LIPA Touts New Commercial Solar Initiative

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Last month, the Long Island Power Authority began the process of launching the Clean Solar Initiative-II, which seeks to harness 100 megawatts of solar energy on the island, and 40 megawatts to the East End specifically. The project, which LIPA touts as a means to grow clean energy jobs on Long Island, is enough to power approximately 13,000 homes.

Unlike other pushes to get homeowners to power their residences with solar power, this program is designed to set up solar farm installations in parking lots, on commercial property roofs or exteriors, or with ground-mount systems, according to LIPA.

“This program, which will create renewable mini power plants of sorts, generates energy from the sun in remote areas but will be directly linked to our utility system grid. All of our customers will utilize the energy,” said Michael J. Deering, LIPA vice-president of environmental affairs.

Following approval, applications to participate will be accepted on September 30. After a 120-day application period, the rate LIPA will pay per kilowatt-hour is set at an average of the winning bids, according to Mr. Deering. The rate is fixed for the next 20 years.

East End sites will be given a 7-cent per kilowatt-hour premium in order to “help defer, reduce or eliminate the need to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in building new generation and infrastructure lines,” according to information provided by LIPA.

“We pay for the energy produced, they pay for the equipment and the installation with the payback being the economic return over the 20-year purchase agreement,” Mr. Deering explained. “There is a guaranteed power agreement for our customers and a guaranteed investment stream for them. This is where the free market is going to work. It will drive the program. Solar developers will reach out to property owners and municipalities with open rooftops, and plans will unfold.”

– Brandon B. Quinn

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