Solar ‘R’ Jersey, With Another Big Rooftop System

It will soon be knocked off its perch, but for now, the solar-power system running on the Toy R Us distribution center in Flanders, N.J., is staking its claim to being the biggest rooftop installation in the North America.

We reported on the project’s beginnings in May, and now Toys R Us says work was completed on the 5.38 megawatt (MW) installation, which covers 70 percent of the distribution center’s nearly 1.3 milion-square-foot roof. Weather will obviously play a role in determining exactly how much power the system produces, but the company estimated annual output at just shy of 6.4 million kilowatt-hours of electricity.

largest rooftop solar installation, Toys R Us, New Jersey

image via Constellation Energy

New Jersey’s various incentives, including a robust renewable energy certificate program, have made it the land of large rooftop projects. As far as we can tell, the King of Rooftop Systems before the Toy R Us installation was Avidan Management’s 4.26 megawatt system on warehouse and distribution space in Edison. But waiting in the wings – and due to go into operation this fall – is the 9-MW Gloucester Marine Terminal on the Delaware River.

Toys R Us said the Flanders system will offset 72 percent of the electrical needs for their warehouse, but as part of a power purchase agreement, “Constellation Energy will designate 7,500 Green-e Certified renewable energy certificates per year for the next three years to Toys R Us Times Square, effectively offsetting 100 percent of the 7,064,800 kilowatt-hours of electricity typically needed to power the store,” the company said.

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.