September 21 , 2011

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he extended forecast for solar power in our area is mostly sunny, but with intermittent showers. There is no doubt we are experiencing a boom in solar generation, led by Vineland Municipal Electric Utility (VMEU) and, if plans are executed, Cumberland County Improvement Authority (CeIA). Businesses are going online with solar at an increased pace and there are now 41 residences and 69 businesses in Vineland alone creating their own energy or approved to do so. At the Game time, experts say, negative economic factors and technological limitations threaten to hold back the solar juggernaut before it realizes its potential. CCIA sent out a request for proposals to solar developers earlier this month for a pooled effort-the building of solar systems at 22 county and municipal government and public school sites, including Cumberland County College. When completed, the installations will generate up to 8.7 megawatts (MW) of power. (An MW is a million watts, enough to power 400 to 900 homes for a year). A bond issue for the $30 million to 40 million project is slated for November, according to Dennis DeMatte, recycling coordinator forCCIA. "This will be one of the biggest Continued on page 30

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Forecast for Solar Power
Solar panels are an ever more frequent sight in the area. { ISY fu'WC~~Y~~AN~l}

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An aerial view of Rossi Monda shows solar panels on roofs used to shade more then 100 vehicle.s. '1I'hepanels also dlGlstic,ally reduce the dealership's electric bill. Photo: Ray Angelini, Inc.

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pooled services in New Jersey," he said. VMEU has several existing solar fields and an additional 10 MW of generation is expected to go online in early October, according to Senior Engineer Gus Foster. If all the fields and contemplated business and residential projects develop, the city could have as much as 49MW of solar generation, a huge amount for a city its size. (New Jersey just reached 380 MWof generation and is second to California nationwide.) '~ lot of stuff is coming in, we're very; very busy," Foster said. CCIA is using a model already used successfully by improvement au thorities in northern New Jersey. "Our goal is to pull all these groups together; to make an attractive pool and get a developer in here to serve our area 50 our agencies get a reduced electric bill," said DeMatte. The developer selected-DeMatte said a number oflarge national firms are being Inrerviewed=wlll design and build the sites, with financing from the Authority. The developer gets all the tax credits and other benefits, which is no loss because public agencies don't pay taxes. The agencies served will pay nothing for construction and will save money because their power purchase agreements (PPA) with the developer will be for amounts lower than market rate. "It's a win-win," said DeMatte. "CCIA can get lower cost financing because of ow' bonding power; so the developer gets a favorable rate and so can offer a better PPA. The towns, school boards and college get cheaper energy. Nothing is guaranteed, but we anticipate significant savings." He estimated the average site will have 25 percent of its energy needs generated by solar. He also noted all the solar panels for the project will be manufactured in the United States. CCIA has experience in helping to build clean energy installations-it sup-

plied the financing for the $60 million VMEU gas turbine currently under construction in the city. There are 24 commercial/industrial sites in Vineland that produce their own solar power, 'kith 45 additional ones expected in the next six months, according to Foster. A leading southern New Jersey general contracting firm, Stanker & Galetto, Inc., is one of them. It not only subcontracts solar power systems for its clients, but has had its own for two years. It cost $700,000, is rated at 85 kilowatts OcW), and supplies 99 percent of the company's power needs. (A kW is 1,000 watts.) The firm has already recouped 89 percent of

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the cost of the construction. "As a company dedicated to green construction, we feel it's important to invest [this way] and to encourage others to do the same," said Peter Galetto, Jr., company president. The Stanker system was built by Ray Angelini, Inc. of Sewell, which also built installations at Dun-Rite Sand and Gravel Co. and Rossi Honda in Vineland, st. Augustine Preparatory School in Richland, and Espoma Co. in Millville. The Dun-Rite site, at 1.6 MW, is the largest commercial array in the county followed closely by Russo Farms/RFC Container Corporation, also of Vineland, rated at 1.5 MW. A locally based solar array builder is Vineland's Laury Services. It is just getting rolling on this aspect of its work, which compliments its heating and cooling business, established in 1945. "I think the future is terrific, especially with energy prices going up the way they are," said owner Ben Laury. He explained his firm is proceeding slowly "to make sure everything is being done the right way, then we'll go all-out."

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He is another proponent of solar for others who has it himself. His home system is several years old and his office system was turned on September 12. The Ellison School of Vineland put up a 100 kW system in May and, like the energy it produces, it was free. Palmieri Solar Solutions, in conjunction with Palmieri Electric of Buena provided the service. "Ray Palmieri is a very generous man, he's been part of the Ellison family for years; three of his grandchildren attend," said Mary Jane Kinkade, the school's director of marketing and development. "He's involved in a lot of civic activities." Included with Ellison's system is a series of educational presentations about the options and benefits of solar power that students will use as they watch a screen of readouts on the energy the panels are producing. "It's another way for us to enhance kids' education," Kinkade said John "Doc" DeLeonardis shows entertainment on his screens, and he now runs

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"TheJei~a:30percent: fed.~ri\l available to:h()D:leowner~ who with a parcelof land.like.this.in the day" insiap solar. llntil!astyear,the:rey.;as also . ,,:.. --_-' ._ a sizablerebate 6ffereQ.QY.NeWJersey timet" .,. The drive-in sYstemis~50kW Cle:mEiie~gy~'but that gdne.-l'here's'no Del.eonardis doesn't liav'Eis91arat ho~e sales taxqnsollir projects andhomes can't "yet," Qutmaysoon,;'!IfY911#aVe '., be-assessed hlgherpropertytaxes for solar eriergylmpro~~I'rl~rtts;: .' . teenagers, tllE~E!cbilprtri~ssayyes, they use Businesses ~getthe_ SM}e ~O p~rGti"ntiii .¥1J#vestillent tax credit {¢..~y~~8any }~~1{ive a g'overnmentch~~kkThi~ benefit .J~s~t to expiiJ'~t:i11~~'~ri(t-bf!!usyear,' .' -however.and may riotbe renewed as it was at the end of 2010. Thls'clo~ds busitax incentives; arid themari{et for Solar Renewable Energy C~edici-'(SRECs)coin, n~ss decisions to' establish solar systems. bineto make solar installation realistic Businesses also getaccelerateddepreciationbenefits. '. , ." . 'arid profitable; at-least fu.rn6w. '. ' .It is the SREC market, though.that -. SRECs arebop.usesS1veIlto solar.pro. threatens solar production the most: ecoducers :WIibcan1#eli,~ellth~tUtoatiJ.ity . companies on the open Utilities nomic~llY.EarIierthls year, an SREC was .need BRECs to meet state standards for . selling for more than $6,00. NOw, if's $lim r~new~ble energy olltPut:A solar: p~oduc~' The price fellsosharply because New Jersey lowe~ed the requirement for .. er earns about ()n~~~c::,:per year for every kw of C:apa~ity.).. ' renewable energy production byutilities, loweriitgth~ir demand fqr BRECs. It also With energy CO!!tsgoirigup, the' savings of generatingone's oWh power'is a stable. fell because there. is now so rriuch'lllor,e' factor in solar development, . solar .generation.creatirig a-bigger supply of the units. ..' ..' "We are nearly fully offsetting the energy needsof ouroffic~:; said Dave There is state legislation. proposed to set a floor on the price of SRECsat about Hanrahan, presidentand CEOaf Capital $250,accord4Igto observers. . BankofViriei~d{whkh installed a 47 kw "[Theinark'et] crashed just about the arrayin Ma.Y!U1d'w~ 'the first-bank iri town to go solar;. day.Lturnedon 'my sys.tein/'said Tom "We were out. front in fln;incingit for Merighi, owner of the Savoy-Inn. It, was quiteadisappointment," TheSavoy sys-. our customers and,~edeciaedifii: was tern.whichcame online.inJuly after- .,. .good enough for. them, it wasgood enough Merighi spen1;'inoreth~ tWo}rearsinten-· for us,"ne siid~"It m~seconoInic§ense; 'we'll save on' our electric bill-as far as the sively researching-It, cost $sOO,oOoan.d has ail output oflOO kw NotablY, Merighl' eye' elm see. Environmentally and socially ,'we think it's th~ rightthirigto do!' . was the onlyp~rson 'we spoke to who listSteve Tramontana.whoput a solar sysed concern for the environment ashls tem on top of it custom-built' pole bam first priority in bullding a solarsystem, he behind his Cornucopia Avenue home said his cuStomers appreciate that

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Installation of a solar energy array on roof of Boscov's at the Cumberland ,M:all was recently completed and will now generate over 900 kWh.

"It's as risky as any other part of my business," he said, Don Ayers, Millville's Economic Development director, said of his city, "With what's happening with SRECs, people are taking a second look. With that and the transmission problem, we're not moving forward on any scale beyond the talking stage." Foster said, "The price of utility credits like SRECs is going down so fast nationally that it's killing [solar]," Any powerabove the immediate needs of the producer must be transmitted into the electrical grid system because all electricity has to be used at the instant it is created, Therein lies a serious technical problem that is inhibiting the growth of solar, CCIA's DeMatte explained that many sites that applied to be in the solar power pool couldn't be accommodated because of transmission difficulties-this was especially true in Bridgeton and western Cumberland County, served by Atlantic City Electric, he said, VMEU imposed size limitation on some proposed sites in Vineland. "We're far from reaching maximum capacity for adding. additional solar systems," said Atlantic City Electric Senior Media Representative Sandra May. "Certain connectivity points have reached current penetration. We are evaluating options to
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absorb the impact of solar where constraints exist in the system." Electrical grids were laid out assuming just a few sources of power and weren't designed for electricity being inserted at points along the transmission lines. It will take a lot of time and money to accommodate this situation, according to VMEU head Joe Isabella and Foster. "Solar is not without its technical problems, systems are designed for central generation," Foster pointed out. "This type of problem has not been manifested before." The showers could make the going wet, but the sun could dry it lip and solar development may continue, perhaps even at its rapid pace. I'=i

Not long after purchasing the Ramada in Vineland, proprietors John and Annette Scipione installed a solar array at the properly, They are pictured below in March of 2010 as they addressed the media during a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new solar power system,

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