Clean Power

Published on July 13th, 2011 | by Susan Kraemer


New Jersey Now Setting US Solar Rooftop Records

July 13th, 2011 by  

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.

Image: SunPower, Solar Power Installation New Jersey

Susan Kraemer @Twitter


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About the Author

writes at CleanTechnica, CSP-Today and Renewable Energy World.  She has also been published at Wind Energy Update, Solar Plaza, Earthtechling PV-Insider , and GreenProphet, Ecoseed, NRDC OnEarth, MatterNetwork, Celsius, EnergyNow, and Scientific American. As a former serial entrepreneur in product design, Susan brings an innovator's perspective on inventing a carbon-constrained civilization: If necessity is the mother of invention, solving climate change is the mother of all necessities! As a lover of history and sci-fi, she enjoys chronicling the strange future we are creating in these interesting times.    Follow Susan on Twitter @dotcommodity.

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  • Electric38

    Now that the advantages of solar are beginning to sink in. The next step will be in the design of factories that utilize mainly robotics for their mass production superiority. These machines have no benefits package and are usable 24/7 without incurring overtime costs.
    Robots designed to build (mass produce) other robots is the next step. Our military has definitely stepped to the forefront with the design advancements, but our architects and engineers need to step up to the plate with much better forward thinking manufacturing designs.
    Other countries are jumping on this combination of technologies quickly. China is becoming aware that having millions of cheap laborers available, may not provide the advantages formerly seen. They cannot keep up with solar assisted robotics.
    One key advantage.. electric cars should be much lower in cost as the “new” production techniques are adapted. Unless the auto companies choose to price gouge the consumer.

    • Billteud

      Just ignore the massive unemployment as people are replaced by robots. Ain’t capitalism grand?

      • Bob_Wallace

        Hand spinners were replaced with water powered looms.

        Change happens. We need to find ways to deal with it. Perhaps we could all work fewer hours or fewer years and do something interesting with our lives other than work.

        • Billteud

          Financed by what?

          • Bob_Wallace

            The price of manufactured goods decrease with automation.

            We need to figure out how to distribute goods on something other than working 40 hours a week for 40 years.

          • if we have robots doing what we need to live, we can pay each other for other services we enjoy.

          • Billteud

            But in a capitalist system, robots take the jobs of the poor and allow even more concentration of wealth in the hands of the rich. What’s the best alternative? How to implement it?

          • that seems to be the trend. not necessarily how it needs to be. but yeah, i’ve got no good answer for you. studied such matters in college as a sociology major, but not much since then. and haven’t heard of any simple solutions. let us know if you have!

          • Billteud

            I don’t. Socialism, I guess, but that doesn’t seem to work well in practice.

          • well, the countries that have leaned much more towards that are doing much better than the US, and anyone else.

          • Robots save money, enabling us to stimulate the economy more by buying more things with less money. The robotics industry helps to compensate for manufacturing job losses because the process of building robots is labour-intensive.

          • Bob_Wallace

            It won’t stay so. We’ll invent robots which build robots.

            (It’s already happened in the lab.)

            We have a problem facing us. We will have to rethink how we distribute goods among ourselves. Over time labor will be less and less valuable.

            Do we settle for a tiny percent of one percent owning everything? Return to an age at which we attempt to get what we need with force? Or do we come up with a new and more functional idea?

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