Mars and PSE&G Complete 2-MW Solar System, Utility Expands Solar Program

Mars and PSE&G have completed a 2-megawatt (MW) solar photovoltaic project in at the company’s facility in New Jersey. The project is the first completed by PSE&G Solar Source, a subsidiary of PSE&G. The solar garden is comprised of more than 28,000 ground-mounted solar panels on 18 acres adjacent to Mars Chocolate North America’s headquarters, where more than 1,200 associates work and M&M’S Brand Chocolate Candies are manufactured.

The solar provides approximately 20 percent of the plant’s peak energy consumption PSEG Solar Source owns the system, which is located on Mars Chocolate North America’s property, and Mars has contracted for the entire output of the system.

juwi solar Inc. performed the engineering, procurement and construction services for the system and will also be providing the initial operation and maintenance services. Thin film panels were provided by First Solar.

“Sustainability is one of the most pressing concerns of our time. At Mars, we are aware of the scale of the challenge, and we are determined to be part of the solution,” said Todd Lachman, president of Mars Chocolate North America. “As we celebrate with our partner, PSEG Solar Source, the opening of the largest solar garden in the State of New Jersey by a food manufacturer, we also celebrate our commitment to the environment and the communities in which we conduct business. The solar garden strengthens our pledge to serve as an environmentally-friendly corporate citizen, reinforcing our commitment to the town of Hackettstown and the state of New Jersey.”

PSE&G this week also received approval from state regulators to expand its innovative solar loan program by approximately US $143 million to finance the installation of an additional 51 megawatts of solar energy systems on homes, businesses and municipal buildings throughout its electric service area.

Since the utility’s initial Solar Loan Program was approved by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) in April 2008, customers have applied for loans totaling $105 million that would result in 30 megawatts of installed solar capacity. This new initiative will result in a total of $248 million available for loans and 81 megawatts of solar power for New Jersey.

“There’s no question that providing a source of stable, secure capital — especially in our tough economy — has helped boost the number of solar energy systems in New Jersey,” said Ralph LaRossa, president and COO of PSE&G. “With today’s BPU approval, this expanded program will support the development of another 51 megawatts of solar energy to help our state meet its aggressive renewable goals and reduce carbon emissions. We’re pleased to do our part to make New Jersey a leader in solar energy installations, second only to California.”

Filed with the BPU in March 2009, the Solar Loan II Program was reviewed by the BPU staff, the Department of the Public Advocate, solar developers and installers, and other utilities. These discussions led to a settlement agreement that resolved various issues, paving the way for today’s approval by the BPU.

In addition to the loan program, PSE&G has begun to implement its Solar 4 All program, investing $515 million in 80 megawatts of solar projects that will help double the state’s solar capacity and create additional green jobs. The utility is installing solar panels on 200,000 utility poles and street lights in about 300 communities. PSE&G also will develop solar gardens and roof-top installations on facilities it owns and also at third-party sites.

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