The Board of Governors of Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey approved the construction of a $40.8 million, 32-acre solar canopy energy system; the largest in the nation.
Rutgers will install more than 40,000 high-efficiency solar panel canopy structures that will generate eight MW of power, approximately $1.2 million in electricity over two large surface parking areas on the university’s Livingston Campus in order to convert sunlight into electricity while providing people and cars with shelter.
“This is an exciting and innovative project that demonstrates Rutgers’ ongoing commitment to energy conservation and environmentally sound practices,” said President of Rutgers University Richard L. McCormick. “Rutgers takes environmental stewardship seriously, and the university is proud to be a leader in developing renewable energy resources in New Jersey.”
The project will utilize federal tax incentives combined with New Jersey’s Renewable Energy Credits, which are tradable and can also be sold to electric suppliers, to pay for the project. Rutgers will select a third-party project lessor to underwrite the cost of construction and will make lease payments while maintaining the facility throughout the project. Rutgers will also continue to have rights to the electricity generated and at the end of a 15-year lease, will then purchase the facility at an estimated $3.6 million.
This solar canopy will be the second of its kind on the Livingston Campus; the first one having been built in 2009 which currently generates about 11 percent of the campus’ electrical demand. The new solar canopy will be more than four times larger than its seven-acre, 1.4-MW counterpart and upon it’s completion, the two installations combined will provide more than 60 percent of the Livingston Campus’ power needs.
Construction on the new Rutgers solar canopies is scheduled to begin this summer with installation expected to be complete by summer 2012.