Rutgers opens 7-acre solar energy farm

//October 29, 2009

Rutgers opens 7-acre solar energy farm

//October 29, 2009

State university accepts energy leadership award for its environmentally friendly initiatives.Rutgers University on Tuesday marked the official opening of its seven-acre solar energy facility, one of the largest renewable energy systems on a U.S. campus, before a consortium of officials and Rutgers administrators, including President Richard L. McCormick.

The 1.4-megawatt solar farm will generate approximately 11 percent of the electrical demand of the Livingston campus, reduces the university’s carbon dioxide emissions by more than 1,300 tons per year and is expected to save Rutgers more than $200,000 in its first year of operation.

A university spokesman said those savings, combined with Rutgers’ participation in the BPU’s Solar Renewable Energy Certificate program — which awards credits to the school for its power generation, which can then be sold to suppliers — should help the school recover its investment in five to seven years.

Nearly half of the $10 million cost of the project will be subsidized by a rebate through the Board of Public Utilities’ Clean Energy Program.

“Rutgers’ work to promote energy efficiency and generate renewable energy has set an outstanding example of how to be a part of New Jersey’s clean energy future,” as set forth by Gov. Jon S. Corzine’s energy master plan, said Jeanne M. Fox, BPU president, who attended the event.

The solar farm is among the initiatives that landed Rutgers the 2009 Energy Educator of the Year award from the BPU. Among the university’s accomplishments:

• Completed a university-wide audit of lighting, and will begin a five-year program to replace all lighting with high efficiency lighting and sensors.

• Followed recommendations of an audit to reduce water consumption by 255 million gallons a year on the Livingston and Busch campuses.

• The university operates a 14-megawatt combined heat-and-power, or cogeneration, plant.

E-mail Joe Arney at [email protected]