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Atlantic Cape Solar Project Moves Forward; Local Businesses Contribute to Jobs

June 26, 2013

A 2.2 megawatt solar photovoltaic project at Atlantic Cape Community College is under way at its campuses in Mays Landing and Cape May Court House. Site preparations began in May and installation will begin in July and be completed this fall. The college hosted an event at the Mays Landing Campus Wednesday, June 26, to mark the start of the long-awaited project.

Marina Energy LLC, a subsidiary of South Jersey Industries, will design and construct the project, which will generate up to 48 percent of Atlantic Cape’s total annual electric consumption, at a set rate, independent of market rates. By entering into the agreement, Atlantic Cape will realize savings of $93,000 the first year and up to $1.6 million over the 15-year life of the contract. The electricity generated per year will be equivalent to the amount needed to power approximately 220 homes.

The photovoltaic system includes the installation of carports in four parking lots on the Mays Landing and Cape May County campuses. About 80 percent of the carport arrays will be at the Mays Landing campus.

“The solar energy initiative at Atlantic Cape is an excellent example of using innovative strategies to promote energy sustainability as a key step in fulfilling our institutional commitment to environmental stewardship in two counties,” said Dr. Peter L. Mora, president.

In addition, Michael Renna, president of Marina Energy, credits Atlantic Cape’s forward-thinking strategies for putting the college in a strong position to lead others in southern New Jersey to a more sustainable future. “As more and more institutions like Atlantic Cape turn to cleaner, renewable sources of energy, New Jersey thrives through financial savings, improved efficiency and increased green sector jobs.”

Marina Energy plans to use local New Jersey labor and material suppliers, including Palmieri Electric of Buena and Southern New Jersey Steel Company of Vineland, to create jobs in and around the local community.

“We are very pleased to be working with Marina Energy and Atlantic Cape in this venture. In these tough economic times it is nice to be a part of a project of this scale,” said Raymond Palmieri, president of Palmieri Electric.  

“Southern New Jersey Steel is extremely excited to be part of the Marina Energy team contributing to the implementation of this environmentally noteworthy project on the campuses of Atlantic Cape Community College,” said Hugh McCaffrey, president of Southern New Jersey Steel Company. “The steel canopy structures supporting the solar panels will be made of recycled metals enhancing the overall positive environmental impact of the project. Furthermore, the project will provide a powerful economic boost by creating and maintaining jobs at our company and for other local construction tradesmen that serve our currently distressed industry.”

The solar project ties in to Atlantic Cape’s Green Campus Initiative, which includes an Energy Master Plan to address and implement concepts supporting the New Jersey Energy Master Plan in reducing greenhouse emissions statewide, and moves the college toward environmental stewardship based on the efficient, responsible and sustainable use of resources. The college added a geothermal system in 2000 to heat and cool the B-building complex and will follow Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) criteria, as set forth by the U.S. Green Building Council, on its new Science, Technology, Engineering and Math building.

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