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.
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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