National EPC, O&M and energy storage company CS Energy (formerly Conti Solar) just completed the largest solar project in New Jersey. The project owner, Ben Moreell Solar Farm, LLC and Department of the Navy (DON) executed a lease for approximately 170 acres of underutilized land for the purpose of constructing a 28.5 MW ground-mount project located at Naval Weapons Station Earle (NWS Earle) in Tinton Falls.
As part of the Navy’s energy resiliency initiative, the Ben Moreell Solar Farm on NWS Earle was established. Owned by Vitol Green Holdings LLC, a subsidiary of global energy and commodities company Vitol Holdings B.V., the solar project will be tied directly to the local utility grid. In case of emergency, and with further investment, the clean power plant can be modified to power the base, which has a combined workforce of more than 1,500 civilian, military and contractor personnel.
“Having access to reliable, sustainable and renewable sources of energy, like solar power, helps our Navy improve our energy security, operational capability, strategic flexibility and resource availabilities,” said Capt. Pierre A. Fuller, Commanding Officer, NWS Earle. “We are equally pleased this is the largest solar project in the state, to date, and it contributes to New Jersey’s Energy Master Plan.”
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Project details (phase two coming)
CS Energy designed, procured and installed the power plant, creating a custom worksite that allowed for a streamlined construction process while still maintaining the base’s high security standards. CS Energy’s team of local workers safely installed 4,000 solar panels each day at the height of construction.
Currently, the second phase of the project is underway. As in-kind consideration, CS Energy will install a separate behind the meter solar system that will connect directly to the NWS Earle utility grid, providing DON with renewable energy to support operations.
CS Energy’s efficiency stems in part from its deep experience with designing and building solar and storage projects on U.S. military bases. The NWS Earle plant is one of the firm’s largest; in total, CS Energy has installed more than 80 MW of solar energy projects on U.S. bases across the globe.
New Jersey’s Energy Master Plan
The Ben Morrell project contributes to New Jersey’s 2020 Energy Master Plan, which aims to garner 100 percent of its energy from renewable, carbon-neutral sources by 2050. The Energy Master Plan is the first of a series of monumental steps to ensure that the state generates and manages its energy supply in a way that is consistent with economic, climate, and societal demands.
“I’m proud of our team for once again safely complying with heightened military regulations and delivering a turnkey solar project,” said Matthew Skidmore, CEO of CS Energy. “We are honored to help the US Navy, Vitol, and our home state of New Jersey increase their use of solar power.”
— Solar Builder magazine