Long Island Gets Largest Solar System in Eastern U.S.

Long Island is now home to the largest solar PV farm on the east coast.

The 32 megawatt plant, while not huge, is a big move for Long Island, which is close to being built out. There’s little undeveloped land left that hasn’t been preserved. 

164,312 solar panels are spread over 200 acres will power  4,500 homes. The developers say it has the smallest carbon footprint of any solar array of its size and output.

LI Solar Farm

The Long Island Solar Farm (LISF), owned by BP Solar International and MetLife started producing electricity on November 18. The plant will feed the electrical grid at little extra cost – about $0.60 a month for a typical residential customer.

The plant is built on public land owned by the Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Lab (BNL). The agency plans to use the site for research into how the solar plant performs on Long Island, which has variable weather and seasons.

"Understanding these local microclimate effects will help us reliably integrate power from intermittent sources like solar and wind into the electric grid, and advance state and national renewable energy goals," says Doon Gibbs, BNL’s deputy director for science and technology.

LIPA, the local utility, is contributing $2 million to preserve lands in the nearby Pine Barrens and BNL is adding 51 acres to the 500 acres it’s preserved. BP Solar is providing $75,000 to  restorate and maintain the surrounding ecological habitat.

The solar farm contributes to NY State’s Renewable Energy Portfolio, which requires the state to source 30% of its energy from renewable sources by 2015 with an added 15% in efficiency.

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