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New York announces 50 MW solar power project

New York Governor David A. Paterson has announced that the 50 MW solar photovoltaic (PV) energy project in New York State is moving forward on Long Island, tripling the State’s total solar energy production.

The solar project announcement followed Gov Paterson’s recent 45 by 15 programme, which established the goal for the State to meet 45% of its electricity needs through improved energy efficiency and renewable sources by the year 2015. A state-wide focus on solar energy was also a core recommendation of Governor Paterson’s Renewable Energy Task Force in February 2008.

Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) officials declared the results of a competitive procurement marking the selection of BP Solar to provide 36.9 MW of solar PV energy which would be hosted on the federal property of Brookhaven National Laboratories (BNL). Additionally, enXco will supply 13.1 MW of solar PV energy from facilities constructed and operated on municipal, school and private properties across Long Island.

LIPA will start negotiations with both developers for 50 MW of solar PV energy through a power purchase agreement (PPA) for terms of 20 years with contracted deliveries to begin between June 1, 2009 and May 1, 2011.

Summary of BP Project

BP Solar is proposing two large-scale commercial solar PV projects at the Brookhaven National Laboratory: BNL Area 1 (a project sized at 18.7 MW) and BNL Area 2 (a project sized at 18.2 MW).

In addition to the 36.9 MW, BP Solar will work independently with BNL to construct additional solar panels to help the Laboratory become more energy efficient and independent, and will partner with BNL in developing a solar PV R&D facility that will be used for research, education and outreach. This would include the testing of modules with different types of solar cells, glass encasements and wiring arrangements that could also yield information to support research on various battery and storage technologies.

To support and encourage the LIPA solar initiative, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) will provide LIPA with US$15 million and will continue to work with LIPA to identify other funds that may be eligible for use by LIPA to support the project.

Julia Hamm, Executive Director of the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA), says: “LIPA’s plan to purchase 50 MW of solar electricity is substantial. To put it in perspective, as of the end of 2007, only three electric utilities in the USA had 30 or more megawatts of solar electricity on their grid. Utilities across the USA are beginning to realise the importance of solar energy to their future energy mix, and LIPA is right there at the forefront.”


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