Plast-O-Matic Valves
, a supplier of valves and controls for water and wastewater treatment, recently celebrated the ribbon-cutting for its new solar-powered plant system.

The company”s Tim DeLorenzo began exploring solar options in 2007 when he identified the need for a new roof on the company”s 55,000 square-foot plant in Cedar Grove, NJ. The New Jersey Clean Energy Program (NJCEP) offered a popular solar rebate program, but that had a lengthy waiting list. DeLorenzo elected to pursue an alternative pilot program that NJCEP was developing, which would provide tax credits and clean energy rebate checks. Installation began in 2008, and $2 million later, the 231 kw system generates a quarter-million kilowatt hours per year.

Due to the company”s northeast location, special panels were selected for four-season operation. These do not produce the maximum high-sun electrical output of a typical panel, but they do produce electricity in low-light conditions all winter long. They also produce electricity on cloudy days – even during rainstorms.

During the week when the plant is operational, the power is used by Plast-O-Matic Valves, Inc. Some additional power is pulled off the grid during peak times on overcast days. On weekends and holidays – and evening hours during daylight savings time – the electricity generated on the roof is sold into the grid for use by nearby homes and businesses.

In addition to its energy independence, DeLorenzo touts the environmental benefits of the solar panels. “We”ve legitimately reduced our carbon footprint,” says DeLorenzo. “By using solar versus carbon generated electricity, this roof eliminates 195 tons of CO2, 1.5 tons of sulfur dioxide, and 0.75 ton of nitrogen oxide emissions per year.”