On Monday, Anheuser-Busch in Newark unveiled a new array of solar panels on the roof of its Newark, NJ, brewery. The array of more than 3,000 photovoltaic solar panels covers 65,000 square feet and, at peak production, will be capable of covering nearly five percent of the brewery’s electricity demand. The panels will produce more than 525,000 kilowatt hours annually — enough to power 62 average New Jersey homes for a year. The array was designed, installed, and will be operated by Orion Energy Systems; the panels were designed by Solyndra.
Several New Jersey lawmakers attended the event, including NJ Assemblyman John McKean (D-Essex), Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula (D-Somerset), U.S. Congressman Donald Payne (D-10th district), and Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno.
New Jersey: #2 in the nation for solar energy production
New Jersey leads the nation in its use of solar energy, bested only by California. In addition to this new solar rooftop in Newark, New Jersey boasts the nation’s largest solar rooftop — completed just last month at the Fed-Ex plant in Woodbridge. This growth in renewable energy is the result of financial incentives that have been created through clean energy legislation in the state. Assemblyman Chivukula was the author and a lead sponsor of The Solar Energy Advancement and Fair Competition Act, which was signed into law by Governor Corzine just before he left office.
Budget cuts may slow clean energy growth in the Garden State
Assemblyman John McKeon said New Jersey’s astounding growth in renewable energy was remarkable, but was concerned about the $406 million in incentives that have been withdrawn this year. He said he hopes the collective efforts of lawmakers will ensure that the money is restored.
At the federal level, Senator Robert Menendez and Frank Lautenberg have been very vocal lately in opposing offshore drilling and ensuring the oil companies pay for environmental disasters. While coastal communities, including those of New Jersey, are opposed to offshore drilling, it is clear we need an energy alternative. New Jersey’s forward-looking policies at the state-level show this kind of commitment, but budget cuts threaten to turn back the clock. As Senator Menendez has said, New Jersey just cannot afford to risk an environmental disaster on our shores.
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