30 solar systems now span Union County, New Jersey in the largest public-private partnership of its kind in the US.
Rather than putting 3.35 megawatts (MW) of solar all in one place, it's distributed on the roofs of libraries, schools and community centers.
Installations range in size from less than 10 kilowatts to almost 500 kW.
“When site assessments revealed that many of our initial selections were not ideal targets for solar, our entire team of professionals stepped up to a major challenge and canvassed the area to secure new locations without compromising the scope of our renewable energy program,” says Charlotte DeFilippo, executive director of the Union County Improvement Authority. “By generating energy for our community from the sun, Tioga is helping us to realize long-term savings while helping the state of New Jersey retain its position as a renewable energy leader in the US.”
All the systems are financed through a 15-year power purchase agreement (PPA) between Tioga Energy and the Union County Improvement Authority. Tioga owns the systems, which are being paid for through a combination of solar renewable energy certificates (SRECs), low-interest municipal bonds and federal tax incentives.
Under the PPA, Union County will buy the solar electricity at 50% less than that offered by the local utility, saving money and providing a hedge against future pricing volatility.
This is Tioga's third county-wide project in New Jersey. The company owns and operates more than 100 renewable energy systems across the U.S., they say.