Greenskies Clean Focus completes solar project for New Jersey community college

Solar Power World | Kelsey Misbrener
August 9, 2022

Greenskies Clean Focus recently energized a new 313.6-kW ground-mounted solar installation for Raritan Valley Community College (RVCC) of North Branch, New Jersey. Greenskies partnered with Vanguard Energy Partners, a national solar construction firm, to construct a solar array on land adjacent to the RVCC Workforce Training Center (WTC).

RVCC signed a PPA with Greenskies to purchase the power generated by the array at a low, fixed rate for the next fifteen years. As a result, the two-story, 44,000 sq. ft WTC is now fully powered by 725 bifacial modules, producing up to 386 MWh per year of clean, renewable energy. In addition to powering the WTC, the system is configured for remote net metering, allowing it to power other buildings on the RVCC campus.

“This project received the first remote net metering approval in New Jersey. The college wanted to install a solar array to provide its students with practical hands-on learning experience. However, the installation site was at a new facility with low electricity usage,” said Pete Osowski, VP of technical business development. “A big thank you goes out to Shannon Donnelly, our director of regulatory affairs, for navigating the application. Thanks to her knowledge of remote net metering and her attention to the complexities of the application process, RVCC was approved to remotely net meter the solar array to another building on its campus. In addition to helping offset the RVCC electricity bill, this array also helps with local workforce development by educating the next generation in renewable energy.”

The RVCC campus now houses three solar arrays, in addition to other eco-conscious efforts like publicly available electric car charging stations, two green roofs and a green wall, numerous pollinator gardens, a rain garden, three rainwater harvesting systems and four LEED Certified buildings. The college also produces a significant part of its electrical needs via a gas-powered 1.4-MW combined heat and power plant.

The RVCC Workforce Training Center is the latest building on campus to achieve LEED Certification. As a renewable energy source, this solar array helped the RVCC WTC achieve a perfect score in the Energy and Atmosphere category for green power. The College is nationally recognized, year after year, for its sustainability initiatives.

“RVCC is committed to preserving the environment through ongoing sustainability programs,” said John Trojan, VP of finance and facilities. “There was no capital outlay or operating expenses for the College. Vanguard built, Greenskies will operate and maintain the array, and RVCC will pay for the electricity at a contractually-defined, predictable rate.”