New Jersey Scores Nation’s Biggest Solar Power Rooftop System


When it comes to solar energy systems, especially solar photovoltaic, bigger is better, and the biggest one to date is the 5-megawatt rooftop solar system proposed for the top of the White Rose Building in Cateret, New Jersey.

The building is both the corporate headquarters and a food distribution hub for White Rose Foods, the largest independent wholesale food distributor in the New York City metropolitan area.

The system is being built by Solar Power Inc., and will be operated under the joint auspices of NuGen Capital Management, LLC and KDC Solar LLC, with Solar Power Inc. acting as “service technician” once the plant is up and running.

According to Solar Power Inc. CEO and Chairman Steve Kircher, the installation will be one of the biggest systems of its type in the nation, comprised of almost 11,000 solar PV panels on top of a roof about the size of seven football fields.

In fact, at this writing, it is unarguably the biggest (correct us if we are wrong), closely followed by:

Date
Company
Location
MW
2010
Macy’s Fulfillment Center
Goodyear, AZ
3.50
2010
Glaxo Smith Kline
York, PA
3.00
2010
FedEx
Woodbridge, NJ
2.42
2008
Atlantic City Convention Center
New Jersey
2.36
2008
Toyota
Ontario, CA
2.30
2008
ProLogis
Fontana, CA
2.00
2008
McCormick & Co.
Belcamp, MD
1.80
2009
Orange County Convention Center
OC, CA
1.10
2010
Staples
Hanover, MD
1.01

The New Jersey system will feature Solar Power’s SkyMount racking system, which was also used on the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Nearly 11,000 solar panels will cover an area about the size of seven American football fields, generating enough electricity to meet all the annual energy needs of White Rose’s regional food distribution activities.

If used in the residential energy marketplace, the system could serve 400 American homes.



Have any Question or Comment?

4 comments on “New Jersey Scores Nation’s Biggest Solar Power Rooftop System

Howard Emgritz

Great project, but can’t understand the project timing from the article:

Either “the system is being built by Solar Power”, or it’s a “system proposed for the top of the White Rose Building”. Can’t be both.

Bilsko

It will certainly be an impressive installation if they can pull it off.

A couple of observations and questions:

1. I’m surprised to see this kind of statement at the end of the article:

Unless they plan on installing a massive battery bank to go along with the PV panels, there’s no way that the system will meet the annual needs of the facility. A 5MW system in NJ will produce somewhere around 8,000MWh annually, but of course not all of that will be coincident with the load at the facility (food distribution? pretty steady 24-hr load, including thermal loads which the PV panels will do nothing to address). So please be clear, the system might generate the equivalent kWH consumed by the customer, but – especially in the case of PV panels – it won’t be meeting the customer’s electrcity needs without a substantial amount of utility power. In fact, I suspect that it would be pretty easy to demonstrate that a correctly sized natural gas CHP system meeting electric and thermal loads would result in far greater emissions reductions than the 5MW PV panel installation.

2. The financials for the project are probably fairly decent:

— 30% ITC (with Sec 1603 making that an upfront grant),

— MACRS depreciation on the tax basis for the equipment,

— SRECs in NJ/PJM: anywhere from 30c/kWh up to 50c/kWh

— NJ Net-metering without a cap on system size means that they’ll replace retail power for everything they draw from the utility and anything above that will get paid at the utility’s avoided-cost of power. Since there is no cap on the net metering size, they don’t even have to worry about getting in to the PJM Queue…everything just goes right back to the utility at avoided-cost.

3. As far as interconnection goes, its pretty fortunate that they’re so close to a medium/high voltage line coming off of that gas/oil peaker plant about 1.5 miles to the southwest ( http://goo.gl/maps/WHPx ) If it weren’t for such a convenient location, its not at all clear that the utility would have approved any project that wanted to hang 5MW off of a feeder in what looks like a pretty built-up area. Perhaps they’re even running a dedicated line all the way back to the substation?

3. Interconnection

Bilsko

That blockquote was supposed to point to this piece of text:

“…generating enough electricity to meet all the annual energy needs of White Rose’s regional food distribution activities.”

Such an amazing project but I thought because of its size it can serve more than 400 families. But seems that I’m thinking wrong. I’m a bit disappointed.

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