We Applaud and Criticize Teaneck's Plan for Solar Panels on the Rodda Center and the Fire Station

We do applaud Teaneck's plan to install solar panels on our Community Center and Fire Station this year. Theses steps towards the greening of our Town are most welcome.

But where does this leave us citizens who would like to install solar panels on our homes, businesses and synagogues? Same place - square one.

Converting to solar energy is an uphill battle for us citizens. If we approach the process on our own, we immediately face a disorienting set of obstacles and questions. What providers are out there? Which ones are reliable? What aid is there for us?

We need our town to provide every household, organization, business and agency in Teaneck with some basic information and guidance on how to go about getting bids, state money, grants, tax incentives and whatever else that is available for conversion to solar panels.

Better yet, we need to group together and approach providers and support programs with a more efficient and lower cost collective effort.

We need our town to help us all get together to make Teaneck a greener place to live - perhaps even to make Teaneck a model community in the conversion to solar energy.
Teaneck is latest to turn to solar

TEANECK — The township will install solar panels atop the Richard Rodda Community Center and Fire Station 3 this fall in an effort to save energy costs and promote conservation.

The project will cost approximately $615,000. The township expects to receive $204,944 in state money from the New Jersey Clean Energy Program and $160,700 in federal money from the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program, part of the economic stimulus package.

Assuming the money is awarded, the net cost of the installation will be just under $250,000.

The project consultant, Metro Energy Solutions, estimates that the panels will save Teaneck at least $9,200 in energy costs annually.

In addition, according to Pete Pirrello, vice president of business development for Metro, the township can sell the energy produced by the panels in the form of Solar Renewable Energy Certificates, or SRECs, to public utilities.

The state's electricity suppliers are required to purchase a certain number of SRECs — each unit represents 1 megawatt hour, enough energy to power a typical home for six weeks — every year.

The revenue from selling the certificates should be at least $30,000 annually, depending on the market, Pirrello said. The solar panels are capable of producing approximately 76 megawatt hours per year, enough to power nine homes.

"It's not just cost savings," said Mayor Kevie Feit. "It's also environmentally friendly."

Pirello said a growing number of municipalities and school districts are turning to solar panels to save money, generate revenue and support green initiatives. In recent months, Upper Saddle River placed solar panels on the roof of its middle school and Waldwick and Alpine installed panels on their municipal buildings.

The Teaneck project will include some type of kiosk or informational display, probably at the community center.

"It's good to be the lead and set the example for the community," Pirello said.

The township will sell bonds to finance the project.

Teaneck will install solar panels atop the community center and Fire Station 3 this fall. Here are the financial basics:
$615,000: Project cost
$204,944: State grant money available
$160,700: Federal stimulus money available
$9,200: Annual energy cost savings
$30,000: Annual revenue from selling solar energy certificates to public utilities

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