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Oct 2, 2014 12:38 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Air National Guard Receives $500,000 Federal Grant For Solar Panels

Oct 8, 2014 12:52 PM

Plans to install solar panels at the Air National Guard’s 106th Rescue Wing base at Gabreski Airport in Westhampton received a $500,000 boost last week.

U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, along with U.S. Representative Tim Bishop of Southampton, announced the securing of the matching grant last Thursday morning, October 2. A timetable for the actual work, however, remains unclear, as the project itself is actually expected to cost between $1.5 million and $3.5 million—and all the necessary funding has not yet been secured.

The project, once complete, is expected to generate 1.5 megawatts of electricity annually, enough to meet about half of the base’s energy needs, according to the lawmakers.

“The funds will be used to install a solar photovoltaic system,” said Captain Shaun Denton, the base’s energy manager, in a prepared statement. “This initiative will reduce the 106th Rescue Wing’s carbon footprint and energy costs. It will also contribute to the Air Force’s goal of using 25 percent renewable energy by 2015.

“Right now, there’s no renewable energy on the base,” he added when reached on Tuesday.

Once all the funding is secured, the plan calls for the installation of solar panels atop between two and six buildings at the base, according to Lieutenant Colonel David Carrick. He added that the exact number of panels will depend on the amount of funding that is available.

He also noted that the base utilizes about three megawatts of power annually, enough to supply nearly 500 homes. The project, if it goes forward, is expected to save the ANG hundreds of thousands of dollars in costs per year, according to Lt. Carrick.

Last month, the Suffolk County Legislature approved a proposal that will allow a Missouri-based solar energy company, SunEdison, to lease land at Gabreski Airport for 20 years, at a rate of $315,000 per annum, and install solar panels that would generate energy for PSEG Long Island.

Under the plan, two arrays of solar panels will be installed, one each in the northern and southern quadrant of the airport field, covering 26.2 acres. These panels would generate enough energy to power about 1,000 homes per year. PSEG and SunEdison have a power purchase agreement under which the utility company has agreed to pay for all the energy generated by the panels at a rate of 16.88 cents per kilowatt hour.

“This was really a no-brainer,” County Legislator Jay Schneiderman said. “We needed to move away from non-renewable fuel. The location is not far from a runway and you couldn’t develop on it anyway. It just made sense. The space wasn’t going to bring any income for the county and now it will.”

Mr. Schneiderman said that project should begin in 2015, as it still needs final approval from the Federal Aviation Administration.

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:thumbs up:
By johnj (1024), Westhampton on Oct 2, 14 12:53 PM
Tim Bishop comes through again! Vote for Bishop on November 4th.
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Oct 2, 14 1:47 PM
2 members liked this comment
More facts please. System will cover 48% of base's use. What is that use in KW and $$$? What is the payback period for the system? Is there an option to expand the system to 100% of bases use? Will the panels be bought from China or one of the US based companies the Feds have given grants to there by leveraging the use of taxpayer dollars? How large a system is this in KW not acreage? Has a contract already been signed for this work or is it going out to bid? Etc, etc, etc.....
By bird (829), Southampton on Oct 2, 14 2:30 PM
Great, because that half million wasn't needed elsewhere.
By Lets go mets (377), Southampton on Oct 2, 14 8:26 PM
Yes, the federal government gave the ANG 500k of borrowed money that it has no idea how it will pay off. And @bird hit on a point. The feds not only are borrowing money to subsidize consumers but manufacturers of solar equipment. Anyone interested in solar technology might take a look over on Arstechnica for the article on the new Sunflower system.
By Duckbornandraised (184), Eastport on Oct 2, 14 8:51 PM
"which will help improve economic vitality and reduce harmful environmental impacts.will reduce the 106th Rescue Wing’s carbon footprint and energy costs. goal to use renewable energy sources.will reduce the 106th Rescue Wing’s carbon footprint and energy costs.become more energy efficient and environmentally friendly ".
How could anyone NOT feel good about all of these statements. I mean, Its just too good to be true. Our politicians are just SO kind and helpful. Oh wait, who's ...more
By WEK (12), southampton on Oct 3, 14 7:54 AM
That's a good point, WEK, but you don't follow it up. Sure it's taxpayer money, but it's taxpayer money that got into the hands of the federal government, which means it could have wound up anywhere in this great land of ours. Thanks to our two Democratic Senators and Congressman Tim Bishop, it wound up with the 106th, at Gabreski, in Westhampton, and nowhere else.

The senators, Schumer and Gillibrand, aren't running for re-election this year, but Tim Bishop is. Vote for Bishop on November ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Oct 3, 14 9:57 AM
Mr Bridge, your reasoning is not well received. As we are a Gazillion dollars in debt and our dear congressman somehow manages to "find" a spare half Mil and decides to channel it "our way", does this mean it's an honorable or proper thing to do? Let's assume you have a mortgage on your home and then luckily or otherwise come across some "extra money", say through inheritance or wining a lottery, would you decide to buy that new car or take that dream vacation with the extra cash? Or would you pay ...more
By WEK (12), southampton on Oct 5, 14 9:40 AM
Mr. WEK, I repeat, if the money didn't go to us, it would go somewhere else, but Tim Bishop got it to go to us, and that's good, in the context of the way things are now.

I understand your concern with the debt and reducing it. (I assume you know we'll never eliminate it entirely, as some national debt is a fixture in the financial situation of any modern industrial state, and not a bad thing if it equates to a reasonably low percentage of GDP.)

The way things are now, however, ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Oct 5, 14 4:48 PM
With all due respect, it is Bishop himself that is responsible for his bum rap. House Ethics Committee charges are still pending final review. Listed as one of Congress's most corrupt by CREW ( along with almost a dozen Republicans mind you, so not blasting the Dems here) And in lockstep with all the wrong politicians/reasons we all dislike Washington. He really is part of the problem.
And byt the way, I do know who the other guy is. VoteFor GeorgeAltschulerLeeDemosRandyZeldinAnyOneButBishop!! ...more
By WEK (12), southampton on Oct 6, 14 8:31 AM
With similar due respect, you've ducked my comment completely, except for the name thing. Have you no response to everything I said about dealing with things the way they are now?

BTW, every agency that has investigated Tim Bishop on these trumped-up charges has cleared him. If you're correct about House Ethics Committee investigative results still awaiting final review, I say that's because the Committee is controlled by the super-partisan House Republicans, who only want to leave the ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Oct 6, 14 10:50 AM
Free publicity at election time for Tim Bishop using your tax dollars. Another pathetic move by a politician.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Oct 5, 14 10:17 AM
1 member liked this comment