Hartz Mountain Industries Inc. recently installed a 412-kilowatt SunPower T10 Solar Rooftop solar array on the 65,000 sq. ft. roof of its Meadowlands Exposition Center located in Secaucus, N.J. It is the first of many solar installations the company plans for its 39 million sq. ft. portfolio.

Approved by the Board of Public Utilities in April 2008, the two-year, $105 million pilot program allowsPublic Service Enterprise Group (PSE&G) to offer loans to installers of solar panels on their roofs with repayments using solar credits (SRECs). The loans can finance 40% to 60% of the cost of solar-panel installation.

Also in April 2008, Hartz contracted with SunPower Corp. (Nasdaq: SPWRA, SPWRB), a manufacturer of high-efficiency solar cells, solar panels, and solar systems, to design and install the solar array at the Exposition Center as part of Hartz’s sustainability initiative. Under the program, PSE&G will provide $1.6 million in loans with the balance invested by Hartz.

Hartz owns the renewable energy credits associated with the system and will monetize their value through the PSE&G solar loan program as repayment of the loan. The solar array will produce approximately 40% of the Exposition Center’s electricity.

Worlds Greenest Building?

Independence Station located in Independence, Ore., is making a run on history. The goal? To become the world’s greenest building with the highest LEED rating ever awarded for new construction.

The current record holder, a Canadian project, has a score of 63 out of a possible 69 LEED points. At its completion next year, Independence Station will likely earn between 64 and 66 points, bringing the top score back to the United States, according to the project’s developer, Adeia LLC.

Independence Station’s potential rating is owed primarily to its use of renewable energy sources — mostly the sun and vegetable oil — and the means of distributing, storing and managing that energy efficiently throughout the 57,000 sq. ft. mixed-use project.

The building will boast a unique 12-kilowatt installation of photovoltaic panels. During sunny months, the panels will produce more than enough energy to run the building, store extra energy in a large battery bank for nighttime use as well as feed power back into the grid.

In cooler, cloudier months, the building will rely more on a biodiesel-fueled cogeneration and thermal storage system, including a retired tug-boat engine, which will serve as a backup and run on waste vegetable oil from local restaurants.