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NJ Business Park Proposes 6.5-MW Solar Power System

The Stafford Park redevelopment project in N.J. plans to install 1,026 solar panels on the surface of a capped landfill that will produce up to 70 percent of the power needed to operate the business park when it’s fully built out, according to the Walters Group, the park’s redeveloper.

The 6.5-megawatt facility in southern Ocean County is one of the largest solar power projects being proposed in the state, according to the Walters Group.

Construction of the 1,026 solar arrays on 30 acres is expected to get underway this fall. The energy that will be produced by the solar farm will be enough to power about 1,500 homes and eliminate about 6,700 tons of CO2 emissions.

The park also includes a 112-unit affordable housing apartment building that has earned the first LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council for an affordable housing project in the state. The retail portion of the park also has meet a minimum of LEED Silver certification.

Walters says that every structure in the park was designed with energy conservation in mind.

The Stafford Park Apartments and retail stores feature rooftop solar power systems that provide about 30 percent of the energy needs for the retail stores, and nearly 100 percent of the common area power needs for the affordable housing residents.

Walters is currently awaiting approvals for the construction of 216 apartments at Stafford Park, which will be the first apartments in the state to have their heating, cooling, and electricity generated by solar energy. The apartments also will be designed with a certification goal of LEED Silver and will be equipped with Energy Star appliances.

The 370-acre, $2-million brownfield redevelopment also entailed an environmental remediation process that included the clean-up of two leaching landfills that were contaminating groundwater. The landfill closure efforts were certified by NJDEP in May 2009, according to Walters.

The project developers also had to relocate rare plants and build a new habitat for tree frogs and northern pine snakes, along with implementing an extensive monitoring program.

The park also includes a storm water system, which retains all water onsite for infiltration, and the entire project is irrigated with recaptured rainwater.

In addition, a series of bio-retention basins was installed at Route 72 that captures over half of the untreated storm water from that highway before it can discharge into open waters. A wetlands system adjacent to the highway is being recharged by clean rainwater from rooftops rather than the dirty water that was previously being discharged to the wetlands system from the road.

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