Morris County Improvement Authority's Solar Projects

Published on September 05, 2013

TheMorris County Improvement Authority has issued a Request for Proposal to manage the Solar Panel Systems installed during its Solar 1 Program in 2010 which included five Morris County School Districts, serving students from 13 municipalities, as well as the Morris County Park Commission's Mennen Arena, and two Morris County owned facilities.

In February 2010, after receipt of proposals and under a competitive process, the Morris County Improvement Authority retained Tioga Solar Morris 1, LLC to develop, operate and maintain the Solar 1 program. Subsequently, the Morris County Improvement Authority issued bonds to fund the construction of the Solar 1 Program.

Earlier this year, Tioga Energy, Inc., the parent corporation for Tioga Solar Morris 1, assigned its ownership interest of Tioga Solar Morris 1, under the California assignment for benefit of creditor's law and as such will exit the solar business.

The Morris County Board of Chosen Freeholders, in partnership with the Morris County Improvement Authority, is committed to contracting with a Private Power Purchase Entity who will continue to manage the one fully operational Solar 1 Program that provides approximately 3.1 megawatts of power annually to our schools and county facilities at a combined annual estimated savings of over $127,000.

It is the expectation of Morris County Freeholders and the Morris County Improvement Authority that all Solar 1 participants will continue to receive the savings and benefits of program without interruption.

The debt service on the Solar 1 Bonds, guaranteed by Morris County, is currently paid by Tioga Solar Morris 1, in part from revenue generated by Solar Renewable Energy Certificates, or SRECs.  The SREC market has experienced a significant fluctuation in pricing over the past three years, which is one of the reasons which Tioga's parent has indicated they will exit the business.

In 2011, the Morris County Freeholder Board authorized the Morris County Improvement Authority to undertake a second Solar Program. This Solar 2 Program is currently in litigation, primarily due to an ongoing dispute between SunLight General Morris Solar, LLC, the developer of the Solar 2 Program, and its construction contractor, Power Partners Mastec, LLC.

On July 19, 2013, the Morris County Improvement Authority sent a letter updating participating towns and school boards on the dispute. The Morris County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the Morris County Improvement Authority are diligently pursuing all options available to them with respect to the Solar 1 Program and the Solar 2 Program, and will provide additional updates to the public when available and as appropriate.

Anyone seeking further information can call Morris County Administrator John Bonanni at 973-285-6040 or email him at [email protected].

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