Timeline Triumph Leads to Big Solar Savings in a New Jersey Hospital

Timing is key. This was our mantra during a recent assignment to design and plan a 2.2 megawatt solar farm for Saint Peter's Healthcare System. Strict regulatory milestones drove our effort to complete the project without jeopardizing its funding. Although meeting the regulatory benchmarks were challenging, the work was worth the effort, resulting in the largest solar installation for a New Jersey hospital.


Navigating State and Federal Loan Programs

The loans procured for the Saint Peter's Healthcare System's solar project were due to expire just one year from when Dewberry was asked to come aboard. Funding benchmarks—set by the state and federal loan programs—drove a rigorous schedule, but we guided the project through the design, approval, permitting, and construction processes within this tight timeframe.

Unique Circumstances in a Dense Urban Environment

The solar farm needed to be installed on existing facilities and infrastructure, including rooftops, parking lots, and a parking deck. This provided an interesting challenge with potential conflicts as underground utilities ran beneath each lot. Subsurface investigations informed our design and allowed us to reconfigure the parking schemes to maximize the number of parking spaces.


Moving the Project Along

To fast track each site, we kept in close contact with municipal professionals, including engineers and planners in two municipalities, to make sure all designs and permits would gain board approval, keeping the project moving. We succeeded in gaining approval for all sites from both municipal planning boards after just one hearing with each board.

Saving $10-million in Energy Costs

Nearly 10,000 solar array panels were constructed and approved within the original one-year timeframe. When the final phase of the installation went live in the Fall of 2012, the Saint Peter's solar system became the largest solar installation for a New Jersey hospital. The system is projected to save approximately $10-million in energy costs over the next 25 years.


Second only to California in the number of solar installations, New Jersey has deployed more than 17,000 systems with a total capacity of 832 megawatts, chiefly as a result of lucrative state incentives, including grants and subsidies, complemented by valuable federal inducements. Our experience navigating the regulatory requirements and keeping ahead of a challenging schedule resulted in a cost-effective, sustainable energy solution that will benefit Saint Peter's for years to come.