Solar, Fuel Cell Demonstration Project for Long Island

The Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) dedicated the first combined use of solar power and fuel cell systems on Long Island. The unique combination of alternative energy technology systems are located at the Local 25 International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) headquarters in Hauppauge. The 15 kW solar power system and 5 kW fuel cell unit will provide electric power and domestic hot water to the facility.

“It’s becoming increasingly apparent that Long Island must decrease its dependency on fossil fuels and expand the use of renewable non-polluting sources of energy,” said LIPA Chairman Richard M Kessel. “The use of solar energy, fuel cells, wind power and other renewable technologies will help bring Long Island a little closer to achieving that goal.” Kessel was also honored with the Pathfinder Award presented by the U.S. Fuel Cell Council (USFCC) for his efforts in promoting and encouraging the use of clean and renewable technologies such as fuel cells. The 5 kW fuel cell system is part of LIPA’s on-going Clean Energy Initiative (CEI) research and development program and will operate as part of LIPA’s electric grid. The fuel cell, manufactured by Plug Power of Latham, NY, converts the energy of natural gas and an oxidant (air or oxygen) into useable electricity. Fuel cells generate electricity through an electrochemical process rather than combustion. No particulate matter, nitrogen or sulfur oxides (NOx or SOx) are produced. The fuel cell will generate electricity while also providing supplemental domestic hot water to the IBEW facility. In the event of an electrical outage, the fuel cell is capable of operating independent of the electric grid delivering 110 volts at 50amps, to supply electricity to critical loads and emergency lighting throughout the facility. “Whether it’s solar panels or fuel cells, wind turbines or energy efficiency programs, these technologies help us bring pollution-free energy to Long Island while keeping more of our energy dollars in the local economy,” said Gordian Raacke, executive director of Renewable Energy Long Island (RELI). The 15 kW roof-top solar power system consists of 81 photovoltaic panels in a three array configuration that converts sunlight into electricity. The electricity created by the solar panels will help protect Long Island’s environment by avoiding the emissions resulting from the burning of fossil fuels through traditional generating methods. Over the expected life of the solar panels, the electricity generated will displace 563,000 pounds of carbon dioxide, 749 pounds of nitrous oxide and 2,458 pounds of sulfur dioxide, according to LIPA. The solar system was installed by electrician volunteers at the IBEW Local 25. The benefits of this installation include onsite electrical generation for the union hall and provides “a hands on” training center for electricians and apprentices to learn about photovoltaic (PV) and fuel cell technologies. Electricians and apprentices are increasing their skills, knowledge, and awareness of renewable technologies through the installation and demonstration of these technologies. Local 25 will be incorporating solar and fuel cell system training into their current career training and apprentice programs. “We at Local 25 are committed to staying ahead of the constantly changing field of electrical; technology by training our embers to install and service all facets of electrical power systems that science will produce,” Donald J. Fiore, Business Manager IBEW Local 25.

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