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Holt to Build Largest Rooftop Solar Power Plant in North America at Gloucester Marine Terminal

published: 2011-06-23 15:06

Gloucester Marine Terminal announced that it is partnering with solar technology leader SunPower Corp. to build the largest rooftop solar installation in North America – a massive, 1.1 million square-foot project on the roof of the Terminal's refrigerated warehouse near the Walt Whitman Bridge on the Delaware River.

Known as Riverside Renewable Energy, LLC, the $42 million, privately funded project calls for the installation of 27,528 photovoltaic rooftop solar panels that will generate nine megawatts of electricity (9 MW) – or roughly enough to power 1,500 homes – at Gloucester Marine Terminal, which is owned by the Holt family. The Riverside project will be nearly twice as large as any previous rooftop solar installation in New Jersey, which has emerged as a national leader in the development of renewable energy resources. Construction is underway and should be completed by the fall.

When completed, the Riverside project will generate the equivalent of nearly 80 percent of the Terminal's power demand. According to estimates provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the system is expected to offset more than 9,500 tons of carbon dioxide, approximately the same amount that would be offset by planting 400,000 trees or removing 1,700 cars from the road.

"This $42 million, privately funded project is a testament to the strength of New Jersey's solar market," said Lee A. Solomon, President of the N.J. Board of Public Utilities. "It is also consistent with the policy set forth in the recently released 2011 draft Energy Master Plan, which calls for photovoltaic solar arrays on commercial and industrial properties to lower their utility bills, improving competitiveness and reducing demands upon the electric grid."

The Riverside project will rely in part on the availability of federal Investment Tax Credits that supply tax incentives to spur the development of green energy sources systems nationwide; and the continued support of Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) created through the New Jersey Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS), which also enhances the economic viability of the project. Riverside will sell the SRECs and environmental benefits associated with the system.

In addition to the Holt family, the Riverside project is a partnership involving SunPower, a global solar technology company that designs, manufactures and delivers the highest efficiency, highest reliability solar panels and systems available today; Rabobank, a leading global bank and financier of renewable energy projects, which will lead the financing for the venture; and PSE&G, which will play a critical role in the interconnection of the project.

"Riverside Renewable Energy is good for the environment because it generates clean, non-polluting energy from the sun," said Tom Holt Sr., Chairman Emeritus of Holt Logistics Corp. "But it's also good for our business, because we will have the benefit of reliable, affordable electricity to operate the Terminal. It's a win for us and a win for our region, and we're very proud to be a part of this venture."

"Rabobank is pleased to dedicate our resources and expertise to support this important project," said Ron Klein, Managing Director in Rabobank's Renewable Energy and Infrastructure Finance-Americas group. "This is a prime example of putting a previously unused asset, a rooftop, to work by hosting a renewable energy installation and bringing value to its owners."

At the site, Sun Power is installing its T5 Solar Roof Tile system, the solar industry's first non-penetrating rooftop product that combines a high-efficiency solar panel, frame and mounting system into a single, pre-engineered unit.

"At nine megawatts, this is a milestone solar installation made possible with SunPower's high-efficiency panels and T5 Solar Roof Tile System," said Tom Leyden, managing director at SunPower. "By hosting this system, Holt Logistics will reliably maximize its savings on electricity costs at the Terminal over the next 25 years or more."

Locally, the Riverside Renewable Energy project development and finance team was led by Bill Streich, Riverside CFO; J. Ferd Convery, from the Reed Smith law firm in Princeton, N.J.; and Keith Peltzman, President of Independence Solar, LLC in Cherry Hill, N.J. for financial and technical advisory services.

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