A capped landfill on Long Beach Road, across from Kohl’s in Oceanside, could offer space for a solar farm powering 1,500 homes under a Town of Hempstead initiative.
At the Town Board’s last meeting of the year on Dec. 11, the board awarded a $10,000 contract to Clearview Consultants, of Coram, to undertake a cost-benefit analysis of the plan for the site. The consulting firm will determine the market value of the land, which the town would lease to a solar energy company.
The facility would produce 10 megawatts of clean energy and remove 8,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, according to Town Supervisor Laura Gillen. It would also cut greenhouse emissions while bringing in additional revenue for the town.
“We want to use this parcel, which currently does nothing, to protect the environment and generate revenue that could go toward improving roads and capital infrastructure and benefiting the community as a whole,” Gillen said. “Right now we are trying to make sure we’re getting the best deal that we can for our taxpayers.”
By early next year, the town will review the cost-benefit analysis for the project and start drawing up potential agreements with solar energy companies. At that point, officials will weigh pros and cons with the local businesses and community members. “Nothing would happen without the community’s input,” Gillen said.
If the plan goes forward, the town would lease the land to a solar energy company that would build and run the solar farm, paying the town a yearly lease and relinquishing ownership of the farm to the town at the end of the lease.
“In the Town of Hempstead, we’ve been doing really amazing things in our conservation department to find environmentally friendly ways to generate new energy resources, Gillen said, “and this is one way we can do this as a township to set an example for Long Island and the rest of the state and country.”
Earlier this year, the town issued a request for proposals for the project.
Town Councilman Anthony D’Esposito said he wanted to ensure that the proposal was good for the Oceanside community and financially sound for the town. “I will propose a consultant to be hired to determine the economic viability of the solar farm,” he said. “If, in fact, it is determined that this proposal is in the best interests of all impacted, I will demand that the money garnered from the land lease is used to repair Oceanside roadways.”
D’Esposito added that because Ocean-side residents will have the solar farm in their backyards, “They should be the ones to benefit.”