News

April 24, 2012

LIPA Celebrates Earth Day With A Host Of Solar Accomplishments And Initiatives

By: Mark Gross

Source: Long Island Power Authority

Uniondale, NY—Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) Chief Operating Officer Michael Hervey, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and New York State Senator Owen Johnson, along with LIPA customers, solar industry professionals, and environmental leaders celebrated today a number of solar accomplishments, milestones, and new initiatives, including the installation of Long Island’s 5,000th solar roof and LIPA’s CLEAN Solar Initiative (CSI). These accomplishments and initiatives solidify LIPA as a leader in renewable energy in New York State, the Eastern region, and the nation. Through LIPA’s nationally recognized Solar Pioneer and Solar Entrepreneur Program, the Authority has rebated over $122 million for rooftop solar systems that are expected to produce 46,000,000 kilowatt hours (kWhs) per year for the next 20 years. This is the equivalent to removing almost 4,000 cars off the road and 2,429,937 gallons of gas consumed per year.

Earlier this week the Long Island Power Authority was named among the top ten utilities in the United States with the most solar electricity integrated into their energy mix by the Washington, D.C.-based Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) ranking 4th in the Eastern Region, and 9th in the United States.

“The steady growth of residential, commercial, not-for-profit, and utility-scale solar installations across Long Island demonstrates Long Islanders increasing awareness and

LIPA’s commitment to take control of our energy future now,” said LIPA Chief Operating Officer Michael D. Hervey. “The 5,000th installation is a key step towards reaching energy independence, improving the environment, lowering the cost of solar, and successfully transforming and sustaining a robust solar market that continues to create jobs on Long Island.”

According to Mr. Hervey, Long Island’s solar growth has been fueled by LIPA’s solar programs and initiatives, which offer rebates to help mitigate the out-of-pocket expense for a photovoltaic (PV) system. In addition to LIPA’s solar rebates, customers may be able to further reduce the cost of a PV system via Federal and State tax incentives.

To date, LIPA has rebated the installation of approximately 38,520 kilowatts (kWs) of solar panels on a combination of 4,571 residential and 609 commercial roofs, therefore reducing the environmental impact of fossil fuel plants and demand on the electric grid.

LIPA’s Solar Pioneer and Entrepreneur Program have been recognized nationally and regionally by major solar industry leaders, including the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) and the New York Solar Energy Industries Association (NYSEIA) and have helped reduce the use of fossil fuels, which in turn has avoided emissions of harmful pollutants.

In addition, Hervey discussed LIPA’s CLEAN Solar Initiative (CSI), which will further advance the development of solar energy and the growth of clean energy jobs on Long Island and is consistent with the clarion call by Governor Cuomo to quadruple customer-sited solar energy in New York State by 2013. Pending approval from LIPA’s Board of Trustees, LIPA’s CSI will be New York State’s first feed-in tariff pilot program. Through the CSI, LIPA will purchase, through June 30, 2014, up to 50 megawatts (MW) of solar generation located on its customers’ premises through a Power Purchase Agreement whereby the owner of the PV system is paid a fixed rate by LIPA for every solar kWh generated over a 20-year term. This type of standard-offer performance-based incentive to help grow mid-to-large solar installations across Long Island has been used successfully by other utilities in the United States, Canada and Europe. The CSI builds off the success of LIPA’s first 50 MW project, which was achieved through the issuance of a Request for Proposal.

“Suffolk County is pleased to have served as a collaborative partner in LIPA’s Eastern Long Island Solar Project,” said County Executive Bellone. “Promoting renewable energy is necessary to ensure an environmentally sustainable future for Suffolk County. In addition, the Long Island Unified Solar Permitting Initiative, adopted by all ten townships of Long Island, assists in streamlining the solar permitting process which is economically beneficial to the Long Island solar industry as well as residents and businesses looking to protect our environment and invest in solar energy.”

“Going green saves green,” said County Executive Edward P. Mangano. “In times when energy costs are soaring, we must do all we can to mitigate that cost and that is why my first act of office was to repeal the Home Energy Tax that drove up energy expenses for our residents. I commend LIPA on their many solar accomplishments and initiatives that has rebated over $122 Million for 46,000,000 kilowatt hours (kWhs). The installation of the 5,000th solar power system on Long Island is a significant achievement and speaks volumes about LIPA’s commitment to the people of Long Island and the environment.”

“As a sponsor of Net Metering Legislation, which allows those who have installed solar equipment to sell excess electricity back to their local utility, I’m happy to hear that Long Island, through LIPA’s long time incentive programs, has reached this significant milestone. I have long recognized the value of solar energy and I commend LIPA for recognizing its tremendous potential to reduce our need for fossil fuels. LIPA’s Clean Solar Initiative goes a long way in helping meet clean energy goals while supporting high-paying, skilled job opportunities,” said New York State Senator Owen H. Johnson.

“Solar power is a renewable resource. It is non-polluting and draws its energy from the sun. There is no danger that we will be running out of the resource. These types of projects help to protect our environment reduce the cost of electricity and provide local jobs,” said Assemblyman Bob Sweeney, Chairman of the Assembly Committee on Environmental Conservation.

"Here in the Town of Babylon, we are proud to partner with LIPA on many of their environmental initiatives that provide important environmental benefits, as well as savings to Long Island's energy customers. The expansion of solar energy on Long Island is enormously beneficial to residents and businesses, and we applaud LIPA for enacting these highly successful programs," said Town of Babylon Supervisor Rich Schaffer.

LIPA, working with its public and private partners, has nearly completed a 50 MW utility-scale solar generation project. On November 18, 2011, LIPA, BP Solar, and Brookhaven National Laboratory completed and commissioned the Long Island Solar Farm (LISF) Project. The 32MW LISF, which is made up of 164,312 solar panels hosted at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory and is among the largest solar projects in the nation as well as on a federal facility. The remaining solar installations are being constructed as “solar carports” at Suffolk County and Long Island Rail Road parking lots. Together, these utility-scale projects will provide enough clean solar power to sustain more than 6,500 households and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 45,300 tons.

“A decade ago Long Island had only a handful of rebated solar installations; it now has 5,000 solar roofs, and several utility scale projects. The coming feed-in tariff, a highly successful market-based method used around the world, will offer an even greater opportunity for the growth of solar power here on Long Island,” said Gordian Raacke, Executive Director of Renewable Energy Long Island, a regional not-for-profit organization. “With this remarkable evolution of solar initiatives, LIPA is making a quantum leap.”

“We are excited to announce that all ten of Suffolk’s towns and several villages in both Nassau and Suffolk have now adopted the Long Island Unified Solar Permit Initiative,” said David Calone, Chairman of the Suffolk County Planning Commission. “By entailing less paperwork, this streamlined and standardized process for permitting residential solar installations will accelerate solar installations across Long Island and create more electric savings and more green jobs for Long Island – all while providing better information for municipalities and first responders. This initiative, which resulted from the collaboration of a number of Suffolk’s municipalities along with our colleagues in the Nassau County Planning Commission, would not have been possible without the invaluable leadership and support of LIPA. This effort arises from the Suffolk County Planning Commission’s mission to bring Suffolk’s municipalities and stakeholders together to address land use issues that are of regional importance.”

"The Long Island Power Authority has proven itself a true solar power leader," said Julia Ham, President and CEO of SEPA. “For the third time, LIPA has joined the ranks of the country's top solar utilities. Last year, LIPA added nearly 47 MW of renewable solar energy to its portfolio demonstrating that solar is a viable utility-scale energy resource in the Northeast.”

“The Long Island Solar Energy Industries Association (LISEIA) is proud to recognize our member Kevin Creamer on his role as the solar contractor on LIPA's 5000th solar home. The movement toward renewable energy forms, especially solar, is one that will give our families and their families environmental and energy security for years to come. We are indeed fortunate to operate in a community in which the utility fully understands and supports the movement to significant renewable energy use. LIPA has been both a leader and visionary in this regard and they are to be congratulated on their perseverance and commitment to make Long Island a better place,” said R. Sail Van Nostrand Chairman LISEIA.

The Long Island Unified Solar Permitting Initiative
LIPA in conjunction with both the Nassau and Suffolk Planning Commissions authored a new solar permitting process as part of the Long Island Unified Solar Permitting Initiative (LIUSPI). The LIUSPI was created to help mitigate, the solar installation approval process for Long Island which has different sets of regulations for each town and village creating confusion, delays and extra costs for many Long Islanders wishing to install solar systems on their homes with the hopes of improving the environment and lowering their energy bills. This new permitting process has been adopted by all 10 towns and six villages in Suffolk County and nine villages in Nassau County.

Smart Grid Small Generator Interconnection Procedures
LIPA also has proposed a Smart Grid Interconnection Procedure that is designed to streamline and provide certainty to the approval process while ensuring protection of public safety and the integrity and reliability of the system.

LIPA Solar Substations
As LIPA continues to advance the installation and operation of solar power throughout Long Island, the Authority has also begun to identify “greening” its own facilities. Today, LIPA is announcing plans to install solar panels at three substations along the Route 110 Corridor in Melville generating an additional 17.5kWs These installations will be part of LIPA’s Smart Energy Corridor and will aid in developing and evaluating benefits and costs of using PV energy to reduce internal power consumption, supplement or replace battery chargers and auxiliary power for substation needs, as well as increase the use of alternative energy resources.

To learn more about LIPA’s solar programs, projects, and initiatives, visit LIPA’s Web site at http://www.lipower.org/solar/   

LIPA, a non-profit municipal electric provider, owns the retail electric Transmission and Distribution System on Long Island and provides electric service to more than 1.1 million customers in Nassau and Suffolk counties and the Rockaway Peninsula in Queens. LIPA is the 2nd largest municipal electric utility in the nation in terms of electric revenues, 3rd largest in terms of customers served and the 7th largest in terms of electricity delivered. In 2010, LIPA outperformed all other overhead electric utilities in New York State for frequency of service interruptions, and ranked second for duration of service interruptions. LIPA does not provide natural gas service or own any on-island generating assets. More information about LIPA can be found online at: a href="http://www.lipower.org">http://www.lipower.org.