Thousands of solar panels will be installed at four Brookhaven Town properties to boost alternative energy on Long Island and add millions of dollars to town coffers, officials said Tuesday.
Town Supervisor Edward P. Romaine said 54,000 panels -- at the town landfill, a park, a composting facility and Brookhaven Calabro Airport -- are expected to generate 12 megawatts of electricity, enough to supply power to 2,500 homes. Construction is expected to begin later this year.
The town agreed to lease portions of the four properties to American Capital Energy, a Lowell, Massachusetts-based solar developer, which will distribute the power to the Long Island Power Authority.
The town expects to earn $4 million to $5 million during the 20 or more years the panels are expected to produce power.
Brookhaven officials said 10 more town sites may eventually be leased for solar panels that would provide power to an additional 5,900 homes. The added sites would boost the town's total earnings from the leases to $40 million to $50 million, officials said.
"We [will] have clean, alternative power that doesn't produce emissions," Romaine said during a news conference at the Holtsville Ecology Site, one of the places where panels will be installed. "That helps to produce clean energy."
In addition to the ecology site and Calabro Airport in Shirley, panels will be built at the town landfill in Brookhaven hamlet and the Manorville Compost Facility.
The panels will be installed by Eldor Contracting Corp. of Holtsville. The project is expected to create about 200 construction jobs and about 50 permanent jobs to supervise the facilities.
Power officials said the agreement helps to boost efforts to expand alternative energy on Long Island, where available open space is hard to find.
Town officials said they were happy to lease town land that they said was underutilized. Biking and hiking trails at the park won't be affected by the panels, officials said.
"One of the things we have is open space," said Highway Superintendent Daniel Losquadro, whose department manages the ecology center. "Many of the people who use this site say, 'This site gives me energy.' Now we'll be able to, literally and figuratively, give them energy."
Councilman Tim Mazzei said he was pleased with solar panels he installed at his house. "You can't believe the amount of energy you get from these panels," he said.