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Secaucus eyes solar panels at rec center

The $1.4 million project aims to provide clean energy

The Secaucus Recreation Center at 1200 Koelle Boulevard

The Secaucus Town Council has introduced an ordinance that would bond approximately $1.4 million for the purchase of solar panels to be installed at the Recreation Center at 1200 Koelle Boulevard.

The ordinance will be up for public hearing at the council’s next meeting on September 14 at 7 p.m. at the Council Chambers at Town Hall at 1203 Paterson Plank Road. For more information, go to secaucusnj.gov and click on the event on the calendar webpage.

Energy savings

Town Administrator Gary Jeffas said the solar panel project was part of a cost-saving clean energy initiative.

“This has been a long-term project we’ve been looking at,” said Jeffas. “It’s called an ESIP, an acronym for Energy Savings Improvement Program.”

The ESIP is administered by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) to allow for the improvement and retrofitting of public facilities by local governments and other entities by using the future value of energy savings to finance the upfront investment.

Prequalified energy services companies provide the upfront financing and are paid back from the savings that accrue to the public entity through reduced energy bills.

“It’s run by the BPU where there has to be an analysis,” Jeffas said. “We hire a company. They recommend the solar at one spot, in this case the recreation center. They complete the analysis, and they guarantee the savings will exceed your debt payment over 15 years. So it has to be a zero sum game or better on whatever is borrowed.”

Jeffas said the program is again certified to save money before heading to the BPU for final approval.

“Then we hire a third party that certifies once again the energy savings amount,” Jeffas said. “Then that goes to the BPU, who reviews and certifies that the program meets the requirements.”

Where should they go?

The project is still in the early phases. There is not a design yet.

The town is still working out the number of panels and their exact locations, eyeing the roof or the parking lot.

Currently, the town is analyzing the ground beneath the parking lot to determine if installing the panels would pose any issues. There are pipes and other internal systems beneath, as well as landfill the town wants to make sure is not underneath the parking lot.

The analysis is expected to be complete by the public hearing, officials said.

For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at disrael@hudsonreporter.com.

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