With its wide-open space and southern slope, the at Cox Lane in Cutchogue is an ideal spot for a photovoltaic solar power system to help the town and taxpayers save money through a new feed-in tariff program from the Long Island Power Authority, according to representatives of Bright Power.
James Hannah and Andrew McNamara of Bright Power, a New York City-based provider of renewable energy, energy efficiency and green buildings solutions, presented a solar feasibility study for the feed-in tariff program to the during Tuesday’s work session this week.
Under the feed-in tariff, which LIPA announced it would offer to customers in April, LIPA will pay the town 22 cents per kilowatt hour for 20 years for 50 megawatts of energy. Payments are based on the amount of solar power the town can generate back into the grid. Feed-in tariffs have already dominated Germany and other countries and have been introduced to the U.S. in New Jersey and Connecticut.
Now that New York State has approved feed-in tariff systems, Southold would be an ideal spot for one, Hannah said.
“Sites like the landfill and the collection center in town are not using a lot of electricity, so you’re not trying to offset those electrical costs — you’re just feeding into the loop,” he said. “The other nice thing about the landfill if that it’s southern sloping, a great place to apply existing solar technology.”
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Hannah and McNamara also proposed plans for solar installation on the roof of the collection center and on the fields behind the in Peconic but suggested that board members move on applying for enrollment for the landfill proposal sooner than later. The enrollment period ends on July 1 and projects are approved by LIPA on a first-come, first-serve basis.
McNamara suggested that if the town wanted to invest in the $11 million system at the landfill that they put the project out to bid to solar developers. The developer who takes up the project would lease the land from the town and get $1 million a year in payments from LIPA (see attached PDF for more information on the payback system). These payments combined with tax credits and depreciation would mean a “stream of revenue from the get-go without the town having to lay down a bunch of cash up front,” McNamara said.
To Councilman Al Krupski, who was filling in for Supervisor Scott Russell at the work session, there was little downside in investing in the feed-in tariff program and putting the project out to bid.
“The only downside is that we won’t know what the cost of electricity will be in 20 years,” he said. “But we’re not doing anything with the landfill cap anyway. And we’re still carrying substantial debt at that facility, and I agree with what the supervisor has always said — any source of revenue to pay down the debt is better than nothing.”
Due to the tight schedule to enroll for the project, board members agreed to hold a special meeting on Friday at 8 a.m. in the Southold Town Hall conference room for the purpose to bid the installation of the photovoltaic solar power systems on selected town-owned sites and any other business that may come before the board.
See attached power point presentation from Bright Power for more information on the proposal.