Solar farm in Kings Park to power 1,000 homes

solar panelsCredit: CC0 Public Domain
A 27-acre Kings Park property that started as a landfill during the 1940s and then became a golf driving range in the '80s is now home to a solar farm. NextEra Energy Resources LLC, Long Island Power Authority and PSEG Long Island last Thursday formally celebrated the launch of the Kings Park Solar Project, a 4-megawatt renewable energy facility on Old Northport Road. The official opening of the solar farm —which features 18,360 panels—came the same day the state Assembly passed a landmark climate bill calling for net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
"I think New York is at a critical time in its history," NextEra spokesman Bryan Garner said. "The state has had really ambitious renewable energy goals, and this is clearly a step in the right direction." Over its first 20 years in operation, the facility will also generate an estimated $800,000 in revenue for Smithtown, Garner said.

"When you think about solar energy of this scale, it's equivalent to removing thousands of metric tons of carbon dioxide from the air that would've been generated by fossil fuels," he said.

The use of renewable energy is not a new technique and some forms have been used for over 2,000 years.

The farm will power about 1,000 residential LIPA customers in the area annually under a 20-year contract, LIPA chief executive Tom Falcone said. Construction of the project began in November 2017, employing approximately 50 local workers. "This solar farm is what hope and optimism look like for our future," Adrienne Esposito, executive director of the nonprofit Citizens Campaign for the Environment, said. "We know over the next 20 years, the sun will shine, the power will be produced and we will have clean power. We don't know, and we may not want to know, the cost of fossil fuels."
Kings Park Solar LLC, a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources, owns and operates the farm. The land is leased from the property owners, the Izzo family. The farm was initially purchased by BQ Energy and sold to NextEra when construction was completed in late 2018. BQ Energy managing director Paul Curran described BQ Energy as a development company that finds and builds sites, while NextEra focuses more on operations. Daily operation requirements are minimal at the facility, but the site's output is monitored 24 hours from NextEra's Florida headquarters and a service team can be sent at any moment, if needed, Garner said.

Renewable energy investments are cost effective. The International Renewable Energy Agency released a new policy brief showing that renewable energy has become the most cost-effective way to generate electricity for hundreds of millions of people worldwide who are not on the grid. Read more here.

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