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New solar power plant now in operation in Calverton

Calverton is now home to one of the largest solar panel projects in New York State, representatives from PSEG Long Island said.

Solar power owner sPower and PSEG L.I. unveiled a 20-megawatt solar power plant in Calverton Tuesday that can provide power to over 2,800 homes each year. The plant began commercial operation earlier this month.

“You have to stop and think about how we improve on our business and make it sustainable, and I think this project is a great testament of that,” sPower CEO Ryan Creamer said.

The solar energy project, located on roughly 117 acres of land, stretches from 4153 Middle Country Road in Calverton south to the former Calverton Links golf course property and then across to the east side of Edwards Avenue, where it will tie in with an existing 45-acre sPower solar plant.

sPower, the largest private owner of operating solar assets in the United States, is owned through a partnership between AES Corporation and Alberta Investment Management Corporation.

Jim Parmalee, PSEG L.I.’s director of power resources and contract management, said the organization is a proud supporter of the state’s Green New Deal, which mandates 100% clean power by 2040, according to the state website.

sPower CEO Ryan Creamer speaks at Tuesday’s event. (Credit: Kate Nalepinski)

Mr. Parmalee said the project was selected among 38 total proposal requests on renewable energy that the organization received in 2013.

“The integration of this significant solar project on Long Island not only provides clean energy to our customers, but also helps Long Island to reduce its dependency on fossil fuels,” he said.

Marie Zere, president and CEO of Zere Real Estate Services Inc., Riverhead Town Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith and Councilwomen Catherine Kent and Jodi Giglio also attended the unveiling on the property.

“Riverhead is proud to welcome another solar project to our town,” Ms. Jens-Smith said. “We all have a responsibility for each other to continue to push for sustainability and sustainable energy.”

She added that Riverhead is part of the global initiative to reduce carbon emissions.

“Between this project and the projects coming through in the next coming years, Riverhead will be the solar capital of not just Long Island but all of New York state,” Ms. Jens-Smith said. “I’m very proud of that.”

In May, the Riverhead Town Board authorized an agreement to receive $1 million from sPower, which was tied to the Calverton project and other projects.

Ryan Galeria, vice president of solar development at sPower, said the group will continue to operate the Riverhead facility as they prepare to construct another solar farm in Calverton. The new farm requires approval from the state’s Board on Electric Generation Siting.

The Edwards Avenue farm generates 6.3 megawatts of electricity under a power purchase agreement with LIPA/PSEG.

According to a press release, the Riverhead facility will remove 23,970 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually. Approximately 220 workers logged nearly 71,000 hours of paid labor for the eight-month construction project.

Photo caption: Town officials join representatives from sPower and PSEG Long Island Tuesday. (Credit: Kate Nalepinski)

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