SunPower and Holt partner for largest rooftop solar array

SunPower and Holt partner for largest rooftop solar arraySunPower Corp. is partnering with Gloucester Marine Terminal parent Holt Logistics Group to build a $42 million, 9-megawatt photovoltaic rooftop on its New Jersey warehouse along the Delaware River.

The project, called the Riverside Renewable Energy, LLC, will cover 1.1 million square feet of rooftop on its refrigerated warehouse rooftop and will provide roughly 80 percent of the terminal’s power needs when the array is completed later this year.

“The Riverside project will be nearly twice as large as any previous rooftop solar installation in New Jersey, which has emerged as a national leader in the development of renewable energy resources,” a press release said.

“This is the largest in North America behind-the-meter system for a single customer to serve their needs,” said Dan Leary, SunPower senior product development manger. “All the solar generated from the 9-megawatt solar project will go into offset their energy needs.”

When the company does produce more electricity than it uses, it will net meter and sell the additional electricity back on New Jersey’s grid, he said.

The project is expected to reduce the terminal’s energy costs, Leary said. The company will take advantage of federal Investment Tax Credits incentives and will sell the Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) generated by the system to help reduce the cost of the installation.

The SRECs are a useful tool to incentivize solar development, Leary said.

“It’s a creative, effective market-based incentive,” he said. “It allows the market to react to the conditions of the solar industry. The market will move and scale itself to meet the solar goals [of the state].”

Holt and SunPower held a ceremonial project launching last week.

“We had at the time 4,000 panels on the roof already installed. The installation is moving quickly forward,” Leary said.

They’re using SunPower’s T5 Solar Roof Tiles for the installation. It’s racking-integrated unit that doesn’t require roof penetrations designed for basically snap and lock interconnection, according to Leary.

There could be more large-scale projects in New Jersey or even in some other parts of the East Coast.

“New Jersey has been the largest market on the East Coast and second largest in the U.S.,” Leary said. But other states are adding incentive programs as well, expanding the East Coast market.

“I think here in New Jersey the market mechanisms are set up, and there are large industrial users that have their facilities here,” he said. “With the right mindset and the right partners in the deal, they could utilize their otherwise underutilized rooftops to supply their energy needs.”

Image courtesy of SunPower.