Solar project gets state boost with $3M grant

Funding to help expand sewage plant for new housing


Funding for Patchogue Village’s Long Island Rail Road parking lot solar carport has been officially secured in the amount of a $3 million grant, after a personal phone call from Gov. Kathy Hochul to mayor of Patchogue Village Paul Ponteri making the promise.

The funding for the project is intended to help make way for additional sewage treatment plant expansions to support Gov. Hochul’s plans for creating new housing.

"Mayor Pontieri's dedication to smart growth development in Patchogue serves as a model for municipalities across the state. We are proud to support his vision with $3 million in state funding toward the solar carports project, a crucial step in expanding housing while preserving the character of the community,” Hochul said in a statement. “This investment not only advances green energy initiatives but also paves the way for additional housing opportunities, aligning with our goal of creating vibrant, thriving communities statewide.”

“By offsetting sewage plant costs, this project indirectly facilitates essential infrastructure improvements, further supporting housing expansion,” she added. “I'm grateful for mayor Pontieri's partnership and look forward to seeing the positive impact of this multifaceted project unfold."

The governor, according to Hochul’s Long Island press secretary Gordon Tepper, is allocating the $3 million from existing state capital funding sources. The village will receive it as a reimbursement after they move forward with the project.

The total cost of the project is estimated at about $5.2 million with the expectation of adding additional money, according to Pontieri, for additional park upgrades, such as the ballfields on Rider Avenue.

The remaining balance will be bonded at no cost to the taxpayer, utilizing sewage treatment plant income. The board approved to go out for a bond in the amount of $4 million during the last board meeting.

“The state has been very supportive of the village over the years, with this $3 million and the Shorefront Park funding, which has allowed us to give back to the community at no cost to the community,” Pontieri said, eager to get the project started. “This supports the sewage plant, the environment, and takes care of the residents. It’s a huge benefit for the village. We are very thankful.”

As reported in the Long Island Advance earlier this year, the Village of Patchogue Board of Trustees voted to enter into Phase 2 of their energy-saving projects with Johnson Controls, in February. The second phase includes the railroad parking lot solar array carport, which is village-owned. 

“It’s a great idea,” said village BID executive director Dennis Smith earlier this year, noting that the village was eager to offset the cost of the sewage treatment plant. “It’s something that after the success we had with Phase 1, that always bothered us to still have this enormous bill.”

After the project is completed, he said, it will offset about 56 percent of the yearly cost to power the village’s sewage treatment plant, which costs several hundred thousand dollars a year.

Despite the lot being owned by the village, Smith said, it does require some approvals by the Long Island Rail Road. The project is still in design stage, but, he said, the village hopes to break ground in the fall with a late-spring/early-summer 2025 completion. Construction will be done in stages so as to not disrupt the station functionality.

The project, he said, will include about five to six solar panel arrays, much larger than the Patchogue Theatre lot carport, and will be located in the center of the lot spanning from the eastern tip by South Ocean Avenue to the west near West Street. 

“It’s going to be in the middle of the lot, not near the tracks or the street; it will also be designed to limit snowfall, include proper drainage and provide lighting to the parking lot, making it safer at night,” he said. 

The project is also expected to include over 13 EV charging stations.

“This second phase sustainability project further solidifies the commitment of village leadership to carbon reduction and public health,” said Chris Fitzsimmons, LEED GA, BPI of Johnson Controls.“The nearly 1-MW solar carport project at the Long Island Rail Road Station is a big piece of the revitalization of that area of the village.”


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here