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Clean energy source will benefit environment and reduce fuel bills

November 19, 2007

NEWARK, NJ � NJ TRANSIT will create one of the largest solar-power installations in the state and produce clean, renewable-source electricity at its vast locomotive and railroad car maintenance facility in Kearny under a plan approved today by the NJ TRANSIT Board of Directors.

The solar power system will reduce NJ TRANSIT utility bills by $90,000 per year with no need for up-front capital funding and promotes New Jersey�s clean air and energy policy goals. A $1.57 million New Jersey Board of Public Utilities rebate will support construction costs.

"Consistent with Governor Corzine�s mandate, we are actively looking for new ways to benefit the environment, from new buses with the latest emission-control technology to this solar-power system that reduces dependence on fossil fuel," said NJ TRANSIT chairman and Transportation Commissioner Kris Kolluri.

"This project is not only good for the environment, but it�s good for NJ TRANSIT�s budget," said NJ TRANSIT Executive Director Richard Sarles. "We anticipate $2.3 million in savings over 25 years on our electric bills because the price we�ll pay for the solar power is significantly lower than what we pay for commercial power. This project gives our customers another reason to feel good about choosing NJ TRANSIT."

NJ TRANSIT will enter into a contract with Alternity Power, a division of Conti Group of South Plainfield, to finance, design and install a photovoltaic solar-power system on the roof of a Meadows Maintenance Complex (MMC) building. The company will also operate and maintain the system over 20 years.

The 700kW direct-current power plant will produce about 800,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year, or about five percent of the power needs at the 78-acre MMC. All the solar power will be used on-site, eliminating the need for battery storage systems or sale of excess energy to the local utility.

Under the proposed 20-year power purchase procurement contract with Alternity Power, NJ TRANSIT will purchase the power generated by the solar panels for $.01 per kWh with an annual 2 percent inflation adjustment, or about one-twelfth the current rate. The savings amounts to about $90,000 per year for the life of the contract and about $100,000 per year for another five years, which brings the rooftop system to the end of its anticipated 25-year useful lifespan.

The solar system is expected to be completed in the summer of 2008.


NJ TRANSIT is the nation's largest statewide public transportation system providing nearly 865,000 weekday trips on 240 bus routes, three light rail lines and 11 commuter rail lines. It is the third largest transit system in the country with 162 rail stations, 60 light rail stations and more than 18,000 bus stops linking major points in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia.