Saturday, December 18, 2010

Solar Carport Canopy Approved in New Jersey

Rossi Honda plans to build three canopies with an array of solar panels to cover new display vehicles and customer cars at its New Jersey Delsea Drive dealership.

The project was one of two solar-based proposals that earned the Planning Board's approval last week. The board also approved a solar field at Landis Sewerage Authority.

Ron Rossi said he got the idea for the canopies from The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, which has a solar panel-covered canopy over a campus parking lot.

"It certainly meets what Honda's all about, which is fuel efficiency," he said. "We're a green company and we're going to get greener."

The project comes at a good time, he added, as Honda is gearing up to present its first electric car by 2012. Rossi hopes at some point to build a solar recharging station, where electric cars can be plugged in, powered by the sun.

He expects the solar-power canopies could be up by May.

The canopies, shaped like the letter T but with a slightly slanted roof, should cover more than 100 vehicles, Rossi said. The dealership typically has 150 to 250 vehicles on site, he said.

Some of the spaces underneath the canopies will be reserved for new cars, and some are for customer parking. The lighting underneath will have motion sensors, too, so lights are only on when needed, Rossi said.

Roughly 980 solar panels will be fitted on the roof, facing south and tilting 10 percent, which Rossi deemed the perfect angle for non-moving panels.

He estimates 90 to 95 percent of his electric bill for the dealership will be covered based on the power he anticipates the panels will produce. The panels will generate roughly 223 kilowatts of power, he said.

Rossi was grateful for the city's support on the project, as well as citywide green initiatives.

"It's a positive thing for the area," he said. "Being a green community can't hurt us."

Also last week, the Planning Board approved a proposal from Community Energy Inc. of Radnor, Pa., to build a 4-megawatt solar field at Landis Sewerage Authority.

The solar field is the second to go in at the South Mill Road property. The city's electric utility unveiled Vineland Solar One, a 4-megawatt field, there in 2009.

Community Energy's field is just one of four planned here.

This past June, Vineland Municipal Electric Utility announced a partnership with three companies. They would build four solar fields here and the city could buy the power those panels generate from them at a lower rate than market prices, Vineland Municipal Utilities Director Joseph Isabella said.

CornerStone Power Development of Chicago wants to build a 3-megawatt field at Butler Avenue and Delsea Drive. NFI Solar LLC of Cherry Hill plans to build a 2-megawatt field on Maple Avenue near Spring Road.

Both projects received Zoning Board approval, Steve Hawk, the city's senior planner, said.

Community Energy still needs approval for its second field, a 3-megawatt solar field planned on North Main Road near Oak Road. That field will go before the city's Zoning Board on Jan. 19, Hawk said.

All three companies aim to have their fields completed by July, Isabella said.

The solar fields would yield a total of 12 megawatts of carbon-free renewable energy. That can produce enough energy to power 1,200 homes when the panels are producing at peak hours, or during the daytime. All that energy would be pumped into the utility's grid system to benefit its ratepayers equally, Isabella said.

"It moves Vineland in the direction of clean energy and we're able to do it in a way that the energy is cheaper than market costs," he said. "That, to me, is a homerun for our customers."



Erinne said...

How exciting! I am monitoring developments in electric cars with a goal of purchasing one in the next 2-3 years. Cool Green Solar of San Diego installed a PV system on my house over the summer and we're hoping to eliminate our petroleum bill by purchasing an electric car. It's great to see other communities making an investment like this. Thanks for the great blog.

Dave said...

Is it possible your installer would consider looking at our OGS-560W panel? We can more than double the Energy capacity of that instalation with our units and I expect the cost would be close to the same or better.
They only have to ask and we'll provide information available for their analysis.
Thank you and Happy Holidays.