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Solar-electric systems maker SunPower Corp. is teaming with Nexus Properties Inc. to build a 1.2-megawatt system for a steel distributor in New Jersey. The system is expected to produce the equivalent of 100% of the power required by Certified Steel Co.’s 330,000-square-foot facility in Hamilton.

The system is the largest to date financed through a loan program from New Jersey’s largest utility, Public Service Electric and Gas. It is expected to be complete by July.

Approved by New Jersey’s Board of Public Utilities in April 2008, the two-year pilot solar loan program allows PSE&G to offer loans to companies that install PV panels at their facilities. The loans can finance up to 60% of the cost of installation. Under the agreement, Certified Steel will repay its loan with the renewable energy credits generated by the system.

San Jose, CA-based SunPower will act as the turnkey designer and installer for the project. It will feature a lightweight roof-mount system that features the company’s high-efficiency monocrystalline-silicon panels.

Lawrenceville, NJ-based Nexus Properties is the developer. A family-owned commercial real estate development company, Nexus owns and manages about two million square feet of commercial office space and manages about 10,000 parking spaces.

Last summer, Nexus took a major step in its two-year-old green initiative by carpeting the roofs of two Trenton parking garages with solar panels. Nexus managing director Andrea Sussman describes the transformation of the garages to mini-power-plants as a “small but important step” in the firm’s attempt to both make its properties more energy efficient and “reduce carbon emissions that cause climate change.”

The new installation at the Certified Steel site advances those goals, she says. “The Solar Loan Program has provided a level of economic certainty that does not otherwise exist in the marketplace,” she continues. “Moving forward, we envision similar programs that foster private investment in solar power projects.” In addition to the Certified Steel project, Nexus also has a 900/kw system in the final design stages for its commuter parking facility at the Hamilton Train Station in Hamilton, NJ.

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