Solar Power Stars in New York Governor's Earth Day Plan

ALBANY, New York, April 27, 2008 (ENS) – New York Governor David Paterson marked Earth Day by announcing that his administration will support the creation of New York state’s largest source of solar power by covering the roofs of Long Island malls, public and institutional buildings and parking lots with arrays of solar cells.

The move grows out of a recommendation of the Renewable Energy Task Force Paterson convened last year as Lt. Governor to identify and recommend ways of expanding the state’s use of renewable energy and alternative fuels.

Tuesday, on Earth Day, the Long Island Power Authority released a Request for Proposals calling for 50 megawatts of solar energy to be generated on Long Island.

LIPA president and chief executive Kevin Law said the solar energy would be produced by one or more developers of solar photovoltaic systems and would be purchased by LIPA and introduced onto the LIPA grid.

The plan is that the photovoltaic arrays will be installed at school buildings, on commercial and municipal rooftops, along parking lots, atop landfills, and at brownfield sites.

The project is intended to further stimulate the solar marketplace throughout the state, fostering the creation of more “green collar” jobs.

New York Governor David Paterson
(Photo courtesy Office
of the Governor)

“As our need for energy continues to grow on Long Island and throughout the state, it is imperative that we find new ways to develop more renewable energy resources that will reduce our dependence on fossil fuels,” said Governor Paterson.

The project is expected to provide enough power to sustain more than 6,500 households and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 20,000 tons.

“The RFP issued today, which was one of the recommendations of my Renewable Energy Task Force, is just one of the actions we are taking to meet our energy needs while reducing the state’s carbon footprint,” the governor said.

The 50 megawatt solar project builds on the success of LIPA’s Solar Pioneer program, which now includes more than 1,200 participants and has resulted in more than $30 million in LIPA rebates.

“LIPA’s Solar Pioneer program for homeowners has helped transform a virtually non-existent residential market into a fast growing success story,” Gordian Raacke, executive director of the not-for-profit organization Renewable Energy Long Island said. “I hope that LIPA’s new large-scale solar initiative will do the same for commercial and institutional buildings on Long Island.”

“The roofs of our malls, institutional buildings and covered parking lots present a huge opportunity to turn Long Island’s abundant sunshine into clean and green electricity,” he said.

The new 50 megawatts of solar will count for nearly one percent of LIPA’s total annual demand and will be the single largest block of solar energy in New York State.

Environmentalists approve of the initiative. Ashok Gupta, senior energy economist for the Natural Resources Defense Council, said, “Governor Paterson and LIPA’s leadership on solar is to be commended.”

“Having 50 megawatts of solar in LIPA’s portfolio will not only help reduce the pollution that causes global warming but it will also provide critical peaking power which is otherwise very expensive and often dirtier than baseload generation,” Gupta said.

“This project will diversify Long Island’s energy portfolio, strengthen the local economy, transform the solar photovoltaic marketplace, and reduce our dependency on costly fossil fuels,” said LIPA chief Law.

A Proposers’ Conference will be held at LIPA’s offices in Uniondale, New York on May 12, where LIPA staff will provide an overview of key elements of the Request for Proposals and answer questions from interested parties. Further details of the conference will be posted on LIPA’s website [].

The deadline for RFP responses is June 27, 2008. Recommendations for an award are expected to be made at the October 2008 meeting of LIPA’s Board of Trustees.

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