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New York solar farm opens

23rd Nov 2011

New York has welcomed the completion of a local solar farm - the largest on the US east coast.

The Long Island Solar Farm (LISF) Project consists of over 164,000 solar panels on the grounds of the Brookhaven National Laboratory and will generate around 50 gigawatt hours of solar power a year.

"This is a historic day for LIPA, our customers and all of Long Island - the thousands of solar panels mounted at this site represent a significant investment and commitment to Long Island’s energy, environmental and economic future," chief operating officer at the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) Michael Hervey said.

"This solar farm not only strengthens our renewable energy portfolio, but also reduces our reliance on fossil fuels [and] assists New York State in meeting its goal of 30 per cent renewable resources by 2015," Mr Hervey said.

One of the largest solar farms constructed on US federal property, power generated by the site will be exported to the authority's grid and will provide power to approximately 4,500 households.

Mr Hervey claims that the project - recently awarded Best Photovoltaic Project of Year by the New York Solar Energy Industries Association - will also "act as a catalyst for fostering a bright future and green economy on Long Island".

The installation will avoid more than 30,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year and construction of the farm boasts the smallest footprint for a solar array of its output, "further solidifying Long Island as a national leader in clean, renewable energy," according to a statement from the LIPA.

In addition to the main facility, the project incorporates a laboratory-dedicated array and a solar research facility.

"[The project] offers Brookhaven Lab scientists a unique opportunity to study the challenges of deploying large-scale solar power installations in the northeastern US, where variable weather conditions can impact the array’s output on an hour-by-hour or even minute-by-minute basis," claimed the lab's deputy director for science and technology Doon Gibbs.

"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," Mr Gibbs added.

A long-term power purchase agreement between the LIPA and the solar farm means that price stability will be able to be delivered to customers using the solar power.

Posted by Mike Peacock - solar correspondent 

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