Morristown, NJ – June 23, 2010 – Today, the Morris County Improvement Authority (MCIA) of New Jersey along with solar energy provider Tioga Energy and installation contractor SunDurance Energy, will celebrate the start of construction on a 1.57 megawatt (MW) solar project at the William G. Mennen Sports Arena. The kickoff event heralds the initiation of the County’s 3.2 MW renewable energy program pilot, which encompasses 19 local facilities and is being financed through a landmark public-private solar development model, referred to as the “Morris Model.” Construction is starting just six months after the County announced their plans in January 2010.
“The sun is shining on Morris County, New Jersey, and we have an ingenious model of solar financing to thank for capturing that energy,” said Morris County Freeholder William Chegwidden, liaison to the Improvement Authority. “This ambitious project demonstrates a true feat of collaboration and innovation between the public and private sector. Tioga and SunDurance brought to the table unparalleled expertise in piecing together the finance and operations of solar development. County officials and stakeholders secured responsible financing and demonstrated unwavering commitment.”
“New Jersey can be a leader in energy as an industry if we continue to harness our innovation, resources and workforce,” said New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. “Powered by smart businesses and communities, as exemplified today in Morris County, and strategic financial incentives, this new marketplace is opening up jobs and revenue for the state at a rapid pace.”
Today’s event will ceremonially unveil the first of the 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. The Mennen Sports Arena solar system—which comprises installations on all three ice rink rooftops plus elevated solar structures covering more than 500 parking spaces—will produce 30 percent of the facility’s electricity.
“The entire Morris County community should take pride in today’s kick-off event,” said Paul Detering, CEO Tioga Energy. “The Morris Model has grabbed the attention of county officials from across the state and the nation; they’re taking note of how to replicate this blueprint of affordable solar electricity.”
David Helmer, Executive Director of Morris County Parks Commission comments, “This committed and savvy team has laid the groundwork for a new path to solar—one that generates significant cost and carbon savings and even utilizes the sun to make ice. We’ll see the impact in Morris County and beyond.”
“In addition to its positive environmental impact, the project is bringing employment to the area and, by reducing the price of energy at Morris County schools, helping to strengthen school finances and reduce the local tax base,” said Al Bucknam, CEO of SunDurance Energy, the company that is engineering and installing the systems. “As a New Jersey company, SunDurance is especially proud to be a part of this tremendous undertaking.”
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 (PPA) with Tioga, Morris County will purchase the electricity generated by the systems at a price that is approximately 35 percent less than that charged by the utility. During that 15-year period, the combined solar energy systems will generate 51,500 megawatt-hours (MWh) of clean energy, which creates carbon offsets equivalent to taking more than 200 passenger vehicles off the road each year.
About Tioga Energy:
Tioga Energy enables commercial, government and non-profit organizations to reduce their energy costs while lowering carbon emissions. Through the SurePath SM solar power purchase agreement (PPA), Tioga Energy owns and operates renewable energy systems that provide organizations a hedge against energy price volatility and accelerate their access to clean energy without any capital outlay. For more information call 877.333.9787 or Contact Us.
About SunDurance Energy
SunDurance Energy, LLC develops, designs, builds and operates megawatt-scale solar power solutions for forward-thinking corporations, utilities and government entities. SunDurance Energy offers full in-house design and project execution capability, deep experience, high bonding capacity, and rigorous value engineering processes. SunDurance Energy is an affiliate of The Conti Group, a century-old, nationwide leader in civil and industrial infrastructure, conventional and renewable power, homeland security and environmental remediation. For more information, please visit the website at www.SunDuranceEnergy.com.