Press Release

Gillibrand Announces Key Senate Panel Approves $500,000 For LIPA Program to Help Long Island Homes and Businesses Install Panels

Jul 13, 2009

Riverhead, New York – Standing at the Riverhead Free Library on Long Island, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced that that a key Senate panel approved $500,000 to provide rebates for homes and businesses that install solar panels to generate energy. The federal investment will go towards Long Island Power Authority’s (LIPA) Solar Pioneer and Solar Entrepreneur programs, to provide incentives and rebates to homeowners, businesses, and schools to install photovoltaic (PV) systems. Clearing the Senate Appropriations Committee hurdle is a significant step towards securing these much needed federal dollars. Senator Gillibrand also pledged to work with the community to obtain additional funding from the economic recovery plan.


“Developing new, clean, homegrown sources of energy is a vital part of our economic recovery,” Senator Gillibrand said. “These dollars will make solar panel installation more accessible and affordable for Long Island – helping to cut emissions, improve our environment, and lower our energy bills. There are 107 libraries on Long Island, like the one we’re standing at today. If every one of them installed the same system, we would see the environmental impact equivalent of removing 214 cars from the road and avoiding the consumption of 83,567 gallons of gas per year.”


“I commend Senator Gillibrand for demonstrating her commitment to clean renewable energy on Long Island,” said LIPA President and CEO Kevin S. Law. “These federal dollars will bolster LIPA’s successful Solar Pioneer and Solar Entrepreneur programs by helping us continue to offer rebates to our residential, commercial and municipal customers, in turn, helping them to generate more environmentally responsible energy and helping them to lower their bills.”


From January to June 1, LIPA has received nearly 400 applications, which is more than a 1/3 of an increase over last year’s pace. This $500,000 federal investment will assist LIPA continue this rebate this program to get more Long Island homes and businesses running on clean, affordable, homegrown energy.  If they are able to secure more federal dollars through stimulus funds, the program could be bolstered even more.


As part of her continued efforts to ensure that New Yorkers are getting back what they send down to Washington, Senator Gillibrand today released her “Green Grants Guidebook.” This resource will serve as a clearinghouse of information for citizens, businesses and community leaders to access funding opportunities to make energy efficiency improvements as well as incentives and funding opportunities for installation of alternative energy systems. These improvements will help consumers and businesses reduce energy costs while contributing to the reduction of greenhouse gasses.


More than half the cost of solar installations may be offset for homes and businesses with LIPA rebates and federal tax benefits. Applications for this program continue to come in at record numbers. LIPA has more than 1,700 Solar Pioneer Customers throughout the service territory. These customers are generating over 9 megawatts of non-polluting solar electricity on Long Island, which is the equivalent of reducing CO2 emissions by 6,260 tons a year.


To date, LIPA has provided rebates totaling more than $40 million to customers who have installed a PV system on their home or business. By continuing this program and providing assistance to more customers, Long Islanders could see lower monthly bills, reduced energy consumption, and benefits to the environment.


One of LIPA’s 1,700 Solar Pioneer customers is the Riverhead Free Library, which recently installed a 10.08kW solar system on the roof of their building. The installation cost $80,000 and they received a rebate from LIPA in the amount of $45,000. The environmental benefits of the system are equivalent to removing 2 cars from the road or avoiding the consumption of 781 gallons of gas per year. The library’s cost savings is app $2,500/year, and its energy savings is 12,902kwh/year.


“I would like to thank Senator Gillibrand for her successful efforts to assure that going green with solar will continue to make good sense for our finances as well as our environment,” stated Riverhead Supervisor, Phil Cardinale.


Primary grant opportunities for energy efficiency and green projects include:


·         The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants through the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority

·         The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Biomass Program, which works with industry, academia and our national laboratory partners on research projects in biofuels, bioproducts and biopower.

·         The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvements Program, which makes grants to agricultural producers and rural small businesses to help reduce energy costs and consumption, and help meet the nation’s critical energy needs.

·         The U.S. Department of Energy’s Conservation Research and Development grant program, which provides funding to conduct a balanced, long-term research effort in Buildings Technologies, Industrial Technologies, Freedom Car and Transportation Technologies and Hydrogen, Fuel Cells and Infrastructure technologies.

·         The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Industrial Competitiveness Through Energy, Environment and Economics grant program, which provides funding to state and local governments to work on projects in waste reduction and pollution prevention, and other energy conserving initiatives.


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