Solar farms go live
Blydenburgh Solar Project in Hauppauge.

Courtesy photo

Solar farms go live

Story By: ANTHONY PERROTTA
1/10/2019


ISLIP TOWN—Two recently constructed solar farms in Islip Town began full-scale commercial operation last month. The projects, totaling 5.3 megawatts, were developed and constructed by Agilitas Energy, a Massachusetts-based solar developer. The solar farms are just two of the developer’s several ongoing projects on Long Island. 

Agilitas placed the solar farms on two closed landfills in Holbrook and Hauppauge, which they are leasing for nearly $120,000 a year, according to officials. The 39-acre Holbrook landfill has been closed since the 1980s and serves as the town’s recycling facility. The Blydenburgh landfill in Hauppauge was closed and capped in the 1990s as part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s superfund program, which is designed to fund the cleanup of sites contaminated with hazardous wastes.

“The Town of Islip is pleased to announce that our partnership with Agilitas Energy has transformed two closed town landfills into green energy solar facilities, generating clean power, an annual income for our taxpayers, and reducing our carbon footprint,” Islip Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter wrote in a statement. “It’s a win-win for our Islip residents.”

The solar farms are expected to generate over seven million killowatts of electricity annually, enough to power over 5,000 homes, according to officials. The electricity generated will be sold to PSEG Long Island, providing clean energy for residents under a 20-year power purchase agreement as part of the feed-in-tariff program, officials added. 

Ken Rubin, a managing partner at Agilitas Energy, elaborated on the supervisor’s previous statement, calling the two solar farms a “triple win.” Islip Town benefits, Rubin said, because they generate guaranteed income for 20 years from “underutilized parcels of land.” The energy consumer benefits, he added, because the cost of energy is being lowered. And, last but not least, Rubin said everyone benefits because “we are creating green energy that benefits the environment.” 

Agilitas currently has two projects under construction in Brookhaven Town. The first solar farm will be located at Brookhaven Town Hall in Farmingville, Rubin said, while the second project will be located at Brookhaven Calabro Airport in Shirley. The airport project is scheduled to have two separate solar farms, according to company spokesperson Zichen Xu. 

Two other solar farms, which are part of Agilitas’ 15-megawatt, seven-project Long Island portfolio, began producing solar power in 2017. The first site was at the Brookhaven Ecology Site in Holtsville, while the second is at the Manorville Compost Facility, also in Brookhaven Town. The facilities combined generate enough power to provide electricity to 478 homes, according to previous reports.

Agilitas officials said the solar farms in Holbrook and Hauppauge are the only sites currently planned in Islip Town. However, based on the benefits of these two projects, Agilitas officials said they would be interested in creating more solar farms, not just in Islip Town, but across Long Island as well. 

According to the developer, the town usually determines the sites based on their development plan and the available renewable energy incentive programs out there. In Islip’s case, the developer responded to a request for proposal from the Islip Resource Recovery Agency, met various criteria they have, and finally the winner of the bid would develop and construct the projects.