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Clean Power Riverside Renewable Energy Solar Array- Largest Rooftop Solar Array in North America

Published on April 7th, 2012 | by Zachary Shahan

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Largest Rooftop Solar Power Plant in North America Formally Completed

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April 7th, 2012 by Zachary Shahan
 

Riverside Renewable Energy Solar Array- Largest Rooftop Solar Array in North America

New Jersey loves setting rooftop solar power records. It did in 2009 when it opened the largest solar rooftop in North America (2.4 MW of capacity), again in 2011 when Toys”R”Us got a 5.38-MW solar roof, and again later in 2011 when a 9-MW solar roof was installed on a large Holt Logistics refrigerated warehouse, the Gloucester Marine Terminal. This solar rooftop just achieved its formal completion this week.

The solar rooftop project is called Riverside Renewable Energy, LLC. It cost $42 million, includes 27,526 photovoltaic rooftop solar panels, and covers 1.1 million square feet.

U.S. Rep. Robert Andrews (D-NJ) this week “presented Gloucester Marine Terminal officials with an award letter announcing an $11 million federal tax credit rebate” for the project, a news release stated.

“The Riverside project is an outstanding example of how we can create jobs that move us towards cleaner, more efficient and cost-saving energy that doesn’t come from overseas,” said Congressman Andrews.  “By partnering with the federal government, private industry is able to make strides that are good for job creation and the economy right now, and also for a cleaner, healthier and more energy efficient future here in South Jersey and the country.”

The project, construction of which started in June 2011, was completed on budget and ahead of schedule — not something you’re likely to read about some of solar power’s conventional competitors. And this despite the fact that it is located in a high-wind location on the Delaware River, is located on a federal EPA Superfund site, and required oversight from the Terminal by the Department of Homeland Security.

Riverside will generate the equivalent of up to 80 percent of the Terminal’s power demand. The system is expected to offset more than 8,100 tons of carbon dioxide, approximately the same amount that would be offset by planting 400,000 trees or removing 1,200 cars from the road.

Aside from Holt Logistics, SunPower, Rabobank, and PSE&G were involved in this record-breaking solar power project.

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Image: Riverside Renewable Energy Solar Array courtesy Holt Logistics

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About the Author

spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as the director/chief editor. Otherwise, he's probably enthusiastically fulfilling his duties as the director/editor of Solar Love, EV Obsession, Planetsave, or Bikocity. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and wind energy expert. If you would like him to speak at a related conference or event, connect with him via social media. You can connect with Zach on any popular social networking site you like. Links to all of his main social media profiles are on ZacharyShahan.com.



  • Billteud

    Yeah 9 MW “peak capacity”, but how much energy has it actually produced? Why is it always so hard to find the real numbers?

    • Bob_Wallace

      You could get a pretty good idea by looking up the solar hours for the location and calculating the expected capacity.

      Off the top of my head I’d expect 4.5 average hours over the year. 18.8%. 1.69 MW averaged over 24/365.

      • Billteud

        If we knew the Terminal’s power demand we could calculate it from the 80% figure?

        • Bob_Wallace

          I suppose so. But solar hours is an easier to grab statistic.

    • http://cleantechnica.com/ Zachary Shahan

      We’re talking about the size of the project. This is all the info needed.

      • Billteud

        It’s fine for comparing one rooftop solar plant to another, as you’re doing here, but not if you’re trying to compare, for instance, rooftop solar with concentrated solar thermal plants. I can’t find the actual annual generation for this rooftop anywhere.

        • http://cleantechnica.com/ Zachary Shahan

          Certainly.

        • Bob_Wallace

          We’re needing an update in the way we measure US electricity generation. Rooftop solar isn’t measured and it’s soon going to be a 1%+ player.

          We measure wood, other biomass and geothermal which are all less than 1%.

          • http://cleantechnica.com/ Zachary Shahan

            i know, ridiculous.

          • http://cleantechnica.com/ Zachary Shahan

            however, seems it’s also hard to measure nationally.

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  • solarMD

    Hi Zachary,
    Thanks for your postings of PV installations. I’m as you about solar power, only I focus on the practice side. My startup Wattminder has just
    revamped our website and our unique Analytics on solar site performance at pvwizard(dot)com, as free service to any one with interest on actual performance of solar arrays anywhere in the world. Hope you’ll check it out and tell your readers about it. Thanks -Steve

  • Maclegends

    Xpensive panels at $1525.83 each!! either someone tells pork pies or someone is a fool with money!

    First quality Chinese panels sell for $1.50 per watt — big order like that might cost$0.65 per watt!

    • RobS

      No one is selling at $0.65 per watt, bulk buys are running around $1 per watt. Panel costs are around one third of total project balance of system costs, so total system costs pre incentives should be about $3 per watt. This was a 9 Mw project and the press release states total costs pre rebate was $42 million, or $4.60 per watt, this reinforces the ongoing trend for utility scale systems to be ~20% more expensive then residential solar. Hopefully this just reflects that they locked in a contract for the panels 1-2 years ago before the large falls in costs over that timeframe.

      • Captivation

        Quick search, and this was the first item to come up. The company at the top will sell 2 panels at $0.83 per watt. I suspect there might be a discount for larger orders. So perhaps $0.65 per watt is reasonable.

        Personally, I think we will cross over the $0.50 per watt barrier sooner than people imagine. A lot of things are about to change very quickly

        http://www.ecobusinesslinks.com/solar_panels.htm

        • RobS

          I’m pretty solar enthusiastic but that survey pretty clearly shows the majority of prices clustered between 1.20 and 1.50, hence with discounts current bulk module purchases are about $1, the sub $1 are clearly outliers. Recent price trends are about 30-40% annually so 0.50 per watt should be reached by the end of 2013.

          • http://www.facebook.com/morton2 Cal Morton

            Getting Tier 1 Chinese panels at $1 a watt or slightly less is common place for projects even under 10kW

  • Michael P Totten

    The very first efficiency improvement they should have done is ultra-efficient electric drive motor system components – including pumps, compressors, fans — and all the chiller and refrigeration devices. The facility has 450,000 cubic meters of refrigerated warehouses.

  • lukealization

    Rooftop solar PV is an absolutely fantastic idea and it works wonders – because in nearly all situations you can gather more Watts/meter on the roof than you consume Watts/meter in the house.

    Grid PV? Still good and necessary, I just wish it could fit into smaller spaces and consume less land.

  • jburt56

    With improved efficiency figure about 10 W per square foot. You’ll be doing better at lower latitudes obviously, e.g. Long Beach.

  • transitioner

    Great news, but are they matching all this mega-production with energy saving ideas and reducing the demand for power rather than just producing and consuming more ?

    • lukealization

      I’d think so… I mean, once you do install/build solar, and you do a few measurements using a multimeter/wattmeter – you do start to watch your power consumption alot more closely.

      You start replacing CFL’s with LED’s, turning lights off when your not in the room, turning down the air conditioning and opening more windows instead, etc.

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