Patchogue plans energy upgrades at theater, village hall

The next step in Patchogue’s transformation is set to take place with the installation of solar panels and LED street lights — part of a $5.8 million effort to upgrade village infrastructure and cut greenhouse gases, officials said.

The project — including installation of three electric car charging stations and upgrades to heating and ventilation systems at village hall and village-owned Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts — is expected to save the village $8.2 million over 25 years by reducing energy usage and cutting annual payments to PSEG Long Island, Mayor Paul Pontieri said.

The energy system, to be designed and installed by Ireland-based international energy company Johnson Controls, is modeled on a similar system approved last year by Lindenhurst Village officials, Pontieri said. Construction of the Patchogue system is expected to begin soon and should be completed by summer 2022, he said.

“I saw what they are doing over in Lindenhurst,” he said. “The village incorporated in 1893. Half of [the village’s infrastructure] are probably from 1893.”

The new system comes as Patchogue has spruced up its downtown by transforming itself from a 19th-century mill town to a modern village with apartments and trendy businesses.

When it’s finished, Patchogue will have solar panels on the roofs of Village Hall and the theater and solar “carports” at each location, as well as at the village public works building and the beach club on Maiden Lane, Pontieri said.

Streetlight bulbs will be replaced with LED systems, and Village Hall’s ancient oil heating system will be switched to gas, he said.

He said the village’s $327,000 annual lease payment for the system would be partially offset by $187,850 in annual energy savings, $34,000 worth of operations and maintenance savings and $27,000 in PSEG rebates.

Chris Fitzsimmons, an energy solutions account executive in Johnson Controls’ Syosset office, said the Patchogue system should generate about $32,000 annually in revenue from the sale of excess power to PSEG. He said in addition to the Patchogue and Lindenhurst systems, the company has designed smaller systems for Lynbrook and East Rockaway.

“We‘re starting to see a new interest in villages and local government right now to help with costs,” Fitzsimmons said. “It’s budget-neutral. There’s no upfront costs.”

Upgrades to the Patchogue theater’s ventilation system should help the performing arts center — a key to the village’s revitalization over the past decade — reopen after it was closed for a year because of coronavirus restrictions, Pontieri said.

Switching to green energy also will help achieve a goal of village officials to make Patchogue more environmentally friendly, he added.

“That’s part of the goal here, too, to be one of those communities that looks at their carbon footprint and how we make it better for future genrations,” Pontieri said.