Duke Energy Renewables, a green-energy arm of the Charlotte, North Carolina, electric-power conglomerate, has struck a deal to purchase a solar farm under construction in Shoreham, one set to be the second largest in the state.
Duke in a statement didn’t disclose a purchase price for the Invenergy solar farm, which is located on the former Tallgrass Golf Course in Shoreham and initially raised objections from some residents and golfers. Brookhaven Town ultimately approved it, and a groundbreaking took place earlier this year.
Duke’s purchase, which is expected to be finalized when construction is complete in the second quarter of 2018, awaits federal and local approvals.
The 150-acre project will cost local ratepayers $177 million over its 20-year life, Newsday has reported, reflecting the cost to purchase all the energy it produces for the Long Island Power Authority.
As planned, the 24.9-megawatt Shoreham array will be second in New York only to the $298 million Brookhaven National Laboratory’s solar farm, at 32 megawatts. That project was begun by BP Solar, an arm of U.K.-based British Petroleum (now BP PLC), which exited the solar business a month after the project was completed in the fall of 2011. BP’s partner in the project, insurance giant MetLife, then bought the assets.
The Shoreham array purchased by Duke is expected to produce 50,000 megawatt hours of energy a year using newer, more efficient photovoltaic panels than the BNL array, which sits on around 200 acres of federal land in Upton and produces around 44,000 megawatt hours a year. A megawatt of solar in New York powers around 175 homes, according to the Solar Energy Industry Association.
Several larger solar farms are expected throughout the state and on Long Island in coming years, including a combined 58.9-megawatt array on 10 parcels in Calverton by 2020, and several considerably larger arrays upstate.
Tammie McGee, a Duke spokeswoman, said New York “has been attractive for us” for energy projects. “We continue to have an interest in the state,” she added.
In a statement, Rob Caldwell, president of Duke Energy Renewables and Distributed Energy Technology, noted the project during construction will create 175 local jobs and pay annual taxes of just under $1 million.
“The solar project will help meet the energy needs of LIPA’s customers while delivering tremendous economic and environmental benefits,” he said in a statement.