DEPTFORD — A $12 million project to install solar panels at Gloucester County College and the county technical high school will reduce energy costs at the schools by as much as 30 percent, officials said Thursday.
County and school officials were joined by state Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney, D-Gloucester, for a ceremonial groundbreaking at GCC’s Sewell campus.
Construction by Ray Angelini, Inc. of Sewell is expected to begin next week and be completed by the end of the year. Garrison Architects of Marlton assisted in obtaining NJDOE approval for the project.
The project is being paid for by Hammonton’s Marina Energy, which will sell the electricity generated by the panels to the power grid and to the schools at a reduced rate.
Dan Lockwood, spokesman for Marina Energy, said combined savings to the schools will be an estimated $2.1 million over 15 years.
After the contract is up, the schools will own the panels and use them to generate electricity for their buildings.
The panels at GCC will be positioned on a vacant 12-acre field off Salina Road and behind a college parking lot, while the panels at adjacent Gloucester County Institute of Technology will be on school rooftops.
The county college project will generate 3.7 million megawatts while the smaller system for GCIT will generate .6 megawatts when operating at full capacity at any given time.
GCC President Fred Keating estimates contract will trim $180,000 a year off the school’s current bill of $648,000 annually — a nearly 30 percent savings.
In addition, Marina is providing $25,000 to the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) program, a new environmental and sustainable energy curriculum, at each school.
“So in addition to the energy saving we will realize, this project is benefiting academic growth,” Keating said.