Former coal company builds the largest net metered solar system in New Jersey


DSM North America doesn’t make solar panels on their own, but they do make an anti-reflective film for solar glass that consistently increases efficiency up to 3% – and they’ve built a 20.2 MWdc solar plant solar plant at their New Jersey manufacturing facility which makes use of the technology.

And in a moment of supreme irony, DSM – which stands for Dutch State Mines – started off as a coal company more than a hundred years ago.

The solar project is being described as being New Jersey’s largest net metered plant, and the second largest net metered solar plant on the east coast of the United States – behind an Apple project located in South Carolina.

The solar plant is an expansion of a 6 MWdc project that was built in 2014, whose modules were also covered in the company’s anti-reflective coating. That system was modeled as producing 30-40% of the facilities needs at peak production, and was built of just under 20,000 modules around 300 to 305 watts,

The new plant is made of an additional ~42,750 modules around 330 to 335 watts each, totaling around 14.2 MW. The two project together total 20.216 MWdc, using 62,215 modules.

The new system’s peak production is projected to be greater than the demand at DSM North America’s facility, and annually the plant is projecting 3.4 GWh of annual excess electricity that will be sold into the grid.

Annually, the facility is projected to produce approximately 23 GWhs of electricity.

Local reporter Tom Bergeron quoted DSM North America President Hugh Welsh as noting the green aspects of the clean energy, but pointing out the economics:

It’s smart business that will actually save a considerable amount of money on energy costs. From a cashflow perspective, it’s seven figures. I don’t want to give specifics because it’s proprietary, but it’s a significant cost savings. And it makes us much more efficient.

DSM recently unveiled a conductive backsheet that it says will increase standard solar module output by 3%. The company is partnering with Silfab Solar on to launch the product, including plans for a factory at an undisclosed location in the United States.

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