New Jersey extends Solar 4 All program (will invest $80 million in brownfield, landfill projects)

The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) has approved an extension to PSE&G’s Solar 4 All program. The approval authorizes PSE&G to invest up to $80 million over the next three years to build an additional 33 MWdc of solar farms on landfills and brownfields in PSE&G’s electric service territory.

With this new approval, Solar 4 All is now a 158 MWdc program that utilizes rooftops, parking lots, utility poles and landfills/ brownfields for universal solar projects.

PSEGSolar 4 All details

This is the second extension to Solar 4 All. The BPU originally approved the program in 2009, allowing PSE&G to install 80 MWdc of solar capacity. The first BPU-approved extension was in 2013, allowing PSE&G to build an additional 42 MWdc of solar capacity on landfills, brownfields, and 3 MWdc in solar pilot programs for storm hardening and grid resiliency. Of the 158 MWdc currently approved there are 115 MWdc in service, with an additional 10 MWdc expected to be in service by the end of the year.

PSE&G has invested more than $500 million in the program that benefits PSE&G electric customers by supplying solar power directly to the electric grid in a way that is about 40 percent less expensive than typical residential net-metered solar projects.

By the end of 2016, the Solar 4 All program will have about 53 MWdc of solar capacity built on nine landfill and brownfield sites. These projects fill more than 190 acres of landfill and brownfield space with 175,000 solar panels that can power about 8,500 homes annually. With the latest 33 MWdc approval, Solar 4 All will have 86 megawatts-dc of landfill and brownfield solar in total in service by the end of 2019.


— Solar Builder magazine

Momentum Solar continues to expand, is looking to hire

Momentum Solar is a privately held solar energy company headquartered in Metuchen, N.J., that just announced its rapid expansion in the Tri-State area. In fact, Momentum showed an averaged 74 percent increase in workforce quarter over quarter since the beginning of 2015.

momentum solarAs part of its model, Momentum tries to stay away from subcontracting, which the company believes becomes problematic if the teams are unreliable or not similarly trained. Momentum has complete control over training installers on the equipment being utilized.

So, all of this expansion requires more bodies. Recruiters at Momentum are determined to continue sourcing both experienced N.J. solar energy professionals and local recent graduates of trade schools, while also networking within the industry to onboard local talent. The majority of placements are operational and integral in completing a solar installation.

“The average system size for homeowners makes our consumption offset nearly 95-100%, based on how much the solar system produces. We build each job in about 1-2 days but 1-day installs are always our goal,” said James Valerioti, VP of Field Operations. “Our experienced internal teams always work efficiently to reach that goal.”

After the field crew completes a solar installation and the Permission to Operate (PTO) is granted by the local utility, the system is able to tie into the power grid once confirmed it is working properly. This is why it’s so important to have control over who completes each installation. The homeowner can then flick the ‘solar switch’ and start saving money by producing clean energy.

— Solar Builder magazine

Sustainable Jersey, EnergySage launch New Jersey Solar Challenge

new jersey solar challenge

This way to the solar challenge.

Sustainable Jersey announced a New Jersey statewide Solar Challenge program and invited municipalities to participate in order to promote adoption of solar energy at the community-level. The Sustainable Jersey Solar Challenge takes advantage of Sustainable Jersey’s partnership with EnergySage, an online solar marketplace developed with the support of the U.S. Department of Energy.

Randall Solomon, co-director of Sustainable Jersey said, “The Sustainable Jersey Solar Challenge provides a simple, cost effective way for municipalities to engage homeowners and small businesses in adopting solar.” The eight-month community-led program leverages an online solar marketplace and a suite of locally-branded social media marketing tools to help spread the word in the community about solar and the program.

Communities selected for the Sustainable Jersey Solar Challenge will receive support from Sustainable Jersey and EnergySage in developing and promoting the outreach campaign. Participating communities will be featured on the Sustainable Jersey Solar Challenge website, which will track the progress of each community in achieving signed contracts for solar installation by local homeowners and businesses. The program will run from October 2016 to May 2017. The community achieving the highest number of signed contracts for solar installations by the conclusion of the program (based proportionally on number of households and businesses in each community) will win an award of $10,000.

RELATED: Four steps for converting more solar sales 

“We’re delighted to support Sustainable Jersey in its efforts to provide communities throughout New Jersey with the right tools and resources for businesses and homeowners in the state to explore their solar energy options,” said Vikram Aggarwal, founder and CEO of EnergySage. “Our team is dedicated to helping municipalities make the process of adopting solar as transparent, easy and affordable for their residents as possible.”

The EnergySage Solar Marketplace allows consumers to easily and quickly comparison-shop for solar online. Everything from equipment to finance options can be evaluated and selected based on what the consumer feels is best for them. Because the online solar marketplace is open to all solar installers who meet the EnergySage vetting criteria, consumers have access to multiple high quality contractors.

Up to 10 municipalities will be accepted into the Sustainable Jersey Solar Challenge. Local solar challenge campaigns will launch in October 2016. Applications must be received by Sustainable Jersey no later than August 26, 2016. For more information and to download an application here.

— Solar Builder magazine

Big floating solar project underway in New Jersey

new jersey floating solar

Work has begun on one of the largest floating solar arrays in the nation, in the Borough of Sayreville, N.J. Partner firms that will execute the project’s design and implementation include: Power Grid Capital LLC (project developer), Monticello Energy Finance LLC (project financing) and RETTEW (Engineer and Designer).

The $12 million project will result in the production of more than 4 million kWh of renewable energy annually for the Bordentown Avenue Water Treatment Plant. Following design completion, construction is expected to begin in mid-2016 and be completed before the end of the year.

The purpose of the project is to produce all of the energy needed to operate the water treatment plant on an annual basis, significantly reducing energy costs and creating a “net zero” facility that does not rely on public utilities.

RELATED: World’s largest floating solar power plant on the way in Japan 

While the solar array will advance the use of renewable energy in the region and lessen the impact on the environment, this project has a further positive effect within the community. Middlesex Regional Educational Service Commission and Middlesex County Vocational and Technical Schools will work with project managers to engage their students in learning technical skills, gaining both training and financial opportunity.

“We’re not just corporations completing a technical job,” says Jason Wert, senior technical engineer with RETTEW. “We’re in this to help local communities with energy sustainability and make a difference in the lives of families, whether that’s through more efficient energy use or training that will benefit their children years into the future.”

Power Grid Capital, LLC is a project developer specializing in the construction of renewable energy projects, including solar arrays and the conversion of biogas from wastewater treatment facilities to vehicle fuel. The company’s principals began their work more than four decades ago in New York, and have a long history of managing the details of project development and construction.

Monticello Energy Finance, LLC is a specialty-financing firm whose members have a long history of investing in and managing impact lending projects in the renewable energy market. The company actively seeks project opportunities with RETTEW, such as solar arrays and biogas-to-vehicle fuel.

— Solar Builder magazine

Applied Energy Technologies selected for 3.5-MW New Jersey rooftop install

AET rooftop racking

Applied Energy Technologies (AET) was selected by Pro-Tech Energy Solutions to provide its Rayport-B ECO solar racking system for one of the nation’s largest rooftop solar installations. The project is installed on a distribution warehouse and the corporate headquarters for AC Moore arts and crafts stores.

The 11,232 panels, supplied by Trina, will bring power to the 750,000 sq. ft. distribution center which services its more than 140 stores, and houses the corporate office. SMA provided the inverters. Construction began in July. AC Moore, founded in NJ in 1985, operates arts and crafts superstores throughout the eastern U.S.

RELATED: AET Creates Rayport-I for String Inverter Mounting

“A rooftop project of this size requires extensive planning and precision,” said Aaron Faust, VP of Business Development at AET. “Our Rayport-B ECO roof ballast system met Pro-Tech’s needs in terms of price and ease of installation for such a large project. Even though Pro-Tech is an established customer, the vetting process was competitive. Ultimately, AET provided the best overall value to Pro-Tech and AC Moore.”

The Rayport- B ECO roof ballast system has one common bolt for all joints and panel clamps with integrated grounding. It is wind tunnel tested and UL 2703 listed. The system fits all major solar modules on the market and is available in a variety of panel configurations. The Rayport-B ECO ships folded, significantly increasing packing density and reducing shipping cost.

“We are dedicated to providing our customers with the highest quality solar solutions to maximize their return on investment,” said Jeff Hill, Project Executive at Pro-Tech. “We have worked with AET in the past and their cost-competitive and high quality racking systems optimize the power density and production for our customer.”

For more on AET, check out the company website

— Solar Builder magazine