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Solar proposed for Southold Town’s animal shelter — again

Southold Town is once again pitching a plan to install solar panels at its animal shelter, a move officials say will reduce energy costs and provide shade for the shelter.

Earlier this month, the State Energy Research and Development Authority designated the town as a Clean Energy Community, making it eligible for a $100,000 grant toward a clean energy project. Only four communities on Long Island are eligible to receive the grant, said Southold government liaison Denis Noncarrow.

A plan to install solar at the shelter had been in the works for about three years, but held up by a pending fence design, said Southold Town public works director Jeff Standish. At the time, the town was set to receive a rebate from the Long Island Power Authority.

The panels would generate electricity for not only for the shelter, which accounts for more than 10 percent of the town’s total electric costs, but the police station as well, Mr. Standish said.

With the grant money, and $160,000 already designated for installing ground-mounted solar panels at the shelter, the town would be left to foot the remaining costs — somewhere between $185,000 and $265,000. The project would, however, save the town about $24,500 annually in electrical costs, according to town engineer Michael Collins.

A larger project, involving both ground-mounted panels and roof panels, would save an estimated $31,500 each year, Mr. Collins said.

“It makes sense because it ultimately gets paid back,” Councilwoman Louisa Evans said. Councilwoman Jill Doherty said she thinks the financial future of a solar project is promising.

Supervisor Scott Russell said moving forward he will need to start working on budget estimates, looking at different funding options and costs per year.

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