Contract awarding OKd for landfill solar array

Oyster Bay Town Hall on Audrey Avenue on Oyster Bay Town Hall on Audrey Avenue on Oct. 21, 2010. Photo Credit: Kevin P. Coughlin

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The Oyster Bay Town Board has approved the awarding of a contract for development of a 2-megawatt solar power generating station at the site of its closed Old Bethpage landfill.

The board voted Tuesday to authorize Supervisor John Venditto to finalize and sign a contract with a consortium of vendors called Sustainable Power Group LLC or sPower, based in Utah. The agreement would then have to be approved by the Long Island Power Authority, which would buy the electricity generated.

Town environmental consultant Hal Mayer said that company would pay to install 8,800 solar panels on 7 acres of the flat top of the capped landfill and 792 panels on the roof of the adjacent garbage transfer station. The panels would generate slightly more than 2 megawatts.

Mayer said sPower will own and operate the facility and pay the town an estimated minimum of $155,000 a year and as much as $225,000 depending on price of power paid by LIPA.

The consortium has applied for a New York State Energy Research and Development Authority grant. If it is approved, the town's annual revenue could be as high as $560,000 over the 20 years of the contract, Mayer said.

The facility will be participating in a LIPA program to purchase up to 100 megawatts of power from sources like landfill panels through a bidding process.

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Construction is expected to start in late summer and the facility should be online by end of January 2015, with construction subject to state Department of Environmental Conservation approval. There would be no piercing of the cap on the landfill.

The vendors, who beat out two other bidders, have done projects in New Jersey and Pennsylvania and on the West Coast but none on Long Island, Mayer said.

"This is all American-made products and we think that's good," Mayer said. "They are taking all the risk and we get a guarantee" of income.

North Hempstead Town officials are also looking at constructing two 2-megawatt solar panel arrays over two shut landfills in Port Washington.

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