Ocean County has retrofitted the building that houses the prosecutor’s office with 182 solar panels on its roof, part of an ambitious plan on the part of the freeholder board to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels.

Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari said the project on Hooper Avenue reflects the county government’s commitment to eventually install solar panels on all 135 county-owned buildings using state and federal grants, whenever possible.

“There is no taxpayer money from Ocean County, it’s all federal money,” Vicari said last week as he stood on the roof of the prosecutor’s office.

William Santos, director of the county Department of Buildings and Grounds, said in a prepared statement that the average annual savings in electric usage charges will be $14,000. In addition, the county expects to receive $24,800 from the sale of Solar Renewable Energy Credits, making the combined annual savings about $38,800.

The total estimated savings over the life of the panels, which is estimated to be about 25 years, will be approximately $722,000, Santos said. The project will generate enough money to pay for the panels in about six years, according to county officials.

Vicari said he hoped the next county project would be a canopy of solar panels above the Ocean County parking garage at the corner of Hooper and Madison avenues.

The Ocean County Southern Complex on Haywood Road in Stafford also has solar panels. The panels are placed along a drainage basin and are generating power to the county’s recycling center on the site, according to the county Division of Public Information.

To promote its efforts, the county has a link on its website that permits the public to see how much power has been generated and money saved from the solar panels.

source: app