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Farmingdale State’s solar carport debuts

Two plug-in Toyota Priuses belonging to professors and a student’s Nissan Leaf were already sipping electricity from Farmingdale State College’s solar carport when the grandees arrived for a ribbon-cutting Monday morning.

The carport, built for $725,000 in grant money in a parking lot near Lupton Hall, can charge 20 plug-in vehicles at a time. It draws power from 390 overhead solar panels that produce about 100 kilowatts of electricity, enough to power 10 good-sized houses. Any excess feeds into the campus grid, with the potential to save thousands of dollars a month on the electric bill.

School officials say it is the only such facility on Long Island and for the next year, charging will be free for anyone with a campus parking decal; after that there will be a fee based on what the college pays for its own power. At current rates, said Kamal Shahrabi, dean of the School of Engineering Technology, that would come out to about $1.50 for a full four-hour charge. “These kinds of things have utility, and in the future they’re going to be much more common,” Hubert Keen, Farmingdale’s president, said.
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