Biggest Solar Rooftop Installs In Jersey?

The competition for Biggest Rooftop Solar Installation in the Country is heating up, and the battle is focused squarely on New Jersey.

In early January, Solar Power announced it would build a 5 megawatt (MW) capacity system – “the largest of its type in the nation” – in Cateret. Later in the month came word of plans for “the largest single-roof solar system in North America,” a 4.8 MW system set for a mall in Elizabeth. Now it’s the industrial/commercial developer Avidan Management jumping into the fray with a 17-acre installation in Edison. At 4.26 MW, the company said, “the solar-electric system will be the largest rooftop system in the U.S.”

biggest rooftop solar installation, New Jersey, Avidan

image via Avidan Management

Although Avidan’s stated capacity is a bit less than the other two, it might actually get the edge here because its system, instead of merely being planned, is well on the way to producing electricity. Solar Nation was awarded the project contract last September and according to Avidan, about half of the 17,745 U.S.-made SolarWorld Sunmodule panels are already installed. Avidan said the system, when completed in May this year, will produce some 5 million kilowatt hours of electricity every year, about half the power needed for the 17 building tenants – including a large frozen warehouse.

Why all these big projects in New Jersey? Avidan said it was leveraging New Jersey’s renewable energy portfolio standard and state also solar renewable energy certificate program. Last September, the state said it passed 200 MW in installed photovoltaic capacity, trailing only much larger – and sunnier – California in the United States.

Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.