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Harnessing the Sun to Power the Canal Road Treatment Plant NJ American Water Company

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To better control the escalating cost of electric power generation at its Canal Road Treatment Plant, New Jersey American Water decided to implement an environmentally friendly solution. The installation of a 500 kWdc solar photovoltaic energy plant allows NJAW to achieve strong financial results, while providing clean, reliable, and cost saving energy to the benefit of our customers and stakeholders.

All of the power generated from this dual array ground-mounted system is utilized on site without exporting to the electrical grid. About 15% of the peak usage of the treatment plant is now supplemented by the system, reducing the amount of electricity that must be purchased from outside energy suppliers. Additionally, energy is produced at times of peak loading on the grid, decreasing stress on the grid, while creating the most valuable energy in a time-of-day rate environment.

In addition to energy savings, the system produces a new yearly revenue stream for the company via the sale of tradable Solar-specific Renewable Energy Credits that electric marketers are mandated to acquire to meet the NJ Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard.

The installation of the system has had a very positive public relations benefit by demonstrating NJAW's commitment to preserving the environment. This project is the largest ground mounted system on the east coast and demonstrates a green energy commitment that is a high priority for NJ and its governor's environmental agenda.

This paper reports on the construction of this energy plant by NJAW and its consultant Dome- Tech Solar from conception to completion. It discusses the challenges of obtaining NJ Clean Energy rebates, obtaining planning board approval and the alterations and changes to the system required during the design and construction process. Most importantly the paper will discuss the economic, environmental and social benefits that any company can derive from the implementation of a similar system.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2006-01-01

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