Atlantic City is not just the East Coast’s gambling epicenter anymore. Today it added another claim to fame: leadership in renewable energy. The Atlantic City Convention Center celebrated a gigantic new solar array that is the country’s largest roof-top system. At 2.37 MW, the Convention Center installation beat out Google’s 1.6 MW system and more recent solar arrays ~2 MW. Over 13,000 panels cover more than 290,000 square feet of roof-space. And the electricity they produce will provide more than a quarter of the building’s energy needs. Thanks to New Jersey and federal support, the solar panels are projected to save the Convention Center over $4 million during the next 20 years.
And solar is not the only renewable energy Atlantic City (AC) can brag about. In late 2005, AC built a 7.5 MW wind farm to power its wastewater treatment plant. The five 1.5 MW turbines have long been the only major wind installation in New Jersey, though the state plans to build an offshore wind farm in the early 2010s.
Of course, these solar and wind systems don’t mean Atlantic City is necessarily a perfect model for the sustainable energy transition ahead. AC is self-proclaimed “Always Turned On,” and many of those lights can probably use an upgrade to compact fluorescents and LEDs.
Nonetheless, Atlantic City definitely deserves some praise for their leadership in renewable energy deployment. And New Jersey also deserves kudos since state incentives were crucial to make these projects viable. Princeton University and other NJ institutions can get inspired to utilize more carbon-free renewables for their power needs as well.
Here’s to continued renewables and efficiency deployment to prevent us from needing to build any more fossil fuel-fired power plants throughout the US and beyond. Thanks for helping to lead the way, AC!