EAST HAMPTON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A large solar farm on Long Island’s South Fork is close to completion.
That means residents in one town are closer to their clean energy goals.
One particular two-acre parcel of land was once a dumping ground for East Hampton’s brush. Now, it’s a key piece in the town’s multi-year plan to have 100 percent of community-wide electricity needs supplied by renewable energy sources.
“This project will produce about 1.1 megawatts of energy,” East Hampton Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc told CBS2’s Elise Finch on Monday. “This would basically represent a little over half of what the town, the municipal government’s use of electricity is, that’s street lighting.”
Van Scoyoc said his town has a licensing agreement with AES Distributed Energy, so the massive solar installation on town property isn’t costing tax payers a dime. That’s a good thing because transforming the land has been time and labor intensive.
“It was pretty much an open forest. We had to come out and clear every tree out here and chip everything up and get everything cleared in advance of the solar coming in,” said Joseph Romeo of Pro Tek Energy Solutions.
“We’re driving pilings into the ground, erecting framing, then installing the modules,” general foreman Michael Finn said.
On Monday afternoon, there was a ribbon cutting to celebrate the progress so far. Drone Force 2 showed the 16 rows of galvanized steel racks. By early November they’ll be topped with more than 3,500 solar panels. East Hampton residents CBS2 spoke to said they’re excited about the new power plant.
“I think it’s terrific, in combination with the wind farm, the solar farm. They needed a combination of all of it,” one resident said.
“We’ve got to get away from fossil fuels,” another said.
“If it works and it saves some people some money on their energy bill, and it’s good for the environment and good for the public, then why not follow the lead and see how it can help their community,” another added.
There’s still a lot of work to be done, but CBS2 was told the solar panels will be installed and connected to the grid by the end of the calendar year.
Over the next three years, East Hampton will also be generating power from offshore wind farms.