On Monday July 24th, the Town of Southampton received the initial deliveries of solar panels for the North Sea Community Solar Project at 1370 Majors Path, the site of the former North Sea Landfill. Stored in a secure area at the landfill, full delivery of the panels and mounting platforms will continue through the week.
In October, 2021, the Town Board awarded the contract to Kearsarge Energy Limited Partnership for design, construction, operations, maintenance, and all the associated costs of the solar array. The project, because of the unique requirements of installing a solar array on a capped landfill, undergoes rigorous planning with PSEG, the EPA, and the New York State DEC. The Town has received an approval letter from EPA. The interconnect process with PSEG is in the final stages. Meanwhile, the Town continues to provide documentation to the NYS DEC as part of their ongoing review and approval process. Project construction is expected to commence in the Fall.
Kearsarge has agreed to a 20 year lease agreement with the Town for the use of the landfill property, As part of the agreement, Kearsarge committed to a $60,000 annual lease payments with a 2% annual payment escalator. The agreement allows for two (2) mutually agreed upon five (5) year extensions.
“Seeing these solar panels being delivered to the North Sea site is very gratifying. The Town engineer, Tom Houghton, and the staff in the Municipal Works department deserve a great deal of credit for facilitating this project and helping to make the vision of locally sourced renewable energy a reality,” commented Councilman John Bouvier who is the Town Board liaison to the department and has spearheaded this project. He added, “This project is a small step, but an important step, toward the Town’s renewable energy goals. It is my hope that this project can set the stage for other solar projects on Town properties and facilities in the future.”
Community solar projects allow for some of the solar array power generation to create “energy bill credits” for consumers that could results in up to a 10% energy bill credits monthly for participating ratepayers. Supervisor Schneiderman added, “This project will bring new revenue into the Town to help lower property taxes. The capped landfill is a large open area creating a great opportunity to gather sunlight and convert it into electricity. The fact that the project will also lower electric rates for many residents is an additional benefit.”
The North Sea Landfill Community Solar Project, the first municipally-led community solar project on Long Island, will provide approximately 4.5 megawatts (MWs) of renewable energy into the utility grid when fully operational.