Part of the Meadowlands Commission's mission is to boost both the economy and the environment by pushing for renewable energy. To that end, the commission announced three initiatives yesterday at its monthly meeting.
Here is the short version of the press release announcing the plans:
The New Jersey Meadowlands Commission [Wednesday] announced a series of solar energy initiatives to help boost renewable energy production and spur economic growth and green job creation in the Meadowlands region.
The projects include:
* Expanding the Commission’s pilot Municipal Solar Assistance program to all Meadowlands District municipalities and school districts.
* Constructing a solar-powered parking canopy at the Commission’s headquarters.
* Launching a joint initiative with PSE&G to create a multi-megawatt solar installation on a closed landfill and provide District municipalities with funding for renewable energy and energy conservation projects.
In 2008 the NJMC created a pilot Municipal Solar Assistance Program to help District municipalities and school districts develop renewable energy resources.
The program has proved popular and the Commission has performed assessments for several towns and schools to determine whether certain roofs are suitable for solar panels.
By expanding this free service to all 14 towns and school districts in the Meadowlands District, the NJMC can help additional public bodies with the costly processes involved in developing solar projects.
The Commission also aims to increase renewable energy production on its campus by constructing a solar canopy over its main parking lot in DeKorte Park in Lyndhurst.
The Commission will negotiate a contract with SunDurance Energy to build the canopy, which will supply approximately 20 percent of the electricity used at the NJMC’s administration building, reducing the Commission’s energy costs and its carbon footprint.
In keeping with the NJMC’s goal to make productive use of its closed landfills, the Commission will enter into a joint initiative with PSE&G in which the power utility would build a grid-connected solar farm on NJMC-owned former landfill space. PSE&G would build, own and operate the facility and make lease payments to the NJMC.
The company’s initial plans call for a solar installation that can generate up to 20 megawatts of low-cost, clean energy.
In the past year alone the Commission received a half-dozen development applications that included solar elements. The Commission also constructed a classroom building in DeKorte Park that features solar panels and other sustainable features.
The building, which serves as a teaching tool and as an example to developers, was the first public facility in the state to be awarded a LEED Platinum rating – the highest available – from the U.S. Green Building Council.