Date: 020517  From:  By Shawn Menzies, Staff Writer, Gloucester County Times, 05/17/02  Deptford Twp.

 Creating electricity in Gloucester County got a  little cleaner Thursday, as state officials helped a national energy  provider unveil the first and largest solar electric generator in  South Jersey.  Approximately 1,300 solar panels have been mounted atop the BJ's  Wholesale Club store, located off of Deptford Center Road.

 The opportunity to make electricity production cleaner developed from  a partnership between the state, the Texas-based Green Mountain Energy  Co. and Solar Power Electric.  "On behalf of Gov. James E. McGreevey, the state and the Board of  Public Utilities, I am proud to mark this historic partnership," said  Jeanne M. Fox, president of the state BPU. "Renewable energy is one of  the most important products in the future of New Jersey and future of  our society which is why New Jersey is committed to identifying and  using renewable energy resources."

 Clifton Payne Jr., eastern regional president for Green Mountain  Energy Co., said solar energy is further proof that their customers  can help change the way power is made in New Jersey.  "Making electricity is the leading cause of industrial air pollution  in the U.S., emitting billions of tons of carbon dioxide annually,"  Payne said. "The large solar electricity facility will help avoid 40  tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually. That reduces as much carbon dioxide pollution as not driving more than 2,000 trips by car the  length of the Atlantic City Expressway, adding up to more than 90,000  miles."

 The solar panels will be maintained by Sun Power Electric, who also  installed the panels. The panels are 2-foot by 4-foot that take up  more than 12,000 square feet of the store's roof, which officials said  is enough to fill the Phillies' infield at Veterans Stadium in  Philadelphia. The 52-kilowatt system will feed its generated  electricity in a grid that supplied power through the region,  officials said.

 Green Mountain began offering New Jersey residents solar generated  electricity in March of 2000. Just this month, the state announced it  would be purchasing electricity from Green Mountain Energy Co.  Officials said this is the first large solar electricity generating  project in South Jersey which is built under the New Jersey Clean  Energy program, and will be known as the Green Mountain Energy Solar  at Southern New Jersey

.  Approximately 60 fourth graders from Sewell Elementary School in  Mantua Township, wearing gold colored sun shaped plastic masks, helped  dedicate the solar electricity generator.  Sara Dill, manager of energy for BJ's, said the company is pleased to  help provide a way for clean energy.   "By providing our roof top as a location for solar electric  generating facilities, we are putting latent space to use for a great  purpose.  BJ's is also in a partnership with Green Mountain and has roof top  solar panels on stores in Middletown, R.I., Plymouth Meeting Pa. and >North Dartmouth, Mass.  * * *  Shawn Menzies can be reached by e-mail at  (c) 2002 All Rights Reserved.