EASTAMPTON SOLAR PANEL FARM READY FOR THE SUN TO SHINE DOWN
By Rose Krebs Staff writer
EASTAMPTON — A solar farm off Route 206 is expected to start producing electricity this week.
Located on 16 acres of farmland next to the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers Local 28 building, the solar farm will include 12,810 panels that will produce 3 megawatts of electricity annually.
It was created by Syncarpha Capital of New York City, an investment company that develops solar energy projects.
Installation of the panels, which sit on 11 acres, recently was completed, project manager Sean Rheuben said. The electricity produced will be sold to Public Service Electric & Gas, Rheuben said.
The local Land Use Board approved the project in December. According to township records, the company — which also operates a subsidiary called Alethea Cleantech Advisors LLC — has six other proposed developments in the state.
“We are working on several other developments in the county,” Rheuben said. “One potential project is off Juliustown Road in Springfield. Approvals for that project have yet to be obtained.”
The farm is expected to generate 3,700 solar renewable-energy credits per year. The company will be able to sell those credits on the market.
In the past year, credits have traded for as high as $675 and as low as $50 each, according to the New Jersey Clean Energy Program website. The program aims to give incentives so the state can reach its goal of having 30 percent of electricity from renewable sources by 2020.
“We’re talking about power. It’s generic,” Rheuben said. “Solar is no different than other generated power.”
He said that the cost of panels is dropping quickly, but that a project such as the one on Route 206 still cannot be completed for less that $10 million.
“These are not cheap,” Rheuben said.
Land acquisition, landscaping, and obtaining approvals also add to the costs.
Township officials said a groundbreaking is expected soon. Rheuben said a date has not been confirmed.