The country’s largest roof-mounted solar array is expected to savebuilding tenants $200,000 to $300,000 a year in electric costs, itsowner said.
Avi Avidan, managing member of Avidan Management, which owns andoperates numerous industrial and commercial facilities on the EastCoast, said he wanted to invest in solar because it made good business sense.
Avidan made no mention of saving the environment when he talked about his reasons for installing 4.26 megawatts of SolarWorld solar panels on the roof of Avidan’s 656,255-square-foot New Jersey facility. Hedidn’t need to. Everyone knows solar is a greener power source. Whatattracted Avidan to it was its economic powers.
“Our primary motivation was that we wanted the ability to control the cost of electricity for our tenants,” Avidan said. “We wanted theability to reduce our electric bill now and control inflation goingforward.”
With Federal grants and tax incentives combing with New Jersey’s aggressive incentives and net-metering plan, the numbers for solar proved very attractive.
The Avidan facility in Edison, N.J., is home to several differenttenants who use it for office space, dry goods storage and storage offrozen and refrigerated foods, according to a press release about theproject.
It’s the biggest energy consumer in Avidan’s portfolio, he said.
“We wanted to install solar where we knew it would have the biggest impact,” he said.
With a 17-acre roof area, the Edison building is Avidan’s largest. It uses more than a million kilowatt hours of electricity each month. Theelectric bill, which is passed on to renters, averages $1.2 million peryear. Avidan said he expects the solar panels to generate half of theenergy the facility needs. Avidan will sell that solar power to thetenants in order to pay off the system and will be able to save tenants$200,000 to $300,000 a year, Avidan estimated.
The company spent a year and a half researching the option beforedeciding to take the plunge. It contracted with Solar Nation to designand build the system and with Oregon-based SolarWorld to manufacture the panels.
“One of the major factors we were looking for was that we wanted toaward the contract to a manufacturer in the U.S.” Avidan said. “It wasreally important to us to support the local economy.”
Avidan said the company is considering installing arrays on two ofits other large buildings. Those arrays would likely total another 2megawatts of solar power, he said. Whether or not those projects goforward depends on if government incentives continue.
“We are aggressively trying to take advantage of the incentives available right now,” Avidan said.