This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

November 02, 2005

Two 500-Kilowatt Solar Power Systems Installed in New Jersey

New Jersey appears to be the newest hot spot for large-scale solar power installations, as two companies recently installed 500-kilowatt solar power systems in the state. Dome-Tech Solar designed and built the first system for New Jersey American Water (NJAW) using RWE Schott solar panels. Located at the utility's Canal Road water treatment plant in Somerset, the system should displace 15 percent of the plant's peak power demand, saving about $125,000 a year in energy costs. The second project, installed at a Johnson & Johnson facility in Skillman, is slightly larger, at 505 kilowatts. The PowerLight system uses sun tracking to capture 20 percent more solar energy than would a fixed array of solar panels. See the Dome-Tech Web site and the press releases from NJAW and PowerLight.

Solar power is taking off in New Jersey because of generous state incentives. Each of the two new solar power projects earned a $1.9 million rebate through the state's Clean Energy program, which is administered by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU). With the help of the incentives, New Jersey recently recorded its 750th solar project since 2001, and the number of companies engaging in solar initiatives has grown from just a handful in 1993 to more than 100 today. With a significant number of applications pending, the state plans to approve rebates for hundreds more solar power systems in the coming months. The NJBPU has also launched a green power program, which started on October 1st for the state's largest utilities—Public Service Electric and Gas Company and Jersey Central Power and Light—and will expand to Atlantic City Electric and Rockland Electric Company in April 2006. See the NJBPU press releases about the NJAW system, the Johnson & Johnson system, and the new green power program.