After being selected from 13 bidders, SunEdison is set to install solar panels at Gabreski airport in Westhampton as well as at the Riverhead County Center.
The initiative is through the PSEG-LI 100 Megawatt Solar program. SunEdison will build a multi-megawatt system at Gabreski plus a smaller rooftop system in Riverhead, under a proposal that depends on successfully negotiating a 20-year lease. The plan will also require approval from state and federal agencies as well as the Suffolk Legislature.
“We have been bombarded with inquiries from solar developers who see our Francis S. Gabreski airport as a prime location for a significant solar installation,” County Executive Steve Bellone says. “There are still a number of steps needed to be taken, but Suffolk County is enthusiastic about working with SunEdison to make this project happen.”
According to Deputy County Executive and Commissioner of Economic Development and Planning Joanne Minieri, the portion of the airport that was designated for solar is not able to be used for any other aviation or non-aviation purpose, and is already in the Airport Master Plan as an area approved to be cleared of vegetation.
“This is an opportunity for Suffolk County to support our growing solar industry, create new green jobs, and bring income to the county,” Minieri says. “From an economic development perspective, it will be a win for the people of Suffolk County.”