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Cloudy,35°
Friday, December 19, 2014
Government
Hempstead lets the sunshine in
Town undertakes series of solar projects
Courtesy Town of Hempstead
The solar installation at Newbridge Road Park pool in Bellmore.

Two familiar Bellmore-Merrick facilities are now home to the Town of Hempstead’s newest solar-energy systems.

Thanks to a grant secured by state Sen. Charles Fuschillo Jr., of Merrick, Newbridge Road Park and the Merrick Senior Center now have solar installations that Town Supervisor Kate Murray said would save the town tens of thousands of dollars annually and reduce its carbon footprint.

The town used $208,000 in grant money secured by Fuschillo to fund three solar installations in Bellmore, Merrick and Seaford. Officials said that another $24,000 in state funds would be used for solar parking field lighting projects in the near future at the same locations.

The new projects include a “solar tracker” system at Seamans Neck Park in Seaford, a photovoltaic system at the Merrick Senior Center and a solar panel system that has been set up as an energy-producing, decorative canopy at Newbridge Road Park. The installations were unveiled at an Aug. 26 ceremony at Seamans Neck Park.

Officials added that photovoltaic panels were also recently installed by Island Park’s EmPower Solar at the town’s Highway Department yard in Roosevelt, thanks to a $250,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. The new projects bring the total of town solar energy projects to 15, which generate more than 200 kilowatts of power.

“We’re adding so many new solar projects to the town’s renewable energy inventory, it’s getting difficult to calculate the extent of our positive impact on the environment,” Murray said at the ceremony, with a faux calculator in hand. “Seriously, projects like those which we are unveiling today are reducing our carbon footprint on the planet and conserving natural resources. What’s more, they’re saving taxpayers money by reducing energy costs.”

Murray thanked Fuschillo for securing the grant to make what she described as planet-friendly initiatives possible. Fuschillo said he was pleased to have secured state funding for the projects and to help the town continue its investment in clean energy.

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