- Number 352 |
- December 12, 2011
Long Island Solar Farm turns on
Aerial view of the 200-acre
Long Island Solar Farm at
Brookhaven National Laboratory.
All systems are “go” at the Long Island Solar Farm (LISF), the largest solar power plant in the eastern United States. Built on 200 acres in the southeast corner of Brookhaven Lab’s property, the LISF is owned by BP Solar and Met Life. Its 164,312 photovoltaic panels can produce 32-megawatts (MW) of electricity, feeding it to the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) grid to power up to 4,500 homes and businesses.
Brookhaven scientists will have access to data from the array as a condition of the easement agreement granted by DOE for use of the land. They are installing sensors and imagers to collect large amounts of data from LISF systems. The data will be used by researchers at the Lab and across the country to address the key issues facing deployment of large-scale solar power plants.
One focus is learning about the role of distributed generation — power generated by multiple sources distributed across a region — and how it will affect the efficiency and reliability of electricity delivery. Another topic of study will be how the intermittent nature of solar energy will affect operation of the electric grid. For example, researchers are developing the ability to predict, up to 30 minutes in advance, the output of the large array based on observation, tracking, and evaluation of cloud conditions. This type of near-term forecasting (or “nowcasting”) will help utilities anticipate changes -- such as dips in solar-generated power at times of cloud cover -- and make adjustments before they occur. With innovations and upgrades developed as a result of these quantitative observations, the research will help to make the grid and the electricity it provides as efficient, secure, and resilient as possible.
Construction of a second, five-acre array — the Northeast Solar Energy Research Center (NSERC) — will begin at Brookhaven in early 2012, and is expected to be complete next summer. Unlike LISF, which is privately owned, this research array will be a DOE-owned user facility and a “utility-scale” proving ground for testing new solar system technologies, including electrical inverters, storage devices, and solar modules.
Many groups at and beyond Brookhaven worked together to develop both LISF and NSERC. Collaborators from off site include American Superconductor, Blue Oak Energy, BP Solar, Electric Power Research Institute, General Electric, LIPA, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, Stony Brook University, and University of California at San Diego. BNL gratefully acknowledges the DOE Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Solar Energy Technology Program for providing funding for this research.
For more information, see the press release.For more photos of the LISF, see our flickr stream.
[Karen McNulty Walsh, 631.344.8350,