DeCotiis News


HOPATCONG BOROUGH – An Evaluation Report has been issued recommending the selection of a solar developer to the Hopatcong Borough Board of Education, to construct solar arrays on properties and two rooftops owned by the Hopatcong School District. Construction is expected to begin early next year and be completed by the fall of 2011.

The team of SP-One, LLC of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Sun Edison of Pennsauken, New Jersey, leaders in the design and installation of large-scale solar-electric systems, have been recommended to the School Board. These firms will design, permit, finance, construct, install, own and operate 1.525 megawatts of energy-producing solar power systems at six (6) sites serving the Board of Education Offices, Durban Avenue School, the High School, the Middle School, Tulsa Trail School, and the Maintenance Facility. The solar-power will offset approximately 86% of the electricity used at these six facilities.

Carbon Footprint: The project will avoid an estimated 3,103,202 pounds of carbon emissions annually. This is equivalent to taking 269 passenger vehicles off the road and preserving 300 acres of pine or fir forest every year. The clean and silent solar photovoltaic systems are estimated to generate long term cost containments for the Hopatcong BOE.

 “This project will include much needed roof related capital improvements to the Durban Avenue School and the Middle School, at no cost to the Board. It will significantly decrease carbon emissions and greatly contribute toward achieving our long-term sustainability goals,” said Superintendent Dr. Charles Maranzano, Jr. “In addition, with this project, we demonstrate to our students, faculty and the community that the Board of Education is doing all that it can to cut costs and prudently utilize its available funds.”

Neil Piro, Facilities Supervisor for the Hopatcong Borough School District has been the driving force in the District’s efforts to secure a solar energy initiative. The consultants involved in evaluating the proposals and preparing the comprehensive Evaluation Report included Ryan Scerbo, Esq. a Partner at the Teaneck based law firm of DeCotiis, FitzPatrick, Cole & Giblin, LLP, and Joseph Santaiti of the energy consulting firm, Gabel Associates of Highland Park.

Under the terms of the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) that will be entered into between the Board of Education and the SP-One/Sun Edison Team, there will be no capital outlay by the Hopatcong BOE. SP-One/Sun Edison will build, own, operate and maintain the solar systems for 15 years, selling the renewable electricity to the Hopatcong BOE at an agreed upon predictable, discounted rate. In addition, the projects will include an educational component that will track solar performance through a real-time, web-based monitoring system provided by Sun Edison Energy and Environmental Data System (SEEDS).

"To put things in perspective, these combined systems will be generating enough clean, renewable energy to power the equivalent of 120 homes annually," according to Maranzano. "That's 1,428,000 pounds of coal per year (714 tons) that does not have to be mined, hauled and burned to meet electric needs. Considering how much money will also be saved in electric energy costs, you begin to see why this initiative is a 'win-win' for the community."

 Business Administrator Theresa Sierchio was a member of the solar selection committee and a key promoter of solar energy for the School District. The Board of Education considered the Evaluation Report and approved the recommendations contained in the Report at its meeting on December 6, 2010.

The Hopatcong BOE expects to recoup all costs, including those associated with hiring the legal and technical consultants who have developed the program, thereby making the entire project taxpayer-neutral. The average annual cost savings on the electricity generated by the solar projects is estimated to range between 50 and 60 percent over the 15 year term of the deal. The 1.525-megawatt size will generate about 2 million KWh per year making this one of the largest public school solar initiatives in New Jersey

Contact: Dr. Charles Maranzano, Jr., Superintendent of Schools
973-668-9448 cell 973-398-8801 office

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