Egg Harbor Township Solar Potpourri: Before and After

[Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey, USA]

In Search of the proposed 11.3 MegaWatt (MW) Seashore Solar Project.


View Egg Harbor TWP Solar Potpourri in a larger map

Catering to my photovoltaic obsession, my co-investigator took me on a tour of noteworthy solar installations around Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey, during a visit over the Memorial Day weekend. My primary goal was to survey the site of the proposed 11.3 MW photovoltaic (PV) project by Seashore Solar according to “Solar panel array planned for closed landfill in Egg Harbor Township” by Brian Ianieri for The Press of Atlantic City.

Since I never got around to doing a post, I revisited the sites three months later over the Labor Day weekend leading to the before and after format that follows.

From Egg Harbor Township Solar Potpourri

Joe Canal’s
The first site was the new Joe Canal’s location outfitted with 153 kiloWatt (kW) of combined rooftop and ground mounted solar arrays. Surveying the ground mounted PV array, I noticed something out of place per the above photo. A weed had grown through the spacing between modules creating a natural shading element! Further examination revealed rather tall weeds growing beneath about two thirds of the 338 rack mounted 245 Watt ET Solar modules. I have not been able to learn if the solar installation company or Joe Canal’s is responsible for the O&M (Operations and Maintenance) trimming of the weeds beneath the ground mounted PV system.

From Egg Harbor Township Solar Potpourri

Fast forwarding to Labor Day weekend, I observed the prior protruding weed had been pruned. Good news. However, and not without prescience, another weed had grown through the module spacing in a different location. In similar fashion, scrub brush had grown above the southern facing edge of the ground mount array as shown below. I don’t know why the ground under the array was not better prepared. Perhaps it was thought to be infertile.

From Egg Harbor Township Solar Potpourri

Proposed 11.3 MW Seashore Solar project
After searching for and divining the location of the 11.3 MW PV project on Google Maps from the January 2012 press release announcing Solar Power Inc (OTC:SOPW), an LDK Solar Co., Ltd (NYSE:LDK) company, as the EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) contractor, I relearned the location over the Memorial Day weekend using an almost recursive search of roads near the prospective site.

From Egg Harbor Township Solar Potpourri

Once I rediscovered the entrance gate of the 48 acre (19.4 hectares) former landfill shown in The Press photo, I was disappointed to find a vehicle staging area but no signs of surveying or construction at the site. My assumption was Seashore Solar Development, LLC had not been able to finance the project or get all the necessary environmental approvals and construction permits. Even earlier in the year, the developer was concerned about the value of New Jersey Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SRECs) the project would generate.

From Egg Harbor Township Solar Potpourri

Returning to the same entrance gate in late August, the staging area had grown in size but no other construction activity was apparent. John Egnor, the general manager of Seashore Solar, never acknowledged my subsequent inquiry about the status of the 11.3 MW PV project.

In “SPI Solar Announces Second-Quarter 2012 Financial Results and Revised Business Strategy”, SPI Solar said:

2012 Business Outlook:

 

SPI expects 2012 net sales in the range of $150 million to $170 million. A portion of the revenues, previously expected to be recognized in 2012, will slip into 2013, primarily due to module supply issues and a permit delay for a large solar project in New Jersey.

I believe the 11.3 MW Seashore Solar project slipped into 2013, but are there really module supply issues these days except too many? Is LDK hoping for a favorable final ruling in the US-China solar trade case?

Adams Road Solar Generating
While trying to find the Seashore Solar project, I stumbled upon a nearby PV installation via Google Maps. Built on 23 acres (9.3 hectares) of private land, the
4 MW solar plant powers the neighboring Pleasantville Middle School and High School.

From Egg Harbor Township Solar Potpourri

Again per The Press, Seashore Solar was a subcontractor for the Adams Road 4 MW solar plant owned and operated by Marina Energy LLC, a subsidiary of South Jersey Industries Inc (NYSE:SJI).

From Egg Harbor Township Solar Potpourri

During my first visit, I observed many of the PV modules were gunked up with bugs, bird droppings, and other organic matter. Yuck. Three months later, I am happy to report routine O&M and module washing does happen and the very same modules looked immaculate. I don’t envy the folks who cleaned them.

From Egg Harbor Township Solar Potpourri

In the potpourri vein, I observed the following off-grid PV installation in Shanghai, China, before the SNEC 6th (2012) International Solar Industry and Photovoltaic Exhibition & Conference. I guess the PV array is sized to charge batteries during the morning and noon when it’s not shaded by the north-south oriented overpass?

From Shanghai Solar

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