This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

May 07, 2008

Long Island Utility Calls for 50 Megawatts of Solar Power

The Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) released a request for proposals (RFP) on Earth Day that calls for 50 megawatts (MW) of solar power to be installed on Long Island. The solar energy could be produced by one or more developers of solar photovoltaic systems and will be fed into the electrical grid and purchased by LIPA. The project developers will own or lease the solar energy systems and sell the power to LIPA under a long-term contract, so the LIPA offer can serve as a way to receive financing for large solar power systems located on Long Island.

The solar power systems must be located on non-residential property, and each system must be at least 100 kilowatts in capacity. The solar energy project will meet nearly 1% of LIPA's power demand and will be the single largest block of solar energy in New York State. To support the RFP, a proposer's conference will be held on May 12. Proposals are due on June 27, and LIPA expects to provide recommendations for an award to its Board of Trustees during the board's October meeting. See the LIPA press release and RFP.

The LIPA project is one example of the rapid growth of solar power in the United States. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), 254 MW of photovoltaic and concentrating solar energy were installed in the United States in 2007. That includes 150 MW of grid-tied photovoltaic systems (systems based on solar cells), bringing the total U.S. grid-tied photovoltaic capacity to 750 MW. See the SEIA press release and full report.