Solis Partners, a leading provider of commercial solar power systems, has announced that it has completed the installation of a 243-kilowatt solar photovoltaic (PV) system at Riephoff Sawmill. Located in Monmouth County in the borough of Upper Freehold, N.J., the Riephoff facility is New Jersey’s largest hardwood sawmill.
The system was designed, engineered and constructed by Manasquan, N.J.-based Solis Partners and comprises of two ground-mounted systems — a 165-kilowatt array that generates power for the sawmill and a 78-kilowatt array that generates power for additional facilities on the property, which include a barn for livestock and an aquafarm.
Located at 763 Route 524, the Riephoff Sawmill is a family-owned business that has been supplying the Northeast with high quality lumber products for the industrial, construction and manufacturing industries for more than 45 years. The two solar systems are housed within the company’s 7-acre yard that is used for scaling and storing logs.
“We are thrilled to announce the completion of this innovative project,” said Jamie Hahn, co-founder and managing director of Solis Partners. “This project allows Riephoff to lower its operating costs and acts as a hedge against the rising costs of electricity, which is especially important in a state that has some of the nation’s highest electricity rates. The ability to produce clean, renewable energy is also very important to Riephoff as an organization reliant on the natural environment for raw materials.”
The 15,000-square-foot mill, which includes a 56-inch circular saw and a 20-foot frick carriage, a device used to pass large pieces of lumber through the saw, as well as the pumps needed for aquafarming, requires a lot of electricity. The solar PV system offsets approximately 100 percent of Riephoff’s electricity consumption, which equates to approximately $36,000 in annual savings.
Built with 1,036 solar PV panels, the solar system will produce approximately 300,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity in the first year of operation. This equates to the reduction of more than 456,000 pounds of CO2 emissions, which is the equivalent of offsetting the power demand of 26 residential homes or removing 40 cars from the road each year.
“We care about the environment,” said John Falconio, principal at Riephoff. “Because our company relies on natural resources, we continuously implement projects and methods that are environmentally responsible. However, the decision to pursue a solar project was easy because there is a strong business case in addition to the environmental benefits.”
Riephoff, which produces products from fencing and posts to hardwood crane mats, which are used to support the weight of a crane, is very resourceful in its operations. Riephoff buys approximately 98 percent of its timber locally and harvests all its wood responsibly, using consultants — when necessary — and techniques that best ensure the rejuvenation of the trees.
“There’s a big misconception that when you cut timber it never grows back, but it’s quite the opposite, “ said Falconio. “We cut timber in a way that we can continue to do so for years to come. And whatever we cut, we use – the only thing we don’t sell is the buzz and sawdust. Scrap pieces get recycled into landscape mulch, sawdust goes for horse bedding and anything that can’t be sold we use in our wood burning stove. When managed appropriately, timber is truly a renewable resource.”
“In this business, to stay competitive, you have to be as efficient as possible,” said Falconio. “This solar system is an extension of the efficiency strategies we employ throughout the business, and with plans for expansion with our aquafarming business, the timing was perfect.”
About Solis Partners
Solis Partners is a leading turnkey provider of solar power systems for commercial, industrial, utility and nonprofit clients. Solis specializes in financing, constructing and operating distributed solar power plants that enable clients to meet their long-term energy needs while reducing operating costs and addressing their carbon liabilities. Solis is committed to providing its clients with the most efficient and cost effective path to solar. Solis Partners is headquartered in Manasquan, N.J. For more information, please call (732) 800-0052, or visit www.solispartners.com.
About Riephoff Sawmill
Family-owned since 1964, Riephoff Sawmill, based out of Upper Freehold, N.J., is New Jersey’s largest hardwood sawmill. Servicing clients throughout the northeast and Canada, Riephoff offers top quality lumber products for industrial, construction and manufacturing industries. For more information about Riephoff and its products, please visit www.riephoffsawmill.com.
SunLight General Capital Announces Completion of Solar Installation at Bergen County Municipal Facilities
$3.5 Million Project Built at No Expense to Taxpayers
HACKENSACK, N.J. (March 17, 2011) — SunLight General Capital, the region’s premier solar energy developer and financer, today announced the completion of two solar electric power generating projects in Bergen County, N.J. Installed at county municipal facilities at a capital cost of $3.5 million, the projects were completed at no expense to Bergen County taxpayers, and will generate approximately 850,000 kilowatt hours each year.
Installed by renewable energy installation contractor Pfister Energy, the project allows Bergen County to purchase electricity at a discounted price. Over a 15-year period, the county is guaranteed savings of approximately $250,000, and as much as an additional $1 million if utility prices continue increasing at historic rates.
Under the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), SunLight General financed and owns the solar electric generating projects — a rooftop facility at the Prosecutor’s Office in Paramus, NJ and a large and innovative parking canopy structure at the County Seat of Government in Hackensack, NJ — and will provide clean, renewable energy to Bergen County, at prices substantially lower than the utility rates.
“With the installation of these projects completed, Bergen County will begin reaping the benefits of this cost effective and environmentally responsible solution to its energy needs,” stated Stacey Hughes, managing partner of SunLight General Capital. “We are one of the only solar developers with in-house access to financing through our investment fund, SunLight General Solar Fund, and we were therefore able to deliver a timely and cost-effective proposal to Bergen County. Our mission is and will continue to be to promote environmental responsibility and energy independence, while at the same time offering significant cost savings to our public and private customers.”
The Bergen County project is part of a large wave of solar installations being constructed to provide electricity to New Jersey municipalities. These projects benefit from New Jersey state laws to promote solar energy as well as federal stimulus money. New Jersey is at the forefront of the solar revolution in the United States, and more solar capacity is currently being installed each month in New Jersey than any other state, including California.
“In addition to immediate savings on the power price, Bergen County will benefit from the certainty of known fixed priced escalation of the power cost, at a rate well below that of the utility,” stated Edouard Klehe, another managing partner of SunLight General. “After a public RFP, the County selected the partnership of SunLight General and Pfister Energy as they offered the best combination of proven expertise to finance, engineer, build, and complete this project in a timely manner, coupled with a proposal that offered the most significant savings to the taxpayers of the County.”
Not only do these construction projects bring much-needed jobs to the state, but also the clean energy produced is comparable to saving 670 tons of carbon dioxide per year or 130 acres of forestland.
FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP, N.J. (March 11, 2011) – Solis Partners, a leading developer and integrator of commercial solar power systems, and Public Service Electric and Gas Company (PSE&G), New Jersey’s oldest and largest publicly owned utility, recently celebrated the completion of a 921-kilowatt rooftop solar installation at the utility’s Central Division Headquarters in the Somerset section of Franklin Township, N.J.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony was attended by PSE&G executives, local elected officials and dignitaries, representatives from the solar panel supplier and the solar developer responsible for building the system.
Designed, engineered and deployed by Manasquan, N.J.-based Solis Partners, the system utilizes a combination of U.S.-made SolarWorld flat, glass-plated crystalline panels and Solyndra thin film panels.
The Somerset system is part of Newark-based PSE&G’s Solar 4 All™ program, a plan to invest $515 million on 80 megawatts of solar projects around the state between 2009 and 2013.
“With the hard work and commitment of key state legislators, the BPU and utilities such as PSE&G, New Jersey has become the sixth largest solar market in the world and a national leader in installed solar capacity — second only to California,” said Jamie Hahn, managing director of Solis Partners. “PSE&G’s Solar 4 All program has been key to that achievement. This project exemplifies PSE&G’s commitment to transforming underutilized commercial rooftops into clean renewable energy sources.”
Rooftop solar makes tremendous sense for New Jersey, which has more flat commercial rooftops per square mile than any other state, said Gary Weisman, director of sales for Solis, in remarks at the event.
“These underutilized rooftop assets are the perfect platform for deploying distributed solar generation facilities where power is most needed,” said Weisman. “Rooftop solar produces during the hours of peak demand, and provides power to the areas of the grid that need it the most — large commercial and industrial users.”
The innovative cylindrical panels from Solyndra are designed to optimize electricity production on commercial flat rooftops. The ability of the system to cover more rooftop area and capture more light than traditional panels results in more annual solar electricity generation and will provide clean, low-cost power back to the utility grid for more than 25 years.
The Solyndra panels were integrated in the PSE&G system with a reflective white “cool” roof, which was on display at the ribbon cutting along with the Solyndra panels. The reflective roof not only enhances the efficiency of the building envelope from an energy savings perspective, but also increases the amount of solar production harvest.
Solis partnered with Allied Building Products Corp. on the project. Allied’s distribution team delivered the Solyndra and SolarWorld panels directly to the PSE&G rooftop and craned the Satcon inverters into place onto the concrete pad. Allied also provided the overall logistical support that allowed the project to be executed smoothly.
“For a project of this magnitude, staging and delivery are key to overall success and Allied has been a great partner in the role of solar distribution and logistics,” said Hahn.
At the ribbon cutting, the consensus of local dignitaries, which included New Jersey Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula and Somerset County Freeholder Patrick Scaglione, was that without a thriving renewable energy sector, the nation risks escalating dependence on fossil fuels, increased greenhouse gas emissions, reduced national security and the erosion of job creation within the clean energy sector.
In addition to being a great example of the advancements that are occurring in the solar sector, PSE&G’s Central Division Headquarters’ solar system illustrates how the Solar 4 All initiative is helping the renewable energy sector grow in New Jersey and the nation, said Al Matos, PSE&G’s vice president of Renewables and Energy Solutions, who delivered the opening remarks to the crowed of about 50 people.
“By installing large amounts of solar capacity in a reliable, orderly way, Solar 4 All is a driving force behind the renewable energy market,” said Matos. “Programs such as ours help create a predictable demand for these advanced products. This creates the kind of environment that solar companies need to spur innovation and cost efficiencies on their part, which then drives even more demand, more sales and more innovation.”
The benefits of having utilities such as PSE&G as major players in the renewable energy field extend beyond helping to create a market for solar companies, also helping ratepayers, he said.
“Our Solar 4 All program provides maximum benefit to PSE&G electric ratepayers,” said Matos. “Every one of the panels we are placing in service generates value from the sale of its electricity and capacity, the federal investment tax credits it realizes and the solar renewable energy certificates (SRECs) that it generates.”
SAN DIEGO, CALIF. (Jan. 3, 2011) – New Jersey’s rapid emergence as a leader in the solar industry is due to aggressive state incentives and policies that have resulted in an increase from 7.5 kilowatts of installed capacity in 2001 to more than 200 megawatts today.
The preeminence of New Jersey as a solar leader was the subject of remarks by Jamie Hahn, managing director of Solis Partners, a leading developer and integrator of commercial solar power systems based in Manasquan, N.J., at a panel discussion on the New Jersey solar market at the recent Distributed Solar Summit 2010 in San Diego, Calif. New Jersey is second only to California in installed solar capacity.
The program on national distributed solar markets looked at these two leading markets, as well as at emerging markets in the Northeast and West. Panel participants provided insights into and analysis of the forces shaping these markets with the goal of providing the information needed to enable conference participants to make informed evaluations of solar opportunities.
The three-day summit drew participants including commercial, industrial and non-profit solar project developers, investors, lenders, photovoltaic suppliers, utilities, contractors and installers to explore how to take full advantage of the booming solar market. The event also provided opportunities for industry stakeholders to connect, build relationships and discuss deals.
Hahn highlighted the incentives that have helped New Jersey emerge as a solar leader, including the Solar Renewable Energy Certificate (SREC) program, a performance-based incentive. Under the program, utilities purchase SRECS, which are tradable certificates repesenting 1,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity, from solar producers in order to meet state Renewable Portfolio Standard mandates.
“In New Jersey, SRECs have been one of the largest drivers in the adoption of solar,” Hahn said. “Because the price of electricity from solar is not yet comparable with that of electricity from traditional sources, we know that the only way to stimulate the the solar market is through policy initiatives that are implemented in the expectation that the industry will eventually stand on its own two legs.”
The New Jersey Solar Energy Advancement and Fair Competition Act, signed into law in January, has taken New Jersey a step closer to memorializing the SREC program, Hahn said. The law, which is a clear demonstration of the state’s commitment to solar, strengthens and reinforces the SREC program. The law is expected to attract additional solar development and increase investor confidence.
Hahn also pointed out the flaws of the incentives and offered some solutions. The problem with relying on policy initiatives is that they typically bring uncertainties to the marketplace that make the financial structuring of solar systems more complicated, Hahn noted. In order to clear up the uncertainties, New Jersey will have to make the incentives more transparent and more long term.
“For solar to reach real scale in New Jersey, policy incentives need to be more transparent and we need long-term certainty in the market,” he said. “With certainty you lower the risk profile. Lower risk will reduce the return requirements on the capital invested and lower return requirements will bring more competitive capital into the marketplace, resulting in lower costs for distributed solar power projects.”
For more information about Solis Partners, visit www.SolisPartners.com
About Solis Partners
Solis Partners is a leading developer and integrator of solar power systems for commercial, industrial, utility and not-for-profit clients. Solis Partners designs, engineers and constructs leading-edge, optimized solar power systems, enabling customers to meet their long-term energy needs while reducing operating costs and addressing their carbon liabilities. Solis is a comprehensive partner, offering the complete solution for both solar and roofing. Solis Partners is headquartered in Manasquan, N.J. For more information, please call (732) 800-0052, or visit www.solispartners.com
By Joe Tyrrell, newjerseynewsroom.com
As Congress wrestles with national energy policies and gubernatorial candidates tout their plans here, New Jersey officials say the state deserves credit as a leader in promoting solar power.
In just a few years of coordinated efforts, New Jersey has gone from a non-factor to number two among the states in solar installations connected to the power grid. While far behind California, New Jersey currently generates about twice as many solar kilowatt hours as number three Colorado.
While applauding the gains, many in the industry also say the state, like the nation, has fallen well short of performance goals. New Jersey rose to the top of solar charts in a period when there was little competition from other states.
Now, as the federal government begins to pay attention to renewable energy, New Jersey is in the midst of a challenging transition away from an easy to understand program, which gave rebates to install solar power cells.
The new program shifts the focus away from consumers to utility companies and investors by creating a marketplace for renewable energy credits. The concept has its supporters, though many are more hopeful than confident.
Still, at a time when solar businesses believe the technology is on the verge of a belated boom in the United States, recent New Jersey statistics wowed some attendees at a recent industry conference in Philadelphia.
“Making this even more remarkable is that in 2001 New Jersey had only six” solar cell installations connected to the power grid, compared to more than 4,000 today, wrote Bob Haavind of Photovoltaics World.
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