Solar Panels to Light Up Municipal Building
Installation is under way at the Chews Landing Road facility.
It should only be a few more weeks before the municipal building is getting its energy directly from that bright yellow ball in the sky.
The installation of solar panels on the roof of the Chews Landing Road municipal building recently got under way.
"I think we're definitely at the forefront on this. It's always great to be the leader," Councilwoman Michelle Gentek said.
Not only are solar panels a part of the so-called "green" movement, government officials point to the savings the solar energy will bring the township.
"It's part of our continuing effort to reduce costs in municipal government," Mayor David Mayer said.
One estimate shows the township will save $4,900 per year by going to solar energy at the municipal building.
But that's not where the real financial benefit comes in to play for the township and its residents.
"The exciting part is this is going to generate money," Gentek said.
The township can sell energy credits, known as Solar Renewable Energy Credits, as a result of installing solar panels on the municipal building's roof.
At the current rate of $630 per credit, the township stands to make $25,800 per year, according to Township Engineer John Cantwell, of Remington & Vernick.
The total cost of the solar-panel project is about $238,000. A federal grant for $211,000, part of the economic stimulus package money that made its way to New Jersey, will cover the majority of the project's cost.
Mayer noted officials are not stopping at solar panels when it comes to their effort to maximize energy use and cut energy costs.
An audit of six township-owned buildings, including the municipal building, generated more efficient ways to use lighting and windows.
Also, the township has installed energy-efficent, longer-lasting LED bulbs in traffic lights and is in the process of developing an energy master plan—similar to the tool communities use to guide future development—as part of the Sustainable Jersey program.