PRINCETON: Developer chosen to install solar energy system for Stony Brook Regional Sewerage Authority

By Philip Sean Curran, Staff Writer
A solar energy developer was chosen to install a solar system to provide electricity to the Stony Brook Regional Sewerage Authority at a closed municipal landfill on River Road.
The tripartite arrangement will see the town collect annual rent, priced on a descending scale starting at $24,501 in 2016 to $22,840 in the final year of the 15-year-agreement with the company, GeoPeak Energy. In turn, the authority will agree to buy electricity from the company for the next 15 years at a lower price than it does today.
“It’s a win-win for both the municipality and the Sewerage Authority. It makes use of a site that there’s no other use that’s possible for it,” said Council President Bernard P. Miller on Monday.
Authority executive director John Kantorek said Wednesday that GeoPeak would provide about 18 percent of the authority’s annual electricity needs. Over the life of the 15-year-agreement, the authority is projected to save $1.9 million.
Mr. Kantorek said the solar system is due to begin running in the fall of 2016. It will produce 2.2 megawatts of electricity in total by using solar panels.
The arrangement realizes a goal that local officials had five to six years ago.
Prior to consolidation, the then-borough and township spent $30,000 on a study to see if a renewable energy project would make sense at the landfill. But the project was put on hold amid a drop in the market for solar renewable energy certificates, a type of tradable commodity whose value can fluctuate.
Using a mix of regulation and a market-driven approach, New Jersey requires energy companies to have some renewable energy on their portfolios. That requirement can be satisfied by, among other things, buying the certificates from companies like GeoPeak.
GeoPeak will able to use the money from selling the certificates to pay off the debt incurred for installing the solar system and to earn a profit.
The market for those certificates has rebounded, leading officials to reopen the project through a competitive process this year. Mr. Kantorek, Mr. Miller, town planning director Lee O. Solow and consultants that the town hired were on a committee that evaluated the six proposals that were submitted for the project. 