Monday, January 24, 2011

Wildwood looks toward a sustainable solar bay


The city’s “solar bay” project proposes use of the inactive Wildwood landfill in a way that will generate green energy at the same time it provides Wildwood with a new and uniquely-designed multipurpose park.

The initial phase of the project involves sealing the landfill, preparing it for placement of solar panels and partnering with private companies that can take advantage of state and federal solar incentives not available to municipalities.

“With the solar project, this administration is creating a lifetime of ratables, a revenue source that will help lower taxes,” said Mayor Gary DeMarzo. “This is truly a spectacular opportunity for our residents.”

Solar panels at the new park are expected to provide a generic energy source as well as lighting for various entertainment facilities in the park, such as a small craft launching area, lookouts and nature trails.

“Preliminary designs and concepts are now being studied to create optimal usage of the land and the least possible impact on the surrounding community,” DeMarzo said. “We will pay close attention to the visual aspect of the project, so as not to disturb the natural beauty of the property and its surroundings, while making it accessible and useable.”

Closing a landfill is not a simple task, especially when it borders prime waterways that connect to the intercostal waterway. The city is now creating documents intended to bring the most qualified professionals to the project. These include, at a minimum, proposals relating to sealing the landfill and installing and leasing solar facilities.

“Though this process is time consuming and complicated to coordinate, we’re doing everything we can to move forward quickly,” said Lou Ferrara, Wildwood’s director of economic development.

“The solar bay project holds much promise for sustainable energy, public-private partnerships and green job promotion,” Ferrara said. “According to national data provided, the solar energy system is expected to reduce carbon emissions equivalent to that produced by 699 automobiles per year.”

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