Published on July 13th, 2011 | by Susan Kraemer15
New Jersey Now Setting US Solar Rooftop Records
New Jersey continues its incredible solar development – now rivaling California’s, as a result of its membership in RGGI and participation in regional cap and trade and renewable energy policy that makes new clean energy investment more competitive with fossil energy through the sale of SRECs.
Two New Jersey installations break US records for size of rooftop installs this year. Completed in April, one is the largest solar installation now in operation in the US, and a second installation, even larger, to be completed by the end of the year, will then become the largest in the US.
By the end of 2011 a 9 MW solar roof using panels from SunPower will be completed on the gigantic roof of the Holt Logistics refrigerated warehouse, enough panels to supply 80% of its huge electricity needs, while also earning a hefty hunk of change annually for making that much power, by relieving their utility of the responsibility of supplying it.
Even though the giant installation will cost $42 million, the earnings from sale of SRECs will cover it within a few years. The installation in this case is a partnership between SunPower Corporation and Holt.
By selling SRECs, companies and homeowners can both have their cake and eat it, that is, they can cut their electricity bills by however much solar power they can fit on their roof, while also earning money for that power produced for the general grid (which includes what a utility would have had to make for that particular building) even though they get to benefit themselves from the power they produce directly.
Another gigantic rooftop solar installation has already been completed in the state. Avidan Management just completed a massive 4.26 MW power plant on a 656,255 square foot industrial warehouse complex in Edison NJ, cutting electricity costs 70% for some heavy industrial energy users under it, including an 85,000 square foot refrigerated space for cheese maker Arthur Schuman.
An idea of the size of these things can be had by walking through a solar installation. I walked through a 1 MW solar plant installed by PG&E in Northern California last year, and as I remember, it felt like about a city block, but that included about ten feet of space between each row of panels so the grass could be mowed underneath. On a commercial rooftop, of course, there is no need to add that extra space for lawn mowing, but still, these have to be very large roofs.
That both of these giant rooftop installs are cutting the cost of supplying electricity for big commercial refrigeration users is interesting, as we know that for homeowners, the fridge is typically the biggest energy user in the house.
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