Town to vote on 15-acre solar project at landfill

NEWS REVIEW FILE PHOTO | The Riverhead Town Board is expected to vote on a proposal to install solar panels at the town’s landfill.

The Town Board will vote on a proposal to lease a portion of the Riverhead landfill for solar panel project, a plan that’s estimated to earn the town up to about $190,000 per year.

During its regular work session Thursday, the board discussed a proposal from California-based company Borrego Solar to build a renewable energy project at the landfill. The Town Board is scheduled to vote on the plan at its meeting on Dec. 31.

Borrego Solar would lease the land from the town and solely finance the nearly $8 million solar panel project, covering about 15 acres on the eastern section of town’s landfill, Councilman George Gabrielsen said. The panels are able to produce about 2 megawatts of electricity, he said.

The company will also be responsible for solar panel maintenance and general upkeep, he said.

“From ‘A’ to ‘Z,’ they do everything in house,” Mr. Gabrielsen said.

The company would pay the town a percentage of the revenue they would earn from producing electricity and selling it to the Long Island Power Authority, according to the resolution. Mr. Gabrielsen said that depending on energy prices, the town could receive between $118,760 and $189,967 each year.

Mr. Gabrielsen said the project would increase revenue, helping the board to balance the town’s budget without cutting services.

The company has previously constructed solar panels on landfills in Massachusetts, according to a draft of the project.

The town has added an opt-out clause in the contract, stating the town can pull out of the agreement if the project produces less than $100,000 for the town a year.

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