By Bill Cleary
(CNBNEWS.NET) Construction work has begun at the Gloucester Marine Terminal on the largest rooftop solar power plant (photo above) in North American. Leo Holt, (photo) president of Gloucester Terminals, located at King and Essex Streets in Gloucester City, announced the plans on Tuesday, June 21 at a press conference held on the rooftop of Building 42, a refrigerated warehouse.
The massive, 1.1 million-square-foot project, known as Riverside Renewable Energy, LLC, is a privately-funded $42 million venture that calls for the installation of 27,528 high-efficiency SunPower photovoltaic solar panels that will generate nine megawatts of electricity– or roughly enough to power 1,500 homes – at the Terminal, which is owned by the Holt family.
The project is a joint venture between Holt; solar technology leader SunPower Corp a global solar technology company; Rabobank, a leading global bank and financier of renewable energy projects, which will lead the financing for the venture; and PSE&G, which will play a critical role in the interconnection of the project.
When completed, the Riverside project will generate the equivalent of nearly 80 percent of the Terminal's power demand. According to estimates provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the system is expected to offset more than 9,500 tons of carbon dioxide, approximately the same amount that would be offset by planting 400,000 trees or removing 1,700 cars from the road.
"This $42 million, privately funded project is a testament to the strength of New Jersey's solar market," said Lee A. Solomon, President of the N.J. Board of Public Utilities. "It is also consistent with the policy set forth in the recently released 2011 draft Energy Master Plan, which calls for photovoltaic solar arrays on commercial and industrial properties to lower their utility bills, improving competitiveness and reducing demands upon the electric grid."
The Riverside project will rely in part on the availability of federal Investment Tax Credits that supply tax incentives to spur the development of green energy sources systems nationwide; and the continued support of Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) created through the New Jersey Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS), which also enhances the economic viability of the project. Riverside will sell the SRECs and environmental benefits associated with the system.
"At nine megawatts, this is a milestone solar installation made possible with SunPower's high-efficiency panels and T5 Solar Roof Tile System," said Tom Leyden, managing director at SunPower. "By hosting this system, Holt Logistics will maximize its savings on electricity costs at the Terminal over the next 25 years or more."
The Riverside project will be nearly twice as large as any previous rooftop solar installation in New Jersey, which has emerged as a national leader in the development of renewable energy resources. Construction is underway and should be completed by the fall.
Local officials present at the press conference included: from left, Gloucester City Councilman Dan Spencer, Gloucester City Administrator Jack Lipsett, Councilman Nick Marchese, Mayor William James, Councilman John Hutchinson, and Bob Bevan, (not shown) aide to the mayor.
photo by CNBNEWS.NET