Meeting New York’s ambitious Clean Energy Standard, which mandates that 50% of electricity come from renewable sources by 2030, will require stakeholders to come together to remove barriers to renewable energy development.
On Long Island, there has been conflict around siting solar installations where there are competing interests for a property or community opposition. By proactively considering what options for solar electricity generation (i.e. ground-mounted solar or rooftop solar) and siting (i.e. parking lots or vacant land) are available and assessing the associated costs and benefits of developing those locations, we can increase the likelihood of viable projects moving forward. We can develop a roadmap to ensure success.
We need to choose the most efficient and cost-effective solar electricity generation options and locate projects near energy infrastructure while avoiding the most important natural lands and making the most of existing transmission capacity.
Installing solar energy generation is a group effort, requiring the support and work of Long Island Power Authority, PSEG-LI, local governments, the solar industry, landowners, communities and sometimes more.
Limited information is available to guide strategic siting of solar energy generation while conserving important farmland, natural areas, and other places that are inappropriate for development. As a result, siting challenges represent a significant barrier to development of new solar energy generation and the transition to renewable energy. Costs and grid constraints also present barriers to installing solar electricity generation on some low- impact sites, such as parking lots and large rooftops, pointing to the need for coordinated policy solutions.
Shared understanding of the solar energy potential, economic feasibility, and grid connection compatibility of different solar electricity generation options among stakeholders would reduce siting conflicts and enable development of collaborative solutions to reduce barriers to installation on low-impact sites.
The Long Island Solar Roadmap Project aims to advance the pace of solar installations on Long Island by reducing siting conflicts and lowering the barriers to installations in low-impact sites like parking lots, large rooftops, and previously disturbed sites. To do so, we are partnering with a consortium of stakeholders representing groups who can affect and are affect by the outcomes of solar energy development decisions on Long Island to:
Identify low-impact, low-conflict sites for mid- to large-scale solar installations (250 kW DC and larger) on rooftops, parking lots, and previously-disturbed lands and provide information on where permitting challenges and grid modifications may be needed to utilize additional solar resources.
Characterize the direct and indirect economic costs and benefits as well as other economic barriers or considerations to solar installations in different settings, such as commercial, non-profit, and municipal properties as well as space leased or purchased by independent power producers.
Perform social science research to better understand residents’ perceptions of and preferences for solar energy installations in their communities and the factors that motivate their support or opposition.
Drawing from results of the spatial, economic, and social science research, the consortium will collaboratively develop a cohesive set of recommended strategies and actions that will put Long Island on a path to strategic, economic, and expedient build-out of solar energy resources. These recommendations will focus on addressing the political, economic, social, and technical barriers to developing solar on Long Island that have been identified through the project and driving solar energy development to low-impact where solar is more likely to be supported by the local government, the community, and the utility.