North American Clean Energy

April 11th, 2024

My Dream of Building a Solar Farm and the Systemic Barriers that Nearly Killed It

Throughout my life and career as a real estate developer in New York City, I’ve had many successes. In what is clearly one of my most unusual development projects in a long career filled with them, I initiated the building of a solar farm to help the environment.

The Middle Island Solar Farm (MISF), located on Long Island, NY’s eastern tip, has been fully operational since 2018. It produces 19.6 MW of electricity. That’s roughly equivalent to powering 4,000 Long Island homes per year. The clean solar energy it produces is also equivalent to removing 6,000-8,000 cars with noxious emissions from the roadways. That’s good news, and it pleases me that my vision and goal of using private investment for the public good has been actualized. The not-so-good news is that there are systemic barriers to private investment in clean energy projects like MISF. I’m sure I found every single barrier along the way. Are you familiar with the sad-but-true old saw that it is the pioneers who always catch the arrows? Well, I seem to have caught more than my share: It took five years to even receive a permit to build the solar farm and jump through all the regulatory, zoning, and local opposition hoops. Flaming hoops. It only took just eight months to actually build it. Those are completely unbalanced factors.

PV Magazine USA

March 19th, 2024

Systemic barriers that stand in the way of clean energy investment

The Middle Island Solar Farm stands today as a beacon of innovation and sustainability after public perception, outdated zoning laws and bureaucratic red tape presented significant hurdles to its development.

As a serial entrepreneur and advocate for environmental stewardship, I’ve navigated the complexities of various industries, but few have been as challenging – or as rewarding – as the journey to establish a solar farm on Long Island; New York.

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