On Monday, November 21st, Board of Education members, administrators, and students gathered for a ceremonial ribbon cutting to celebrate the completion and now operational solar panel project at both of the district’s high schools. Superintendent of Schools Jeff Bender invited students from the Environmental Sustainability and Engineering vocational academy and the high schools’ environmental clubs to do the honors of cutting the ribbon. Prior to the ribbon cutting, representatives from Honeywell, Advanced Solar Products Inc. and NJR Clean Energy Ventures shared an overview of the project and the district’s Energy Savings Improvement Plan (ESIP).
“Public schools have really led the way with the adoption of renewable energy and being a part of this revolution of how we use energy. Over 900 schools in New Jersey put solar on their buildings in the last year, which is fantastic, and we were happy to be a part of this project for North Hunterdon-Voorhees,” said Mr. Lyle Rawlings, President & CEO of Advanced Solar Products Inc.
“The solar arrays atop North Hunterdon and Voorhees High Schools reflect NJR’s continued commitment to sustainable investing, delivering clean energy to the customers we serve while advancing New Jersey’s clean energy goals,” said Robert Pohlman, Vice President of NJR Clean Energy Ventures.
During the summer of 2022, solar panels were added to the roofs of both high schools as part of the district’s ESIP with Honeywell. Advanced Solar Products Inc. was contracted to build a roof mounted photovoltaic (PV) system at both high schools, which included a total of 3,456 450-Watt panels. North Hunterdon’s PV system totals 900 kW DC while the Voorhees system totals 655.2 kW DC. Both schools’ solar panel systems were granted approval to operate by Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L). Combined together, the solar systems will offset approximately 1.9 million kWh of electrical usage annually district-wide. This savings, combined with savings from other ESIP projects, will result in an estimated $5.4 million cost savings for the district.
“We are very excited to see this project come to fruition,” said Caroline Jackson, Senior Account Representative, Honeywell. “At Honeywell, improving the energy efficiency of buildings is core to our business, so we are proud to support the school district in these efforts and look forward to continuing to help them achieve their sustainability and resiliency goals.”
ESIPs are supported by state legislation that allows public entities to implement ESIPs that can be self-funded over 15-20 years, in accordance with the legislation. The ESIP includes an audit of school buildings to evaluate potential savings from energy-related upgrades. The audit is then verified by an independent engineering firm and the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities.
In addition to solar panels, the North Hunterdon-Voorhees district’s ESIP included upgrading to LED lights inside and outside of the schools, installing destratification fans with UV light in select areas with high ceilings, upgrading Building Management System software, replacing old pneumatic controls with new automatic temperature controls, a ceiling upgrade in the North Hunterdon High School Cafeterias, and installing new ventilation system in the North Hunterdon High School Cafeterias.
The school district will purchase the clean, renewable energy produced by the PV systems at a substantial discount through a long-term power purchase agreement with New Jersey Resources, the financer and long-term owner of the photovoltaic systems.
An overview of the solar panel project along with real-time graphs showing the solar energy converted can be found on the district’s website: https://www.nhvweb.net/index.php/nhv-solar-project-impact/.
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