Although the sun was not out on Thursday, October 3, representatives from the Town of East Hampton and others gathered in a field at 533 Accabonac Road to view the recently operational, and first, megawatt solar power plant on the South Fork.
The Accabonac Solar plant was developed by AES Distributed Energy on a decommissioned, town-owned brush dump. It has 3456 individual 320-watt solar panels, which cover two acres, and produce 1.1 megawatts of clean, renewable energy that flows into East Hampton’s electrical grid. The amount is enough to power 136 homes annually, offsetting the CO2 equivalency of burning over 1.2 million pounds of coal, read a statement from the town.
“The production of clean, renewable energy at the Accabonac Solar farm is a positive step toward reducing the use of fossil fuels to meet East Hampton’s energy needs,” said East Hampton Town Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc. “The former brush dump, an already cleared and disturbed open space, was a unique opportunity site to produce a significant amount of solar energy. Individual East Hampton residents and business owners, however, can produce energy sufficient for their individual needs by installing rooftop solar panels.”
The construction of the solar arrays was completed, along with the connections to the grid, before Thursday’s event.
According to the town supervisor, the amount of electricity being produced by the solar farm is enough to meet the annual electric needs of half of the Town’s buildings.
In 2014, the Town of East Hampton became the first municipality on the east coast to adopt a goal of meeting 100 percent of community-wide electricity needs with renewable energy sources by 2020, and to meet the equivalent of 100 percent of annual community-wide energy consumption in all sectors (electricity, heating, and transportation) with renewable energy sources by 2030.
For those interested in installing solar on their own homes and businesses, since 2018 East Hampton has been participating in an initiative of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, with a goal of expanding solar installations across the state. The town selected GreenLogic, a local solar firm, as its designated Solarize installer. While property owners who want to harness solar energy may of course choose any installer, participating in the Solarize East Hampton program allows one to take advantage of favorable group rate pricing offered by GreenLogic.
Details about participating in the program can be found at www.EnergizeEH.org, a town website that highlights East Hampton Town’s renewable energy goals and the efforts being made to reach them.