DeCotiis News

Aberdeen Township, New Jersey announced that DeCotiis, FitzPatrick & Cole, LLP will help prepare a request for proposal and power purchase agreement (PPA) to allow solar developers to design, construct, operate and maintain a 557,000-KWh solar installation on municipal property. The project, which will be completed without any municipal expenditure, will generate significant cost savings for the municipality by supplying 70% of the electricity demand at the five municipal sites including the municipal complex and police office.

 To read more about DeCotiis’ Green Practice and the project in Aberdeeen, please see the press release below.

Project at five municipal sites will be completed at no cost to taxpayers

ABERDEEN TOWNSHIP, N.J. (5/9/11) –Aberdeen Township officials announced that they will be seeking proposals from solar developers for the design, construction, operation and maintenance of a  557,000-KWh solar installation on five township-owned sites.  The Township intends to have the solar installation fully operational by year's end. 

The project, which will be completed without any expenditure of municipal funds, is expected to generate considerable annual savings for Township taxpayers by supplying 70% of the electricity demand at the five sites.

"The request for proposals (RFP) will seek plans that will include a combination of ground, roof and canopy-mounted panels," said Mayor Fred Tagliarini. "We began looking for ways to save taxes, and solar seems to provide a great opportunity. Probably the most important thing we can emphasize about this project, besides the obvious sustainability factor, is that there will be no cost to our taxpayers."

The project will essentially be self-sustaining, township officials say. "The Power Purchase Agreement [PPA] with the eventual solar provider, which will be determined after a bidding process, will pay all of our professional fees, infrastructure fees, installation and maintenance costs, and the cost of the equipment itself," said Councilman Greg Cannon.

The five installation sites, as outlined by township engineers CME Associates, include the Aberdeen Municipal Complex, which houses the township offices and Aberdeen Police Department. At the Church Street site, a proposed combination of rooftop, vertical mansard surfaces, main entrance canopy, and a raised solar array atop portions of the parking lot that aren't shaded are expected to provide nearly half of the facility's electric demand.

Three of the other sites are pumping stations, where under-utilized open spaces will contain ground-mounted solar panels. At the Riverdale Drive Pump Station, the panels are expected to provide more than 90% of the site's electric demand, with even stronger results expected at the Noble Place Pump Station (95% of demand) and the Greenwood Avenue Pump Station (100%).

"There is sufficient-sized property around Aberdeen's pumping stations to accommodate these installations," said David Samuel, president of CME. "Consequently, the ground-mounted panels that will be utilized at these sites are unique from installations we’ve seen at pumping stations in various other communities.”

The final location outlined in CME’s proposal is the Public Works Complex on Lenox Road, where a combination of rooftop and canopy panels, the latter installed over recycling areas, is expected to satisfy 100% of the site's electrical usage.

"Overall, it is expected that the five installations will satisfy a combined 70% of demand at these locations," said Samuel. "Depending upon how creative the PPA provider is and how they work with us, that number could go higher."

At present, the RFP is expected to be ready by the end of May, according to Tagliarini. The law firm of DeCotiis, FitzPatrick & Cole will be preparing the RFP and the PPA documents for the Township.  According to Ryan J. Scerbo, a Partner at the DeCotiis firm, "New Jersey has very strict laws and regulations governing how public entities can procure and enter into these contracts. Public procurement is heavily regulated generally and the Department of Community Affairs has issued very clear guidance on competitive contracting."

"There is a very strict process to follow with no negotiation allowed, so the RFP will be set up in such a way to insure that we get the result desired by the Township." added Judy Verrone, also a Partner at DeCotiis.

In terms of liability issues, "even though the system isn't owned by the municipality, the panels will be sitting on municipal property. Accordingly, we will require that respondents to the RFPs include a full complement of insurance in their proposals," Verrone noted.

As for timing of the project, the Township Council has already approved the concept of the solar installation, but still must approve the PPA and the ultimate contractor based on the best results for the township in terms of rate, set-up, cost savings and aesthetics. The project is being fast-tracked, and considering its size, "we do expect that it will be operational by year's end," said Samuel.

The solar project is part of a larger sustainability effort by township officials. "After the 2009 election, we began looking for tax-saving ideas," said Mayor Tagliarini. "We also wanted to become a New Jersey Sustainable Community, so we formed a Green Team that began studying everything from this solar project, to preserving open spaces. We realize that development is necessary, but we also see the need to protect open spaces for our residents."

"When we launched this effort, gas prices had begun to go through the roof," added Cannon. "We felt we could find a better way to purchase our energy, whether it involved hybrid vehicles for our township manager and department heads, or solar, or turbines."

Once the solar installation is completed, CME will conduct a comprehensive audit of the municipal complex’s overall energy usage, including lighting and HVAC systems. "Our goal is to reduce costs and maintain service for our taxpayers,” said Tagliarini. "We expect that this will be part of a continued series of efforts to embrace sustainability throughout the township." 


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