Greenskies energizes 3 MW of solar for N.J. public school district
Solar Builder Magainze | Staff
July 19, 2023
Greenskies Clean Focus has completed 10 solar systems totaling 3 MW for the Township of Union Public Schools in New Jersey. The energy generated by these projects is expected to offset 74% of the schools system’s annual electrical use, resulting in more than $370,000 in annual energy cost savings.
“Greenskies is excited to support the Union Township Public Schools with their efforts to improve environmental impact and reduce operating costs,” said Stanley Chin, president and CEO of Greenskies. “School systems are increasingly using savings from solar energy to fund everything from facility upgrades to supplementing budget cuts. All without any upfront costs.”
Greenskies partnered with Pfister Energy, a top commercial solar developer and engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contractor based in Hawthorne, New Jersey. Pfister installed rooftop solar at all 10 Union Township schools and solar canopies at Union High School (over the north parking lot) and Hannah Caldwell Elementary School (two canopies over the existing parking lot).
- Union High School (1,224.45 kW)
- Burnet Middle School (394.20 kW)
- Kawameeh Middle School (228.60 kW)
- Jefferson Elementary School / Central Five (146.70 kW)
- Battle Hill Elementary School (169.20 kW)
- Connecticut Farms Elementary School (179.10 kW)
- Franklin Elementary School (85.05 kW)
- Hannah Caldwell Elementary School (455.40 kW)
- Livingston Elementary School (89.10 kW)
- Washington Elementary School (62.10 kW)
“Pfister Energy is excited to have been involved in the deployment of solar energy solutions for the schools in the Township of Union,” said Wayne Pfisterer, president of Pfister. “Projects like these, where we can help townships and school districts move forward in their efforts to save money on energy and improve their environmental impact, are some of the most rewarding projects we take on.”
The more than 6,700 solar modules at Union schools will produce 3.5 million kW of electricity annually, replacing about 74% of the schools’ annual electrical use with clean, renewable energy. According to Schneider Electric, the district’s energy services company, these solar projects will result in more than $5.6 million in savings over the life of the systems.
“By taking a holistic perspective on facilities, the district was able to install solar at all 10 schools in Union,” said Dan Riggle, program manager for Schneider Electric. “Through the Energy Savings Improvement Program, the District was able to use the savings from solar and other projects to fund over $14 million in school facility improvements.”
These projects are part of a larger, budget-neutral Energy Savings Improvement Plan (ESIP) for the Union Township Public Schools regulated and approved by the NJ Board of Public Utilities. In addition, the energy savings from solar helped fund other significant capital improvements for the district, from new roofs to boilers and energy-efficient lighting. The ESIP also provided new heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems at several schools and new building management systems.
“This is a ‘green’ project for our District,” said Marissa McKenzie, Board of Education president. “It proves that being environmentally conscious and fiscally responsible are attainable goals. In this case, we were able to make significant progress towards both of these goals simultaneously.”
Dr. Scott Taylor, Superintendent, added, “There was no upfront cost to the district, and the energy savings helped pay for other critical upgrades, including over $4 million in needed roof replacements and repairs, all at zero cost to taxpayers.”
Solar consultant Talva Energy helped the district coordinate new roofs, rooftop HVAC equipment, and solar installations in a short window of time in order to successfully receive the state’s transition renewable energy certificate, or TREC, to help fund the projects. In addition to the solar incentives, Schneider Electric assisted the district in securing over $1 million in NJ Clean Energy Program incentives for other energy efficiency improvements like LED lighting and HVAC upgrades.