Three years after first approving the project, Atlantic Cape Community College should finally have solar carports by the end of this year.

The college board of trustees on Tuesday approved a 15-year lease and power purchase agreement with Energenic LLC, a subsidiary of South Jersey Industries, to install solar carports on parking lots at both the Mays Landing and Cape May Court House campuses.

The agreement comes after Pepco and Solar Power Partners, the lowest qualified bidders on the project in January 2010, were unable to get financing and agreed to terminate their agreement. Energenic was the next qualified bidder among the original six and was still interested in the project.

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Richard Perniciaro, dean of Facilities, Planning and Research at Atlantic Cape, said Energenic will provide their own financing and wants to have the project completed this year so they can qualify for 2013 energy tax credits. He said required Pinelands Commission and local approvals have been completed, so construction could begin fairly soon. The only thing left to do is confirm that the Energenic system is compatible with Atlantic Electric since any excess power generated would go back onto the grid.

The project is estimated to generate about 2 megawatts of power, about two-thirds of it in Mays Landing and one-third in Cape May Court House. That covers about 50 percent of the college’s electricity needs, Perniciaro said.

Under the agreement, the college will lease the land to Energenic for $1, and agrees to buy back the power generated by the solar carports at a rate of 8 cents per kilowatt hour the first year, with a 2.5 percent increase each year. Projections estimate the college will save between $93,000 and $130,000 a year in electricity at the two campuses over the 15-year period of the contract, or about $1.2 million.

Perniciaro said the college currently pays 9.8 cents per kilowatt hour as part of a state-county college energy consortium.

In other action, the trustees approved a 2 percent raise for employees who are not represented by bargaining units. The raises are effective July 1 and affect administrators and some support personnel.

The trustees also approved several construction projects to be funded by the $750 million Building Our Future Bond Act approved by voters in November. Colleges must provide a 25 percent match to the state funds, and Atlantic Cape is eligible to spend $9 million, including the match from the county government.

The proposed projects include $3.5 million for a new Student Success Center on the Mays Landing campus, $4 million for the renovation and repurposing of academic buildings on the Mays Landing campus that will be vacated when the new science building is completed, $900,000 to renovate existing space for a Student Success Center at the Atlantic City campus, and $600,000 to renovate existing space for a Student Success Center in the Cape May County campus.

The trustees also approved a new associates in science degree in mathematics to help students make a more seamless transfer to four-year colleges, meet a projected need for more employees with math skills.

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