Generating Green, Homegrown Power
Shoreham Solar Commons is a solar energy generation project that will bring an array of benefits to the community, including economic investment, job creation, and a reduction in the region’s carbon footprint.
A: The proposed project site is the 150-acre Tallgrass Golf Course in the hamlet of East Shoreham. It is bounded by Cooper Street on the north, Randall Road on the west, and Cobblestone Drive on the east. The site has a wooded periphery to the south, east, and west that will be preserved throughout development.
A: It will generate 24.9 megawatts of electricity, which could power 3,500 homes.
A: The project helps to meet state and local targets for converting to clean, affordable, on-Island generated electricity. The project supports the goals of Brookhaven’s recently-released Energy Efficiency and Sustainability Initiative, which seeks to increase energy independence, save taxpayer dollars, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
A: On July 30, 2015, Shoreham Solar Commons submitted an Expanded Environmental Assessment report in order to provide the Town of Brookhaven with comprehensive data and analysis as they review the project under the State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) Act guidelines. As part of the company’s commitment to an open and transparent process, Invenergy provided an exceptional level of detail in the EEA and posted the full report here. Pending approval, current plans are to begin construction early in the second quarter of 2016 and complete construction before of the end of the year.
A: There are a number of environmental benefits, both local and global.
- Solar is a passive form of local, clean, and quiet renewable energy.
- Harmful greenhouse gas emissions will be cut by more than 29,000 tons per year or 1.17 million tons over the facility’s 40-year life as electricity from this facility displaces generation from local fossil fuel-fired plants
- Unlike a golf course, solar requires no irrigation, which will allow the local aquifer to recharge faster.
- No trees will be cut down during the construction or operation of the facility.
- It will also be a pesticide-free, herbicide-free, and fertilizer-free.
A: Absolutely. Homeowners that wish to reap the benefits of cleaner, less expensive solar energy are encouraged to do so and development of this facility will not impact their ability to do so.
A: Based on a previously proposed development plan for the site, the land could be permitted for up to 120 housing units with very limited open space. Below are some of the likely impacts from that alternate use:
- Significantly more visual impacts associated with taller structures,
- Increased traffic as a result of more intensive land use,
- More noise from increased traffic and population,
- Greater water use and sewage associated with additional households,
- Increased drainage and run-off from the construction of more streets, driveways, and sidewalks,
- More fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides used with new homes and gardens
- Significant impacts to the Shoreham-Wading River School District associated with the need to address an increase in the school age population.
A: Yes, but they’re called something different: PILOTs or Payments in Lieu of Taxes. The Town of Brookhaven adopted a resolution in May of 2014 that solar installations are required to apply for a PILOT application. While the exact formula has yet to be determined by town officials, it’s estimated that Shoreham Solar Commons will generate about ten times more tax revenue for schools, first responders, public safety, road improvements, and other town and county services.
A: No. Shoreham Solar Commons will be built by a private company, Invenergy, who will finance the entire project. The project will actually benefit taxpayers by generating more revenue through PILOTs and it will benefit Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) and its ratepayers by providing a source of clean, price-stable electricity.
A: Because this facility will utilize clean, free and abundant solar energy, the cost of electricity generated at Shoreham Solar Commons won’t be impacted by volatile fossil-fuel prices (unlike many plants on Long Island). As part of its agreement, Shoreham Solar Commons will be entering into a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) that will lock-in a price for electricity for the for the full term of the agreement no matter how high oil, coal, or gas prices may rise. As a result, Shoreham Solar Commons will provide an important source of energy cost stability for LIPA/PSEG customers. Essentially the project will serve as a hedge against possible future energy inflation since the cost for this solar power will be locked in for 20 years.
A: Shoreham Solar Commons will employ an estimated 175 local construction jobs for more than six months. Once in operation, Shoreham Solar Commons will routinely employ local labor to monitor and maintain the facility.
A: A comprehensive traffic control plan will be implemented that includes scheduled deliveries during off-peak hours as well as off-street (on-site) parking for construction workers in an effort to minimize any traffic disruptions. Once construction is complete, periodic site inspection and maintenance will not impact traffic.
A: No. An active solar farm generates virtually no noise at all, especially as compared to what 120 home mixed-use community would generate, which is a permitted alternative for the site. Construction, which will last for six to nine months, may generate some additional noise, but will only occur during normal business hours so as not to disrupt the community.
A: Not much. Invenergy has conducted an extensive site review to determine potential visual impacts. A significant portion of the site is already buffered with embankments and trees. Additional evergreen landscaping will be added to minimize visual impacts all around.
A: Solar power is a very passive, clean, natural form of energy. A highly secure fence will ring the perimeter of the facility to prohibit trespassing and to protect the panels. There will also be 24/7/365 monitoring of the site.
- Around the clock sit security will be provided during construction and operation of Shoreham Solar Commons.
- Security measures will include: An 8-ft high fence (to prevent intrusion by both people and wildlife); alarm sensors; video surveillance, which can operate both during the day and at night without additional lighting; and a remotely operated main gate.
- Security for SSC will meet all federal, state, and local requirements (and then I might add the seals of all the various agencies, boards involved)