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Climate Tip: Solar

January 22, 2021
News

This month, we celebrate National Cut Your Energy Cost Day with a look at our own energy costs. The Peconic Land Trust has been working to cut its energy costs through the use of solar panels — which is both economically and environmentally friendly. The net cost of solar is significantly lower than the current cost of utility power on Long Island, $0.09/ kWH to $0.21/ kWh respectively.

During the renovation of the Southampton office building in 2017, 32 solar panels were installed on the roof by GreenLogic. Since then, the panels have produced over 45,000 kWh of energy at a savings of more than $10,000!

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The graph shows the total energy produced by the solar panels atop the Southampton office, since their installation in 2017.

Power on Long Island comes from a combination of sources including coal and natural gas. So far with the use of solar panels at the Southampton office rather than the traditional PSEG energy sources, the Trust has kept over 34,000 pounds of coal from being burned. In 2020, that was 10.9 tons of CO2 emissions avoided.

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The graph shows the energy produced by the solar panels atop the Southampton office in 2020.

With the pandemic and most of the Trust’s staff working from home, you may wonder what is happening to the energy captured by the panels right now. When the Trust is not using the power, it is captured by the grid and stored for free by PSEG through net metering. Then when the Trust does require more electricity, say on a rainy day, that power is returned at zero cost, due to a one to one credit New York and PSEG have set up.

The manufacturers estimate the lifespan of the panels to be 40 years. Most likely the Trust will be replacing the roof before they have to start thinking about replacing the solar panel module. Even better, the maintenance of the panels is taken care of by nature. Due to the Trust’s pitch roof, naturally occurring weather patterns such as rain and snow wash off any dust that collects on the panels.

The Southampton office isn’t the only Trust property benefitting from solar energy. There are also 24 solar panels atop the North Fork Stewardship Center in Cutchogue. For over ten years these panels have provided more than enough energy needed to power the center. The Trust’s solar panels on both forks will continue to provide economic and environmental benefits in the decades to come.

*Stats provided by GreenLogic.

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