Solar Capital? It Could Be Vineland, NJ

Vineland, N.J., solar-power capitol? It appears to be true. The city and developer Constellation Energy have announced the completion of a combined 6.5-megawatt (MW) solar generation project. The project includes two ground-mounted photovoltaic (PV) plants – a 4-MW system in West Vineland and a 2.5-MW system in North Vineland. Together, the systems consist of nearly 27,900 PV panels, and are expected to generate approximately 10 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year.

And get this: That brings the city’s total solar generating capacity to an impressive 24 MW, including the 4-MW Vineland Solar One (pictured below). According to Joseph Isabella, director of Vineland Public Utilities, the city’s Vineland Municipal Electric Utility (VMEU) – the only municipal utility in New Jersey – boasts an average of 428 watts of solar energy for each of its 25,000 customers. That’s over 10 times more solar per customer than in Silicon Valley, according to the News of Cumberland County.

image via Vineland Public Utilities

The new Vineland plants will be owned and maintained by Constellation Energy, and all of electricity generated will be purchased by VEMU under a 25-year power purchase agreement. Constellation Energy acquired the project from solar power developer Community Energy Solar in early 2011.

In the U.S., New Jersey is second only to California in total solar energy capacity; but some analysts warn that problems with the market for solar renewable energy certificates (SRECs) could have serious repercussions on the state’s solar power development.

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Lauren Craig is a writer and consultant living in Seattle, WA. She holds an M.S. in International Development from Tulane University, and is co-founder of Sustainable Systems Integrators, LLC., an employee-owned solar energy design and installation firm in New Orleans, LA. She is also certified in PV design and installation by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP).

2 Comments

  • Reply November 22, 2011

    Sam Kumar

    This is a show the commitment and the confidence in NJ solar market. Certainly the SRECs have played a part in theu00a0attractingu00a0solar project. The SRECs prices will drop as more project come online. The one bright spot is that the prices of Solar panels is also coming down.u00a0nnhttp://saveenergyaudit.info/nFree Energy Audit

  • Reply November 23, 2011

    Sarah Damaskos

    Way to Constellation. Vineland and South Jersey are really moving forward in solar energy leadership!u00a0 And, to give credit where it’s due, Pfister Energy has worked with multiple businesses in Vineland including the Ramada Inn (ground-mount solar field) and a Private School (roof-mount) — large solar fields built by utilities aren’t the only contributor to this trend!

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