This month, U.S.-based energy giant Invenergy expects to break ground on New York’s second largest solar farm project at the former Tallgrass golf course in Shoreham. A leader in wind and solar development, energy storage and natural gas operations, Invenergy will add the Shoreham Solar Commons to its portfolio.
The Long Island Power Authority approved the solar array in 2016 and, in early 2017, the New York State Comptroller and Attorney General green-lit the project. Last month, Invenergy finalized its acquisition of the Tallgrass property. Invenergy awaits the Town of Brookhaven’s issuance of the building permit for the project.
The 150-acre array will generate 24.9 megawatts (50,000 megawatt hours per year) – enough to power approximately 4,500 homes – under a 20-year power-purchase agreement with LIPA. Notably, the 24.9 megawatts comes in just under the 25 megawatt threshold that would have triggered a more extensive review process under New York’s Power Act of 2011 that was signed into law by Governor Cuomo on August 4, 2011 (codified in Article 10 of the New York Public Service Law).
Unlike many other solar farms proposed on Long Island and elsewhere, Shoreham Solar Commons will not require clearcutting trees. Tallgrass was fittingly a “links style” golf course, a more traditional style course hosting open spaces, high grass and bunkers rather than trees and brush. In addition, Invenergy has pledged to plant 2,000 evergreen trees to buffer the array.
Invenergy will employ upwards of 100 people during construction over the next year, but there are no plans for full-time jobs after the array is built. The Commons will pay approximately $670,000 per year to its local taxing districts – almost ten times more than the taxes paid by Tallgrass. The tax figure will increase prospectively.