A view of the property at 172 South Country Rd....

A view of the property at 172 South Country Rd. in Quiogue, where a renewable energy company is proposing to build a 2-megawatt solar array. Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

A renewable energy company has proposed building a 2-megawatt solar array in Southampton Town that it says will help reduce fossil fuels and save residents money.

But neighbors of the proposed site in Quiogue, located between the villages of Westhampton Beach and Quogue, have raised concerns about the facility’s proximity to homes, potential noise it will generate and negative impacts to the environment and wildlife.

New York City-based CVE North America proposes to install approximately 4,000 solar panels on property it leased from Westhampton Beach Village solely for the project. The company is at the beginning of a lengthy approval process.

Several residents objected to the solar array during a Southampton Planning Board public hearing March 14 on the company’s pre-submission site plan application. The pre-submission stage allows the company to gather input from the community and town planners before submitting a formal site plan application, according to Jacqui Lofaro, the planning board chairperson.

Potential noise the panels typically generate topped the list of concerns raised by 10 residents at the hearing, some of whom described their neighborhood as “peaceful” and their home as a “sanctuary.”

“Quiogue is being thrown under the bus for a paltry sum of money,” said Joseph Litto, whose home on Jennifers Path abuts the property.

Some residents said they don’t object to solar, but rather the location of this proposal.

Louis Dipasquale, who also lives on Jennifers Path, held out his cellphone to play a video of birds chirping overhead from earlier that morning and questioned the potential impact on wildlife.

Steven Engelmann, senior business developer for CVE North America, said the solar array to be located at 172 South Country Rd. can benefit approximately 250-300 homes and provide about a 10% monthly savings on electric bills. A customer with a $200 average monthly bill could save about $240 in a year, PSEG said. 

“The intent here is for a clean energy project to be installed within the community where it will be used to provide economic relief for high energy costs here on Long Island,” he said at the hearing. 

A single inverter at the site would send electricity into the PSEG-Long Island grid, Engelmann said.

Elizabeth Flagler, PSEG spokesperson, said the utility reviewed the project as it relates to the interconnection, the process of connecting to its electric grid. She said PSEG's role is only to "ensure the safety and reliability of the interconnection."

Engelmann said equipment that generates noise, such as the inverter, would be located on the east side that abuts property owned by the Suffolk County Water Authority.

He said the type of irritating noise residents referenced would be generated by a much larger solar array.

Residents would have the option to subscribe to a community solar program to receive the savings, Engelmann said.

In November, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced more than two gigawatts of community solar had been installed in New York with a goal of installing six gigawatts of distributed solar by 2025, according to New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.

Community solar programs, such as the one proposed in Quiogue, are designed to expand access to solar energy.

Westhampton Beach Village approved a lease agreement with CVE in February 2023 for the company to build a solar farm.

The company leased 11.8 acres of the 13.1-acre property that formerly housed the village’s Department of Public Works, according to documents filed with the planning board.

Westhampton Beach Mayor Ralph Urban said in an interview the company approached the village in 2021 about a potential lease agreement. While the village owns the property, it falls outside the village boundary, so any approvals are under the town’s jurisdiction, Urban said.

The lease agreement includes a formula that determines how much the village receives based on the amount of electricity generated, Urban said.

He said board members viewed the proposal as “green, passive use.”

The 25-year lease agreement provides several timeframes for CVE to complete the project, starting with a three-year window to receive town approvals otherwise the contract “ceases,” Urban said.

The planning board adjourned the hearing and plans to reconvene March 28.

Cricket stadium coming down … Islanders preseason schedule … LI's disco history Credit: Newsday

DWI sentencing ... Hempstead house fire ... Cricket stadium coming down ... LIRR crime rate

Cricket stadium coming down … Islanders preseason schedule … LI's disco history Credit: Newsday

DWI sentencing ... Hempstead house fire ... Cricket stadium coming down ... LIRR crime rate

SUBSCRIBE

Unlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months

ACT NOWSALE ENDS SOON | CANCEL ANYTIME