Long Island Solar Farm Opens in Upton


solarOfficials from the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA), BP Solar International, Inc. (BP Solar), Brookhaven National Laboratory and a host of government officials and environmental leaders today celebrated the completion and commissioning of the Long Island Solar Farm (LISF) Project. Owned by BP Solar and Met Life, the LISF installation is part of the largest solar energy project in the state of New York, the largest photovoltaic array in the eastern U.S., and among the largest in the nation constructed on federal property. The 32-megawatt (MW) LISF, which is made up of 164,312 solar panels hosted at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory, also boasts the smallest footprint for a solar array of its output, further solidifying Long Island as a national leader in clean, renewable energy.

“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 percent 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.”

The U.S. DOE officially welcomed LISF to Brookhaven National Laboratory, a DOE facility, and applauded the years of work put into the project by LIPA, BP Solar, DOE’s Brookhaven Site Office, and Brookhaven Science Associates, which manages and operates Brookhaven Lab for DOE. New, “green” infrastructure like LISF promotes the DOE’s national energy security and clean energy goals. Such beneficial use of DOE sites attracts investments from public and private sources, creates jobs, encourages collaboration between agencies, and helps achieve President Obama’s objectives to strengthen America’s energy security and to deploy clean energy resources. This exemplifies the goal of DOE’s Asset Revitalization Initiative.

“This landmark project was truly a team effort and a historic achievement for all involved,” said Mike Petrucci, CEO of BP Solar. “In addition to our primary partners, key political, community, environmental and labor leaders played important roles throughout the development and construction of the project. The result is a significant source of clean energy for Long Island, as well as a positive economic impact for the local workforce and businesses. I am certain Long Islanders will be very proud of this facility for many years to come.”

Doon Gibbs, Brookhaven Lab’s deputy director for science & technology, added, “In addition to providing thousands of Long Island homes and businesses with clean, renewable electricity, this impressive solar array also offers Brookhaven Lab scientists a unique opportunity to study the challenges of deploying large-scale solar power installations in the northeastern U.S, where variable weather conditions can impact the array’s output on an hour-by-hour or even minute-by-minute basis. Understanding these local ‘microclimate’ effects will help us reliably integrate power from intermittent sources — like solar and wind — into the electric grid, and advance state and national renewable energy goals.”

Co-owned by BP Solar and MetLife through Long Island Solar Farm LLC, LISF will introduce approximately 50 gigawatt-hours per year of clean, Long Island-based renewable energy into LIPA’s electric grid. This amount of solar energy is equivalent to the electrical consumption of roughly 4,500 households. Additionally, the project will cause the abatement of more than 30,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year as well as substantial amounts of other pollutants such as nitrogen oxide (NOX) and sulfur dioxide (SOX). These environmental benefits, combined with a thoughtful and comprehensive stakeholder engagement approach, helped the project earn the Best Photovoltaic Project of Year Award from the New York Solar Energy Industries Association (NYSEIA), further illustrating that the LISF project sets the gold standard for innovative, sustainable development.

LIPA has entered into a long-term power purchase agreement (PPA) with LISF to provide the energy produced and Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) from the solar farm. The costs to LIPA under the PPA for the energy produced by LISF are estimated to total $298 million (including interconnection costs) over the contracted 20-year term or about $0.60 per month for the typical residential customer. “This agreement not only allows us to provide clean energy to our customers, but it also delivers price stability for our customers in an energy market where oil and gas prices remain volatile,” added LIPA COO Michael Hervey.