Atlantic Cape Signs Agreement for Solar Photovoltaic Project, Ranked as One of Largest in the State of New Jersey
January 27, 2010
Atlantic Cape Community College will enter into a Power Purchase Agreement with Pepco Energy Services, Inc., for a solar photovoltaic power project at the college's Mays Landing and Cape May County campuses, following action by the college's Board of Trustees Tuesday. Pepco Energy will design, own and operate one of the largest land-based solar systems in New Jersey. If completed today, the installation would rank as the largest single community college solar installation in the nation.
Atlantic Cape chose Pepco Energy to develop a 2.3 megawatt solar electric generating system for its campuses. The solar photovoltaic system 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 $220,000 the first year, and up to $6.8 million over the 20-year life of the contract. The electricity generated per year will be equivalent to the amount needed to power approximately 220 homes.
"The solar energy initiative at Atlantic Cape Community College 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, Atlantic Cape president. "The project will also allow the college to model best practices in institutional leadership and management in the area of renewable energy. Finally, a portion of the savings realized from this project will serve to fund other institutional strategies that will promote effective and efficient environmental practices at the college far into the future. The solar project will truly establish a green legacy for Atlantic Cape."
As a result of tax benefits and future revenue resulting from the sale of Solar Renewable Energy Certificates, the solar project will provide electricity to Atlantic Cape at a rate substantially lower as compared with the current rate paid to Atlantic City Electric. In addition, Atlantic Cape was awarded a $245,000 solar rebate from New Jersey Board of Public Utilities under the CORE Rebate Program in 2007, which will cover the consulting costs and other fees Atlantic Cape incurred in planning the project.
The photovoltaic system includes the installation of carports in six 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. Installation is scheduled to begin in April and will be completed in September. The contract also includes a free energy audit of campus facilities and an academic component where Atlantic Cape students may study the solar photovoltaic system energy production features and their positive impact on the environment.
"This project will take advantage of the world's fastest growing energy technology to reduce the college's energy costs and enhance the county's overall efforts to reduce carbon emissions with the use of cleaner, renewable energy," said Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson. "It further demonstrates our commitment to reduce our carbon footprint and strengthens our position as the 'Greenest County in New Jersey.'"
"Pepco Energy Services is pleased to be implementing a solar project for Atlantic Cape Community College that will provide both environmental and economic benefits," said David Weiss, Pepco Energy Services' president and chief operating officer of the Energy Services Division. Pepco Energy has a decade of solar power experience, including the design, construction, operation and maintenance of the largest single-roof photovoltaic solar power installation in the U.S. at the Atlantic City Convention Center in 2008.
Atlantic Cape hired Gabel Associates to write the request for proposals and screen vendors to negotiate the contract.
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 NJ 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. In addition, 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.
Atlantic Cape will eliminate up to 4,640,570 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions annually with the solar project, reducing its carbon footprint, according to Pepco Energy Services' projections.