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

March 27, 2002

Long Island Faces Power Shortage, Promotes Solar Energy

New York Governor George Pataki and the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) kicked off a new and improved program to encourage solar energy use in late February. The second phase of LIPA's Solar Pioneer Program now offers rebates of $6 per watt for solar power systems up to 10 kilowatts in capacity, thus doubling both the rebate and the size limitation for the program. The rebates are available to both commercial and residential customers of LIPA and are good for systems installed and operating by July 31, 2002. After that, new systems can still earn a rebate of $4 per watt. To launch the program, 30 lucky families were selected to receive the free installation of a 300-watt solar power system on their homes.

LIPA also awarded a $300,000 rebate check to Scotto Brothers Enterprises for their use of a geothermal heat pump system for heating and cooling a new 145-room hotel in Woodbury. The system uses variable-frequency motors for maximum efficiency, and is controlled by a building energy management system. These combined technologies will save 425,000 kilowatt-hours each year while cutting the hotel's peak energy demand by 86 kilowatts. They will also avoid about 350 tons per year of greenhouse gas emissions. See the LIPA press release.

Such energy-saving technologies may be critical for Long Island this summer, as LIPA expects power supplies to remain tight. LIPA Chairman Richard M. Kessel warned in mid-March that LIPA customers will "need to conserve as much as possible to get Long Island through extreme heat waves." See the LIPA press release.