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Solar project puts town on track to hit clean energy target

Solar canopies will be built in the parking

Solar canopies will be built in the parking lot of the Long Island Community Hospital Ampitheater in Farmingville. Credit: Newsday/Thomas A. Ferrara

Brookhaven officials say their latest construction project will further push Supervisor Edward P. Romaine’s long-standing energy initiative to cut greenhouse gas emissions in half in 2020.

A 2.4-megawatt solar canopy will be constructed in the parking lot of the Long Island Community Hospital Amphitheater in Farmingville and house 18 steel canopies, providing clean energy to local residents, town officials said.

The project is part of a townwide energy plan that Romaine launched in 2015 to cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by next year.

He estimated five years ago that the town emitted the equivalent of 37,877 tons of carbon dioxide a year.

“We are on target to have 50 percent reduction in energy use,” Romaine said Monday without giving specifics.

The town over the past five years has expanded the use of alternative energy, such as solar power, hybrid vehicles and LED lighting.

Some of the energy projects this year included adding 10,000 solar panels at Brookhaven Calabro Airport, which generated enough electricity to power nearly 300 homes.

Last month, the town used a $150,000 state grant to replace some of the gasoline-powered lawn and garden care equipment at the Holtsville Ecology Site with rechargeable battery-powered equipment.

The solar canopy project, which got underway last week, will include the installation of more than 6,100 solar panels on roughly 6.5 acres. The total solar power capacity will be about 2.4 megawatts.

The project won’t cost the town or residents. Brookhaven plans to lease the airspace above the canopies to solar company 5 Star Solar for $45,000 annually for the next 20 years, Romaine said.

Construction is scheduled to be completed in January.

“Going solar has reduced the town’s electric power costs as well as the town’s carbon footprint and that translates to a positive impact on our environment,” town Councilman Kevin LaValle said in a statement. 

By the numbers:

Solar capacity is 2.4 megawatts or 2,384 kilowatts

6,192 solar panels equaling 385 watts each

18 steel canopies

27 inverters equaling 60 kilowatts each in addition to transformer stations and switch gear equipment

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