When it comes to cutting the cost of electricity, there are few alternatives as powerful as harnessing the sun’s energy. That’s what Glimcher Realty Trust (NYSE: GRT) plans to do at its Jersey Gardens outlet mall in Elizabeth, N.J.
The real estate investment trust (REIT) says it will install the largest single-rooftop solar system in North America on the mall’s roof. The 4.8 megawatt solar array will generate enough power to offset 11% of the electrical consumption of the mall, according to Glimcher, which is based in Columbus, Ohio.
Installation will begin in February, and the project is scheduled for completion in August.
The solar technology will be enabled through a partnership with green building developer and investment manager Gerding Edlen Development, based in Portland, Ore., and its subsidiary, Gerding Edlen Sustainable Solutions, which also focuses on sustainable development, renewable energy and financing.
“Jersey Gardens is already known as a premier international shopping destination and has been an innovator in sustainability. We are proud to be working alongside Gerding Edlen to create a model for clean and effective energy development and management,” says Marshall Loeb, president and chief operating officer of Glimcher Realty Trust.
With 1.3 million sq. ft. of leasable space, Jersey Gardens is one of the largest properties in the REIT’s regional mall portfolio. Its tenants include Gap Outlet, H&M, Lord & Taylor Outlet, Neiman Marcus Last Call, Nike Factory Store and Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th.
Gerding Edlen has worked with Glimcher to develop and manage the solar project and its complexities, from securing financing to identifying the technology and integrating the various components, says Mark Edlen, CEO of Gerding Edlen. Over the past 15 years, Gerding Edlen has developed more than 60 green projects totaling nearly $5 billion in real estate value throughout the Western United States.
Glimcher entered into an agreement with Clean Focus Corp. based in Sunnyvale, Calif., which finances solar projects. Under the agreement, Clean Focus will finance and own the system, and all solar renewable energy credits and environmental benefits associated with the system.
Jersey Gardens will buy the electricity at a predetermined price, providing a long-term hedge against rising power prices with no initial capital investment.
“The 4.8 megawatt (MW) project size fits squarely within our sweet spot of 1MW to 20MW, and the New Jersey SREC program offers attractive returns to our investors,” says Stanley Chin, president and CEO of Clean Focus. The company works closely with independent developers and systems integrators to develop, finance, and operate solar systems throughout the United States.
The Jersey Gardens solar system will be designed, installed, and maintained by SunPower Corp. (Nasdaq: SPWRA, SPWRB), which manufactures solar technology. SunPower will install the SunPowerTM T5 Solar Roof Tile system.
The T5 Solar Roof Tile combines a high-efficiency solar panel, frame and mounting system into a single, pre-engineered unit. Tilted at a five-degree angle, the system will approximately double the energy generated per square meter compared to other systems that are mounted flat onto commercial rooftops.
“At 4.8-megawatts on a single rooftop, this is a milestone solar installation made possible with SunPower’s high-efficiency panels and T5 Solar Roof Tile System,” said Tom Leyden, managing director at SunPower. “By hosting this system, Jersey Gardens will reliably maximize its savings on electricity costs over the next 20 years or more.”
Jersey Gardens mall was built by Glimcher Realty Trust in 1999 on the site of a former landfill. It uses a recycling program and recently completed a light retrofitting to replace fluorescent and exterior neon lighting in an effort to manage its environmental footprint.