May 15, 2018 Read More →

Community Solar Will Be a Boon For Long Island, Developer Says

Long Island Business News:

A few months ago, the Sisters of St. Joseph in Brentwood plugged into the sun with a little help from a new solar program. EmPower Solar, in Island Park, built a 1 megawatt solar power plant owned by NextEra Energy Sources on their 212-acre campus.

Through the Long Island Power Authority and PSEG Long Island’s community solar program, approved in 2016 but only leading to completed projects now, solar energy pumped into the electric grid generates energy credits used by other customers.

“We are injecting power into the grid at one location,” David Schieren, CEO of EmPower Solar, said. “We credit accounts virtually with virtual credits we create at that power plant. With community solar, we can pay you rent for hosting a system. And we sell the energy off site.”

Community solar is the latest path to grow solar on Long Island, letting people, essentially, buy power from each other. It provides more financial fuel for photovoltaic power.

“Community solar is a huge deal. It’s a major, new advantageous program for Long Island. It’s a game changer,” Schieren said. “It’s very flexible.”

Community solar essentially allows people to set up solar projects as private power plants, which caught on in some other states, although it’s new to New York. While in the past people typically generated their solar, community solar lets someone generate power, which it pours into the grid. In return, the generator gets a credit for that amount which can be used by customers elsewhere.

More: New Financing Options Light Up Solar Projects

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