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Design Of Photovoltaic Systems For Municipal And School Buildings In Ocean City, New Jersey

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Design Experiences in Energy Systems

Tagged Division

Energy Conversion and Conservation

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.460.1 - 12.460.12



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Paper Authors

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Peter Mark Jansson Rowan University

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Ryan Elwell Rowan University

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Design of Photovoltaic Systems for Municipal and Public School Buildings in Ocean City, New Jersey Abstract

As part of the Junior/Senior Engineering Clinic experience at Rowan University1-2, students were able to directly participate in the engineering design, specifications, feasibility analysis and specification of photovoltaic (PV) systems for the City of Ocean City’s school and public buildings. The New Jersey Clean Energy Program3 provides some of the most lucrative rebates for renewable energy system installations in the nation, and this clinic experience allowed engineering students to directly participate in a growing renewable energy market while learning more about the electrical design of PV systems. In order to assure that their PV systems would be economically feasible and well designed, the City of Ocean City (OC) and the OC Board of Education hired Integrated Systems (a consulting engineering group) to determine appropriate designs and plans for each of the twenty buildings they were considering. The feasibility study determined that ten buildings were good candidates for the PV systems. The consulting company (acting as an industry affiliate to the College of Engineering) engaged a professor and students in the work to encourage expansion of the technical labor pool in this important area. The purpose of the project was to provide a final report on the feasibility of PVs for each building in the study, including analysis of electric usage history, current electric usage trends, long-term cost/benefit analysis, overall structural integrity of the roofs to support the added loads, layout and design of the PV system itself as well as a wiring diagram for interconnection with the utility. The result was an engineering analysis which prepared the City of Ocean City and OC School Board to make key investment decisions and proceed with the implementation of the photovoltaic systems. The impact on project-based learning is emphasized as these types of clinic experiences motivate and excite students to learn the requisite engineering skills to solve the real world problems.


This paper details the methods used in determining the feasibility of a sizeable renewable energy photovoltaic (PV) project in Ocean City, New Jersey. The study details the process that determined the number of proposed buildings owned by the City of Ocean City and the Ocean City Board of Education which are good candidates for taking advantage of this clean and profitable way to produce energy. Early in 2006 the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities voted to adopt an aggressive Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) that committed the State to incorporate 20% renewable energy sources into its electricity mix by the year 2020. In addition, the RPS identified that 2% would be set aside specifically for photovoltaics – amounting to 1500 MW in 2020. This represents one of the largest commitments to PV in the United States.4 In the spring of 2006 the City of Ocean City solicited bids for consulting engineering services to assist them in determining the feasibility of PV for many of their city and school buildings, and the successful firm was Integrated Systems. A professor in the College of Engineering at Rowan University works closely with that firm and identified the opportunity to engage engineering students in the project as part of an ongoing innovative Industry Affiliates arrangement which engages local industry in the educational process. This would also benefit the students, the engineering company and field (since more engineers are needed in NJ with PV expertise).

Jansson, P. M., & Elwell, R. (2007, June), Design Of Photovoltaic Systems For Municipal And School Buildings In Ocean City, New Jersey Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2532

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