At TCNJ, a way to save money — and produce clean energy

5 rooftop solar arrays will generate 2,500 MWh of clean energy while saving school $400K annually

Here’s what you need to know about the ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday morning at The College of New Jersey to celebrate the five solar arrays located in parking lots and building roofs across campus:

  • The project had no upfront costs to TCNJ;
  • The project is projected to generate 2,500 megawatt-hours of clean energy — offsetting more than 1,800 metric tons of carbon dioxide;
  • The project is projected to save the campus more than $400,000 annually in energy costs.

It’s a win-win-win if there ever was one — at least, that’s the take of Paul Romano, senior director, sustainability and energy management, at TCNJ.

About The College of New Jersey

Founded in 1855 as the New Jersey State Normal School, The College of New Jersey delivers an exceptionally high-quality education, in a collaborative and supportive environment. The college has the sixth-highest four-year graduation rate among all public colleges and universities. It is ranked by Money as one of the Top 15 public colleges “most likely to pay off financially,” and U.S. News & World Report rates it the No. 1 public institution among regional universities in the Northeast. The college is situated on 289 tree-lined acres in suburban Ewing Township, in close proximity to both New York City and Philadelphia. A strong liberal arts core forms the foundation for a wealth of degree programs offered through the college’s seven schools: Arts and Communication; Business; Education; Engineering; Humanities and Social Sciences; Nursing and Health Sciences; and Science.

“This is an important milestone in the college’s progress toward carbon neutrality and, when combined with our other efforts to reduce demand through energy conservation, will assure both the sustainability and resiliency of the college for the world our students will advance,” he said.

Here are more of the details.

Greenskies Clean Focus, a national leader in renewable energy solutions, funded the projects for TCNJ, which will purchase the power generated by the arrays from Greenskies at a low, fixed rate for the next 15 years. Greenskies also will provide ongoing management and maintenance.

In total, nearly 5,000 solar photovoltaic panels were installed on the rooftops at:

  • Brower Student Center (341 kilowatts);
  • Packer Hall (137.8 kW);
  • Armstrong Hall (338.3 kW);
  • Decker Hall (142.9 kW);
  • Canopy carports in parking lots 4 and 5 (1,115.6 kW).

Annually, these solar arrays are projected to generate more than 2,500 MWh of clean energy, offsetting more than 1,800 metric tons of carbon dioxide. Over the next 15 years, that’s the equivalent of taking about 6,000 gas-powered cars off the road or preserving 32,300 acres of forest.

All the energy that is acquired from the new solar arrays will be used to power the campus and reduce the energy costs for the college.

About Greenskies Clean Focus

Greenskies Clean Focus offers a full suite of decarbonization solutions, including onsite and offsite solar, battery storage, microgrids and combined cooling, heat and power. Its vertical integration delivers the most cost-competitive solutions for commercial, public sector and utility energy users throughout the U.S. From beginning to end, our customers work with a single delivery team. Greenskies originates, develops, constructs and operates, while Clean Focus finances and owns the systems. Since our founding in 2009, we have developed and constructed 310 megawatts of renewable energy facilities across 578 sites in 19 states. Solar Power World ranks Greenskies Clean Focus as the No. 1 commercial solar developer in the Northeast and Top 3 in the U.S., based on cumulative kilowatts installed.

TCNJ partnered with Greenskies through a carefully vetted process and short list of potential vendors developed by the New Jersey Department of Treasury as potential entities capable of handling this critical work.

State Treasurer Elizabeth Maher Muoio said the connection between higher education and energy conservation is huge.

“I want to thank the professionals at Treasury’s Division of Property Management and Construction and the Division of Purchase and Property for their hard work and foresight in developing a state contract that allows institutions such as TCNJ to lower their energy costs while reducing their reliance on fossil fuels,” she said.

“Our institutions of higher education play a critical role in achieving the (Gov. Phil) Murphy administration’s goal of making New Jersey 100% powered by clean energy by 2035, and we congratulate TCNJ for their leadership in taking this critically important step today.”

Greenskies CEO Stanley Chin said his company is eager to work with the higher ed sector.

“Higher education has an important role in accelerating our nation’s transition to clean, renewable energy — from leading by example with on-site solar generation to educating the next generation of sustainability innovators,” he said. “Greenskies is proud to support The College of New Jersey’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by installing solar, leaving a positive impact on current and future generations of students.”