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Case Study

Solar energy lights up over $51,000 in savings

A global financial institution made an aggressive commitment to reduce it’s footprint by 20% a year, becoming totally carbon neutral by 2012 . The company worked closely with Jones Lang LaSalle, its provider of tenant representation, lease administration and project and facility management, in launching several sustainable real estate initiatives to achieve their goal. Recently, they asked our account team to help them evaluate solar energy as a possibility for powering its facilities.

Working in close collaboration with their leadership, our in-house energy and sustainability experts joined forces with our facility and project management professionals on the account to help the Bank explore the feasibility of options such as self-owned solar generators, and systems owned and operated on the company’s property by a third party. The global financial institution opted to test the waters through self-ownership of a solar array atop an 83,000 square foot facility in Piscataway, New Jersey.

Lighting the path
Specialists from our Energy and Sustainability group worked closely with facility and project managers on our client team to assess the rooftop site, develop an initial design and identify and recommend a large-scale solar equipment supplier. We Managed the installation of a 1,066-panel solar array comprising 82 rows of panels capable of generating 270,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per year. Once the system was complete, our team continues to monitor its productivity and oversee necessary maintenance.

Cost-effective, clean energy
Since beginning full operation in January 2010, the system has exceeded projected solar generation in five of its first six months of operation. It is anticipated to offset nearly 12 percent of the facility’s carbon-based grid consumption, while saving the global financial institution $51,000 a year in avoided utility costs. On a peak summer day, the solar panels can produce 50 percent of thebuilding’s electrical requirements.

The company also took advantage of federal and state tax credits and other incentives such as the New Jersey Solar Renewable Energy Credit program, which, combined with the savings from self-generated electricity, greatly increased the rate of return on the project investment.

A bright future
The global financial institution executives were quickly impressed by solar energy’s environmental and financial benefits. Plans are already in the works for two new self-owned solar projects for the company including:

  • Expansion of the Piscataway system with additional solar panels to cover remaining available roof space, plus a newly designed array placed as “solar shades” over spaces in the building’s parking lot. The parking lot panels offer a bonus of collecting sunlight that would otherwise heat employee car interiors. Once these projects are completed, solar generation will be boosted by an additional 1,051 kilowatt hours, over four times the current existing array.
  • Installation of a 129-kilowatt solar atop the roof of the global financial institution’s Wall Street headquarters in New York, which will be the largest array in Manhattan.

Our team is also helping the company investigate potential solar opportunities at facilities in Florida, California and additional New Jersey locations.

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