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Constellation Energy to Develop 5 Megawatt Solar Installation in N.J.

published: 2010-10-25 11:48

Constellation Energy announced that it has entered into agreements with Johnson Matthey Inc. and Preferred Unlimited Inc. to deploy a new 5.2-megawatt DC solar photovoltaic power system to serve the Johnson Matthey facilities in West Deptford, N.J. The solar installation will utilize high-efficiency photovoltaic panels from SunPower Corporation, which will also design and build the system. Constellation Energy will finance, own, operate and maintain the system, and Johnson Matthey will purchase electricity produced by the installation under a 20-year power purchase agreement.

"Solar power continues to make good sense for companies like Johnson Matthey that are seeking affordable electricity prices for the long-term while supporting clean, renewable energy generation," said Michael Smith, senior vice president of green initiatives for Constellation Energy's retail business. "These types of commitments are a big reason that last year's U.S. solar electric capacity is higher by 37 percent over the previous year's, and continues to expand."

The solar installation is expected to produce approximately 20 percent of the West Deptford facility's electricity requirements. The system will be ground-mounted on approximately 21 acres and utilize single-axis tracking to optimize the exposure of the photovoltaic panels to sunlight. Construction of the system has begun and is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2011.

"Johnson Matthey is committed to sustainable operations and we are pleased to be working with Constellation Energy to develop a system that will utilize clean energy and reduce carbon emissions," said Chris DiMascio, Operations Director for Johnson Matthey's Catalysts and Chemicals business. "Structuring solar projects as power purchase agreements creates an attractive business model that creates no upfront costs for customers and provides them with firm power costs over a long term," DiMascio said.

On the 21-acre site, SunPower will install a SunPower Tracker(R) system, using SunPower solar panels. The Tracker positions the solar panels to follow the sun's movement during the day, increasing sunlight capture by up to 25 percent over conventional fixed-tilt systems, while significantly reducing land use requirements.

Generating the same amount of electricity that is expected to be produced by the new solar installation using non-renewable sources would result in the release of more than 2,800 metric tons of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, and the equivalent of the emissions from more than 500 passenger vehicles annually. The project will also create a number of new green jobs, requiring approximately 104,000 man-hours during construction.

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