Windsor, N.J. - An innovative solar project of the Mercer
County Improvement Authority (MCIA) to be installed on the
West Windsor Campus of Mercer County Community College (MCCC)
will foster academic opportunities for students interested
in pursuing careers in solar/energy technology, engineering,
sustainability, and other programs.
output of the 8-megawatt solar project will provide real-time
data that will enable students to conduct cross-disciplinary
studies of the benefits of alternative energy and sustainability.
are excited about the multiple ways in which this solar project
will foster academic opportunities for MCCC students,"
said Dr. Guy Generals, vice president for academic affairs.
"Such learning opportunities will break new ground in
community college education, preparing students for a world
that is moving further away from expensive, dirty fossil fuels
and closer to clean, renewable sources of energy."
the system will benefit students by allowing the college to
rechannel savings on energy costs, among the college's highest
operating expenses, back into college programs and services
that were cut because of budget constraints.
solar array will offset approximately 70 percent of the college's
West Windsor Campus annual electricity usage, saving about
$750,000 annually on electricity costs. The project will be
built on 45 acres within a 67-acre parcel of currently undeveloped
land owned by the college on the east side of the campus.
of the project has been structured as a lease-purchase agreement.
The title owner is the MCIA; the MCIA and MCCC have entered
into a 15-year lease with SunLight General Mercer Solar, which
will offer energy from the project to MCCC at a discounted
rate of 3 cents per kilowatt-hour, compared to the 14 cents
per kilowatt-hour the college currently pays to its local
utility. The lease transfers all burdens and benefits of ownership
to SunLight General Mercer Solar, including the right to sell
energy to the College.
The educational benefits offered by the project are especially
important in New Jersey, which is the second largest solar
market in the nation after California and one of the 10 largest
in the world, according to the N.J. Board of Public Utilities.
New Jersey's thriving solar industry is one of the brightest
sectors in the New Jersey economy, having created more than
3,500 new "green collar" jobs. (N.J. Board of Public
of our mission is to meet the needs of business and industry
by training our students for careers that are in demand,"
said Dr. Generals. "The solar industry is creating jobs
for engineers, electricians, installers, computer scientists
and landscape designers. The MCCC solar project will help
meet this demand by providing hands-on training for students
enrolled in our sustainability-related degree programs."
which has been carefully planned for more than a year, also
brings significant environmental benefits. Each year, the
project will offset the emission of 7,500 tons of carbon dioxide,
a major source of greenhouse gas. In addition, it will offset
the emission of 20 tons of sulfur dioxide and 8.5 tons of
nitrogen oxides, which cause smog and acid rain and trigger
asthma and other respiratory ailments.
information on the MCIA/MCCC solar project, including a fact
sheet, is available on the MCIA website here.