"Our resources happen to be flat rooftops. People say we're the Persian Gulf of flat roofs," says Michael Winka, clean-energy director at the Board of Public Utilities.
New Jersey's largest state university system, Rutgers University, is among the institutions that have taken the leap. "The reality is that Jersey is probably not the most ideal place for solar," says Antonio Calcado, vice president for facilities for the Rutgers University system, noting that photovoltaic panels can take longer than most other renewable-power sources to pay for themselves. But with state rebates, energy savings from solar panels, and a strong market for renewable-energy certificates (in other words, selling the right to claim the "green" energy coming from the panels), Rutgers has found a way to make solar energy pay back fast. Mr. Calcado says a $10-million, seven-acre array of some 7,000 panels on the university's Livingston campus, installed in 2008, will pay for itself in just over five years.
Dr. Stephen R. Humphrey, Director,
School of Natural Resources and Environment,
Box 116455, 103 Black Hall, University of Florida
Gainesville, FL 32611-6455 USA
Tel. 352-392-9230, Fax 352-392-9748