The Morris County Improvement Authority (MCIA) of New Jersey, solar energy provider Tioga Energy and installation contractor SunDurance Energy have started construction on a 1.57 MW solar project at the William G. Mennen Sports Arena. The project, which comprises installations on all three ice-rink rooftops, plus elevated solar structures covering more than 500 parking spaces, will produce 30% of the facility's electricity.
This project represents the initiation of the county's 3.2 MW renewable energy program pilot, which encompasses 19 local facilities and is being financed through a public-private solar development model, referred to as the Morris Model.
The Morris Model refers to the hybrid solar financing deployed, whereby the MCIA issued state-approved government bonds to finance renewable energy projects, and the project developer, Tioga Energy, qualifies for the federal tax incentives that would normally not be available to public entities.
Tioga passes along the savings to the county with clean electricity at a lower rate: Under the terms of the 15-year power purchase agreement with Tioga, Morris County will purchase the electricity generated by the systems at a price that is approximately 35% less than that charged by the utility.
The county's overall project calls for 14,000 solar panels to be installed at 19 schools and county government buildings throughout the county. When completed, the total project will result in an energy savings of more than $3.8 million, according to Tioga and SunDurance.