LIPA, our customers, and all of Long Island. The thousands of solar panels mounted at this site represent a significant investment and commitment to Long Island’s energy, environmental, and economic future,” said LIPA chief operating officer Michael D. Hervey. “This solar farm not only strengthens our renewable energy portfolio, but also reduces our reliance on fossil fuels, assists New York State in meeting its goal of 30% renewable resources by 2015, and will continue to act as a catalyst for fostering a bright future and green economy on Long Island through the creation of new, high-quality energy jobs.”
LIPA signed a long-term PPA deal with LISF to provide the energy the system produces and any Renewable Energy Credits from the solar farm. According to the organizations, costs to LIPA under the PPA for the energy produced by the solar farm are calculated to be around US$298 million over the contracted 20-year term.
The project developers and owners noted that the LIPA, Brookhaven Lab and BP Solar jointly formed a Natural Resource Benefits package to support the environmental benefits of the LISF project. According to the companies, LIPA will provide US$2 million for open space preservation within the Central Pine Barrens Region, Brookhaven Lab will preserve an additional 51 acres of property and BP Solar will give US$75,000 for ecological habitat, research and restoration.
”This is a major milestone in Long Island’s energy history: for the first time, Long Island has a power plant which will generate reliable and clean electricity for decades to come, using our abundant sunshine instead of polluting fossil fuels,” said Gordian Raacke, executive director of the not-for-profit organization Renewable Energy Long Island (reLI). “Thanks to LIPA’s vision and leadership, we are demonstrating that solar energy systems are a proven technology not only for small rooftop installations but also for large, utility-scale applications.”