BALTIMORE, MD and VINELAND, N.J. - Constellation Energy (NYSE: CEG) and the city of Vineland, owner and operator of the Vineland Municipal Electric Utility, today announced the completion of an aggregate 6.5-megawatt (AC) solar generation project that will supply affordable energy to the utility's customers. Baltimore-based Constellation Energy's retail business built, owns and maintains the solar power system. In return, the city purchases all of the electricity generated by the solar panels at a fixed rate from Constellation Energy under a 25-year power purchase agreement.
In honor of the solar project's completion, a celebration and ribbon-cutting were held today at the installation. Representatives from Constellation Energy, Community Energy Solar and city officials were on hand for the event, including Vineland Mayor Robert Romano.
"Vineland is committed to an overall environmental strategy that will put the city in a national leadership position, and we are extremely proud of our progress to date," Romano said.
"With the start-up of the Constellation Energy solar project that we are commemorating today, Vineland now has within the city more than 24 megawatts of solar energy production capability," said Joseph A. Isabella, director of Vineland Municipal Utilities. "This includes retail behind-the-meter installations, power purchase agreement projects, as well as a project that supplies energy directly to the PJM grid."
Vineland's newest solar power system is comprised of approximately 27,896 photovoltaic panels, ground-mounted at two locations -- 4 megawatts in West Vineland and 2.5 megawatts in North Vineland. The project is expected to generate approximately 10 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year. Generating the same amount of electricity using nonrenewable sources would result in the release of 7,584 metric tons of carbon dioxide, or the equivalent emissions from 1,487 vehicles annually, according to U.S. EPA data for the New Jersey region.
"Constellation Energy is proud to support Vineland's continued commitment to renewable energy," said Michael D. Smith, senior vice president of green initiatives for Constellation Energy's retail business. "Large-scale solar generation is an attractive option for municipal utilities to manage volatile energy costs for their customers and meet renewable energy goals."
Constellation Energy acquired Vineland's 6.5 megawatt project pre-construction from solar power developer Community Energy Solar in early 2011.
Constellation Energy currently owns and operates approximately 100 megawatts of solar installations that have been completed or are under construction for commercial and government customers throughout the United States. By structuring its solar projects as power purchase agreements, Constellation Energy requires no upfront capital from its customers and is able to provide power at a fixed cost that is less than projected market rates.