A Sunny Disposition

The ballasted solar roof was used because new closed-cell granular roof systems were recently completed on two of the three existing roofs, so structural penetrations in the new roofing system were discouraged.

The sports arena project utilizes about 6,800 solar panels, and produces about 1.6 MW of solar capacity. The equipment provides about 30 percent of the total electric-energy needs at a guaranteed reduced rate. The PPA fixes the future cost of energy “delivered” at 10.6 cents per kilowatt with a 3 percent increase every year for 15 years.

It is widely anticipated that the cost of energy will exceed the 3-percent increase per year over that span. It is conservatively estimated that the project will produce a minimum average of $25,000-per-year savings in rate-charges alone to the annual operating budget at no cost to the commission. This projection is anticipated to be substantially more with future energy-cost escalation and incentives for the actual demand reduction of 1.6 MW are realized.

Tioga Energy benefits from tax credits (SRECS) of which the commission and other non-taxpaying participants cannot take advantage. While the rate is guaranteed, the developer will share in the energy savings as well as pay off his initial capital expense.

The project also includes replacing the existing high-energy-consuming parking-lot lights with energy-efficient T-8 lights under the solar canopy. Additionally, the project includes a kiosk in the lobby of the arena that will serve as an educational tool for the public, informing it of the status of the solar-panel energy production and new forms of renewable-energy savings. Ultimately, this same information will be available on the Internet.

Other Solar Project Benefits

The results of this project include:

1. Reining in energy costs

2. Controlling the carbon footprint

3. Providing local green jobs

4. Involving the community in renewable-energy education

5. Receiving financial incentives for releasing 1.6 MW of energy demand

6. Releasing the demand during the key public-demand peak periods

7. Reducing annual carbon dioxide equivalencies to include 1.2 million vehicle miles not traveled or 1,300 barrels of oil conserved or 125 acres of pine-forest carbon-storing

Past And Projected Savings

From 2007 to 2009, the commission has reduced its electric consumption from 6.1 million kilowatt hours (kWh) to 5.4 million kWh, or a reduction of 11.5 percent. This savings was accomplished through capital projects.

While the above represents the most recent energy initiative, plans are underway to design and construct other similar energy-consumption measures at the sports arena. Rink lighting will be replaced with energy-efficient fixtures, and an energy-management system will be implemented using 100-percent federal stimulus funds.

In addition, officials have been coordinating with and securing rebates under the New Jersey Clean Energy Smart Start Buildings Rebates program. To date, approximately $18,000 has been received under this incentive program.

Jeffrey A. Biggs, PE has been the Director of Engineering Services for the Morris County Park Commission in Morristown, N.J. since 1994. He can be reached via e-mail at jbiggs@morrisparks.net.

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