Touted as one of the largest solar fams in the Northeast, work on the 100-acre clean energy project in Tinton Falls along Shafto Road will begin in earnest on Friday with a ground breaking ceremony.
The $80 million privately-funded project can be accessed at Tormee Drive, and will boast 85,000 ground mounted panels that will generate 19.88 mega watts, according to a release from the borough.
“This large-scale solar farm will provide needed jobs and be a boost to the local economy that has been devastated by the closure of Fort Monmouth, while helping this country meet its energy demands for the 21st century,” said Tinton Falls Mayor Michael Skudera.
The entire project is estimated to take approximately eight months, with the anticipated completion date of May 2012.
Tinton Falls Solar Farm, LLC, a subsidiary of Zongyi Solar America Co. Ltd., purchased the property from Clean Jersey Solar for $5.55 million, or $57,000 per acre, according to the CoStar Group Web site.
The borough's zoning board approved the application in November 2010, with the site subdivided into the solar farm and a non-age restricted townhome development. One of the original proposals for the site was to develop 243 single family units and 61 affordable units with over 1,100 bedrooms. The scaled-down application had 248 two-bedroom units.
The ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. at 99 Tormee Drive and feature Sen. Jennifer Beck, Monmouth County Freeholder Lillian Burry, Skudera and other borough and local officials. Friday's groundbreaking will also feature representatives from Tinton Falls Solar Farm, LLC, including its CEO, Eddie Zeng.
“This project combines with capital investment, advanced technology and equipment, an experienced engineering and construction team, and strong support from the local community. I am confident that it will not only create many local jobs and stimulate the economy; it will also set the standard for future ventures in the field of solar energy in New Jersey," said Zeng.
The energy generated from this site could power the equivalent of nearly 3,000 homes, which are about two-thirds of the total households in Tinton Falls. It is estimated that this solar farm will offsets carbon emissions equivalent to nearly 4,000 acres of trees, according to the release.