Greenskies builds 7-project solar portfolio on New Jersey school district

Solar Power World | Billy Ludt
May 9, 2024

Piscataway Township Schools partnered with Greenskies Clean Focus, a renewable energy solutions provider, to install a 1.67-MW rooftop solar portfolio in New Jersey. Greenskies installed over 3,700 solar photovoltaic (PV) panels at seven schools and the District Administration Building.

The seven arrays installed in this portfolio are:

  • Eisenhower Elementary School (243 kW)
  • Grandview Elementary School (266.4 kW)
  • Knollwood Elementary School (189.9 kW)
  • Arbor Intermediate School (54 kW)
  • M. L. King Intermediate School (271.35 kW)
  • T. Schor Middle School (270 kW)
  • Piscataway High School (221.4 kW)
  • Administration Building (151.2 kW)

Greenskies funded the projects at no upfront cost to Piscataway Township Schools through a 15-year solar power purchase agreement (PPA). This agreement lets the district purchase the electricity generated at a fixed-rate and outsource operation and maintenance costs to Greenskies for the term.

“Greenskies is proud to partner with Piscataway Township Schools in their commitment to renewable energy and sustainability,” said Stanley Chin, president and CEO of Greenskies. “The installation of this solar portfolio marks a significant step towards their goals, and we’re thrilled to play a part in reducing their carbon footprint. This initiative exemplifies the positive impact that organizations can have on the environment and their communities through clean energy solutions.”

Solar energy has been a key element of Piscataway Township Schools’ “Energy Savings Improvement Plan” (ESIP). In addition to solar panels, Piscataway Schools have installed more efficient heating and cooling systems, LED lighting, motion-detector light switches and better-insulated windows and doors as part of the ESIP. The district projects that the improvements will generate $18 million in savings over 18 years, which it will use to pay for the upgrades.

“It’s been 15 years since we started putting solar panels on our schools; we really were out in front with that initiative,” said David Oliveira, business administrator and board secretary for Piscataway Township Schools. “We’ve done a number of solar panel additions over the years, and Greenskies has become a key partner in that effort. I’d also like to thank our board of education for their commitment to using less energy and decreasing our carbon footprint.”

The federal Energy Star program has recognized Piscataway Township Schools for two consecutive years for its energy efficiency upgrades. In 2022, four Piscataway Schools were designated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as Energy Star Certified Buildings. Then, in 2023, all 10 district-owned school buildings were certified by the Energy Star program — more than any other school district in New Jersey.

On average, Energy Star-certified buildings and plants use 35% less energy, cause 35% less greenhouse gas emissions and are less expensive to operate than their peers.

“This is an incredible achievement for our District,” said Superintendent Frank Ranelli. “It is also a tribute to the years of hard work that our board of education and administration have put into making our buildings more energy efficient, as well as the continuous contributions of all our staff members in making energy savings a priority. We’re committed to doing our part to protect the environment and public health while saving on utility costs.”