SOLAR ARRAY FUNDED BY DEP AIR-POLLUTION SETTLEMENT TO BRIGHTEN
GLOUCESTER COUNTY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
(10/P119) TRENTON - An array of solar panels that will generate 46 kilowatts of electricity is being installed at a West Deptford elementary school as part of a settlement of air pollution violations at the Sunoco Eagle Point refinery located in the township.
"The West Deptford School District and the staff and faculty at the Red Bank Elementary School can take a great deal of pride in this project," Commissioner Bob Martin said. "They are helping to ensure a bright future for the children at this school by instilling in them an awareness of doing the right things for the environment."
The DEP required the solar project as part of a settlement regarding violations of the New Jersey Air Pollution Control Act that occurred at the refinery from 2006 to 2008, including emissions of air pollutants in excess of permit levels and failures to conduct emissions tests for various pieces of equipment.
The settlement agreement called for Sunoco to pay a penalty of $98,390 and to provide at least $295,160 funding for the purchase, installation and operation of a photovoltaic system to provide green energy to a municipal or school building in the area. The Red Bank School is located adjacent to the refinery.
"This solar array will help meet a portion of the Red Bank School's electricity needs, taking energy off the power grid that otherwise would be generated by power plants that emit air pollutants," Commissioner Martin said. "This project is making something positive out of a negative, creating green energy that is good for the environment and public health."
The system, being installed on the school's roof, is expected to be operational by early December and will consist of more than 200 solar panels. Each panel is capable of generating up to 240 watts of clean energy. All together, the panels will be able to generate the equivalent of nearly 15 percent of the school's energy needs.
The West Deptford School District will further benefit by retaining the rights to Solar Renewable Energy Credits and receiving tax benefits for producing green energy.
“The West Deptford School District is very appreciative of the fact the DEP saw fit to fund the solar panel project at Red Bank Elementary School through a DEP air pollution settlement with Sunoco,’’ said West Deptford Township Schools Superintendent Kevin A. Kitchenman. “Through this funding, the DEP and Sunoco have provided our district with its first opportunity to "go green", and the project also has provided an important learning opportunity for our students in terms of the kiosk that will be installed in the main lobby of Red Bank School.’’
“On behalf of the entire West Deptford School Community I would like to thank the DEP for supporting and funding this project that financially and environmentally benefits our district and our community,’’ said Superintendent Kitchenman.
Sunoco idled its processing units at the Eagle Point refinery earlier this year, citing weak demand and increased global refining capacity. Eagle Point refined some 150,000 barrels of oil per day, producing gasoline, home heating oil, jet fuel, kerosene and other petroleum products. The 1,100-acre facility is located in both West Deptford and Westville.