New York Utility Spends Millions to Boost Solar PV

The Long Island Power Authority will use a lottery to select 30 people who will receive a free rooftop PV system.

UNIONDALE, New York, US, 2001-12-18 [] As part of its commitment to renewable energy sources in both residential and non-residential applications, the second stage of LIPA’s Solar Pioneer Program will install solar systems which generate 600 watts each, enough power to supply 20 percent of an average home’s electricity. LIPA will increase the amount of rebates. All new Solar Pioneer applications will be rebated at US$6 per watt, to a maximum 10 kW system size (maximum rebate of $60,000) for systems that are installed and operating by July 31, 2002. Systems installed after August 1 will be rebated at $4 per watt. LIPA’s current rebate offers $3 per watt, with a 5 kW system maximum. “Sunshine is plentiful, natural and clean,” says LIPA chairman Richard Kessel. “We want to promote its use here on Long Island to residents and businesses.” The utility hopes the Solar Pioneers program will encourage people to make better use of solar energy. LIPA customers can enter the solar lottery by calling a 800 line or by registering online. Deadline for applications is January 4, and lottery winners will be selected in January. LIPA held its first lottery in November 1999, when 30 applicants were selected at random to become the first Solar Pioneers. At that time, LIPA announced its long-term commitment to solar energy by joining the U.S. Department of Energy’s ‘Million Solar Roofs’ program, which wants one million solar roofs in the U.S. by 2010. LIPA’s goal is to have 10,000 residential PV systems installed on Long Island during the next decade. It has funded the use of solar energy systems at the New York Institute of Technology’s Old Brookville campus, the Theodore Roosevelt Nature Center at Jones Beach and is providing a $4 million one-time rebate to the Fala DM Group in Farmingdale for the installation of a 1.5 MW system at its facilities. The Fala PV system will be the largest commercial application of solar power in the world. In the second phase of its Solar Pioneers program, LIPA will partner with the Community Development Corp of Long Island to install 20 PV systems on low-income homes across Long Island. CDC will select the recipients and LIPA will install the systems. “Many of our clients spend a significant amount of their incomes on energy,” says CDC’s chief executive Maryanne Garvin. “This program will help them spend that income on other things such as food, clothing and medical care.” The Solar Pioneer program is funded through LIPA’s Clean Energy Initiative, a five-year $170 million program proposed by Governor George Pataki, designed to foster the development and application of solar, wind, geothermal and fuel cells.

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