The Atlantic County Utilities Authority has earned more than $1.5 million in revenue from the sale of its SRECs since its solar project came online in 2006.
SRECs, or Solar Renewable Energy Credits, represent the environmental attributes associated with clean, solar energy as compared to traditional polluting energy sources. SRECs are valuable and can be sold to entities that sell electricity in New Jersey. New Jersey requires all sellers of electricity to include a certain amount of solar in their portfolio of energy sold which can be achieved by purchasing SRECs.
“Solar has been both a financial and environmental success story for the ACUA,” said Rick Dovey, ACUA President. “By being an early implementer of solar here in New Jersey, the ACUA has seen the maximum financial and environmental benefits that an agency, an individual, or business could obtain by utilizing, first the New Jersey solar rebate program, and then the solar RECs program,” Dovey noted.
“In addition to the revenue the project has generated, almost 1,100 metric tons of CO2 have been avoided and more than 3.4 million kWh of clean, renewable power have been generated,” said Dovey.
ACUA built its solar project at its wastewater treatment plant in 2006 to reduce electricity costs and generate clean energy. At that time the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities offered a rebate program for systems up to 500 kilowatts and had also launched its SREC program. The two programs were designed to spur solar development in New Jersey.
ACUA took advantage of both programs and was able to secure a $1.8 million grant to offset the costs of building its $3.25 million solar system. The grant brought the cost to ACUA down to $1.4 million which was financed through a low-interest loan. After the system was built ACUA also sold the SRECs associated with solar energy production.
To date the ACUA’s solar system has been a financial success story. Below is a look at the lifetime project costs and benefits through the 2011 Energy Year which ended May 31, 2011.
Financials at a Glance
Cost of system $ 3,250,000
Net cost 1,416,277
Avoided electricity costs 473,760
Total SREC revenue 1,587,301
Net benefits 2,061,061
Total benefit to ACUA $ 644,784
Note: Financials through May 31st which is the close of the 2011 energy year. The energy year, and related programs including SREC incentives, runs from June 1st to May 31st.