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St. Peter's announces large solar project to power three sites

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Continuing the move to more sustainable, affordable energy, St. Peter's University Hospital, in New Brunswick, announced Thursday that three of the hospital system's buildings will receive solar arrays.

St. Peter's said a combined 10,000 solar panels will generate about 2.3 million kilowatt hours of energy each year at its main campus, on Easton Avenue; its family health center on How Lane, in New Brunswick; and at the McCarrick Center for Ambulatory Resources, in the Somerset section of Franklin.

The hospital anticipates the projects will save roughly $10 million in electricity costs over the course of 20 years. Hospital spokesman Phil Hartman said through a PSE&G solar loan program, the hospital will eventually make money by selling the solar credits generated by the array.

"PSE&G has made it easy, because the way this is structured," Hartman said. "We can go ahead and do this very expensive work at the outset through a very manageable loan program that enables us to eventually not only pay back the money in a brief amount of years, but also reap some actual profits afterward. And those profits will be plowed back into clinical programs."

Hartman said the loan will be repaid in approximately seven years, which will depend on the price of the solar credits as they are applied against the loan balance.

Earlier this year, St. Peter's announced a project to install, among other things, energy efficient chillers through the PSE&G Hospital Efficiency Program. Hartman said the two programs combine for $15 million in investments for the hospital.

Hartman said the project, which will feature both canopies over parking lots and rooftop arrays, will be completed in stages by the end of the year. The buildings and parking lots were selected because of the "structural support" available.

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