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Green to Solar
By Spc. Pablo Vizcaino, 444MPAD
Green to solar

If there was a power source that would last you for about four billion years, would you not use it?

What if it saved the environment and saved you money as well?  You'd be crazy not to use it then.  That's exactly the train of thought that has led the New Jersey National Guard and the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMAVA) to become a leader in renewable energy, namely solar energy.

The plan was simple in its efficiency – utilize an often unused asset, a rooftop, and begin work. The existing rooftop of the Joint Training and Training Technology Development Center (JT2DC) at Fort Dix proved to be the perfect candidate. Today, it is covered by 952 photovoltaic panels covering an area of 13,000 square feet and providing a total of 181kW of energy, which for those of us who think in more practical terms, translates to energy that can power over 150 homes.

The push for greener energy was far from over, however.  A second project would follow, and as with anything the NJARNG does, it always has to be bigger and better than the last.

Finding a suitable place in the rooftops of the Homeland Security Center and United States Property and Fiscal Office warehouse, 1,648 solar panels will serve to generate 321kW of power – once again, 300 homes, for us practical folks - and reduce annual CO2 emissions by 261 thousand pounds.  Suffice it to say, it will let all of us breathe a little easier.

So how much did this all cost? Such an extensive project did require about $1,425,000 funding from both federal and state sources, but thinking long-term, it was actually a bargain.  NJ DMAVA projects a $150,000 annual savings from utilizing solar power, meaning that the project will pay for itself in just 9.5 years, with net savings after that.  The savings to the environment, however, remain priceless.

The two energy systems provide a staunch example of the leading role in renewable energy the NJARNG continues to maintain nation wide, having already won such awards as the Renewable Energy Award presented by the Secretary of the Army Peter Green on Sept. 13, 2006, and by being the largest military-owned solar project on the East Coast.

Table of Contents
Volume 33 Number 5 Staff / Information
(c) 2008 NJ Department of Military and Veterans Affairs