Island Harvest flips switch on rooftop solar energy system

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By Dan Sears

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In Melville, Island Harvest Food Bank has flipped the switch on its new rooftop solar energy system.

The system was installed by Ronkonkoma-based SUNation Energy, which donated 963 solar panels for this initiative. The system  is expected to produce 389,588 kilowatt hours annually, allowing Island Harvest to save $63,000 per year. Island Harvest says those financial savings would support the distribution of the equivalent of 120,000 meals for Long Islanders who are facing food insecurity.

“Not only are we doing our part to reduce the organization’s carbon footprint and help meet New York State’s aggressive greenhouse-gas-reduction goals, we’re gaining the additional benefit of channeling the savings of the solar installation directly to programs and services that help food-insecure Long Islanders,” Randi Shubin Dresner, president and CEO, of Island Harvest Food Bank, said in a written statement.

By 2030, the New York Climate Act will require a 40% reduction in greenhouse-gas emission; by 2050  that reduction is required to reach 50%. Working towards those goals, Island Harvest said its rooftop solar energy system is expected to contribute an estimated CO₂ reduction of 265,000 to 300,000 pounds per year.

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The total cost of the project was $526,211, but with support from LIPA, PSEG Long Island, and SUNation, the final contract price was $432,672 with an estimated return on investment of slightly less than five years, when factoring in all applicable tax benefits, according to Island Harvest.

“I am so thrilled to be able to add value to our friends at Island Harvest and the people they serve,” Scott Maskin, founder and CEO of SUNation, said in a written statement.

“Giving back to our Long Island neighbors, especially those in need is woven into the DNA of SUNation,” Maskin added. “Bringing this project to fruition was truly a team effort and I salute Randi and the forward-thinking board of Island Harvest for remaining steadfast and trusting SUNation. This is a proud day for the entire SUNation team.”

Thomas Falcone, chief executive officer at LIPA, said in a written statement that the organization is “proud to partner with Island Harvest and provide funding for this new rooftop solar project. Together, we are working to make clean energy accessible, reduce our carbon footprint, and help provide programs and services so critical to those in need here on Long Island.”

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“PSEG Long Island has been a proud partner with Island Harvest for 10 years. The work they do is vital to the health and welfare of our region,” Dave Lyons, interim president and COO, PSEG Long Island, said in a written statement “We are thrilled to have supported their PV Solar project. Island Harvest now joins the thousands of Long Islanders who have made our region the leader of solar power use in New York State.”

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