Riverhead Town is set to take a major step toward sustainability.
Councilman George Gabrielsen said a special town board meeting is scheduled for Thursday to vote on awarding a bid for a renewable energy project at the Riverhead Town landfill on Youngs Avenue.
The landfill, which has long been a financial drain on the town, could soon be generating profits, after a solar farm is sited on the parcel.
"We've taken a negative to the town and turned it into a positive," Gabrielsen said Wednesday.
Gabrielsen, who said he has been working on the project for over a year, said after a request for proposals was issued, seven companies responded. The town, Gabrielsen, selected Borrego Solar Systems, located in Lowell, Massachusetts; the firm has worked previously on municipal landfills.
The company, Gabrielsen said, will lease the parcel directly from the town; the preliminary figure is approximately $146,000 per year, or $3 million over a 20-year lease.
Also, Gabrielsen said, as solar techologies change in the future, profit sharing will ensure the town will continue to reap additional benefits as the solar systems are upgraded "to produce more electricity in the same footprint."
Another plus to the plan, Gabrielsen said, is that the solar farm will be utilized to educate schoolchildren, with viewing sites incorporated into the design.
Before plans can proceed, Gabrielsen said the Long Island Power Authority, which is aware of the proposal, just needs to "rubber stamp" the project, since the solar farm will feed into their grid.
"I feel good about it," Gabrielsen said of the project. "I'm really happy."