Biggest benefit from local solar: Letter to the Editor

Biggest benefit from local solar: Letter to the Editor 06/29/2015 Over the past 14 years, the Long Island Power Authority has encouraged solar energy through rebates to residential and commercial ratepayers and through a request-for-proposals process, paying developers to build large-scale utility-size arrays [“Judge puts solar farm on hold,” News, June 10]. Ratepayers who choose to take advantage of solar for their homes and businesses work here, pay taxes here, and spend the money they save in the local economy. In most cases, they use local installers who also live, work and pay taxes here. When an out-of-state solar developer contracts with LIPA, many of these local economic benefits evaporate. Sometimes a large-scale solar installation uses pristine land that otherwise could be better used. Although installing solar arrays on less-valuable land such as landfills makes sense, many developers shy away from that because it’s more expensive. More important, we ship our hard-earned money out of state. In many cases, these developers bring out-of-state workers to install the arrays. But worse than that, LIPA pays a long-term fee, which typically is twice as expensive as traditional power, for solar power produced. All of those funds go to the out-of-state developer. Wave goodbye to our money, as it rarely gets recirculated locally. Let’s use the money more wisely, invest in local businesses and encourage local development on the millions of square feet of unused rooftops. Mike Bailis, Oakdale Editor’s note: The writer owns Sunation Solar Systems, which installs solar power systems.

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