Archive for the ‘Press’ Category

‘Environmentalists get heated over would-be solar site in Hamilton’

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

Landscape Rendering For The Black Solar Farm

Isn’t that an oxymoron – “Environventalists get heated over solar farm” ?

Zoning board meeting March 13, 2012

HAMILTON –Tuesday night marked another long, tense zoning board hearing as environmentalists and witnesses testifying for the would-be developer of a massive solar site in Groveville squared off for a third time.

The site in question, a 60-acre property off Crosswicks-Hamilton Square Road, would become home to a ground-mounted solar site under plans presented by Hamilton-based developers Barry Black Sr. and his son Barry Black Jr., doing business as BKB Properties.

No decision on the site, which would require a use variance from the zoning board, has been made yet.

The board carried the hearing to a fourth meeting March 28.

The project is opposed by the environmental group Save Hamilton Open Space.

Tuesday night’s testimony focused mainly on how the 10-megawatt site — and its 42,000 photovoltaic panels — would be landscaped and screened from neighbors.

But with the testimony came no shortage of bickering between John Alice, an attorney for the developers, or Michele Donato, a lawyer representing Save Hamilton Open Space.

Zoning board attorney Michael Balint even got into it, chastising the two for arguing and telling Alice the plans he was presenting seemed to change from week to week.

“This seems to be a moving target and each time you come, we seem to hear something different about what it’s going to be,” Balint said. “You guys have said a lot of things so when I look through my notes, one week it’s one thing, the next month it’s something different.”

Much of the confusion stemmed from inconsistencies in setback and landscaping details.

The plan previously included a berm around the property that would be planted with trees and shrubs, but landscaper Jim Kerr, testifying on behalf of the Blacks, said berms are more trouble than they are worth.

He advised planting staggered rows of native species like evergreens and maples, as well as fast-growing shrubs like hollies, to hide the solar site from the road and residents who live nearby.

“We want to make it look as natural as possible, plants planted flush with the grade,” he said. “You have 30 feet of berms with plants jammed in, and it looks horrible.”

Other witnesses, including a field biologist and professional planner and engineer, testified on the likelihood of the land retaining its agriculturally rich soils and how the site would fit in with Hamilton’s new solar ordinance, which attempts to restrict large-scale solar projects to industrial areas of the township.

Most of the opposition to the Black project has stemmed from its location in the rural resource conservation zone, a stretch in Hamilton’s southeast corner that remains one of the least developed parts of the sprawling suburb.

“This site’s location is not manufacturing along the river or an industrial zone in the north, but I think it’s an appropriate location,” planner and engineer Tim Kernan said.

Nearby residents and members of Save Hamilton Open Space disagreed.

“Hamilton has very limited amount of open space left,” Save Hamilton Open Space president Ed Pfeiffer said. “About 11 percent of Hamilton remains undeveloped at this point and most of it is in the rural resource conservation zone.”

A group of union carpenters and construction workers, including Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo (D-Hamilton) sat in on the meeting. They have supported the project as a much-needed job creator.

Pfeiffer and others said the solar installation jobs would be only temporary, but construction worker Joseph Sary said the ailing construction market could use all the help it can get.

“We need this work,” he said. “This isn’t just putting money in our pockets, it’s feeding our family, paying our mortgage, allowing us to stay in this township.”


Proposed Solar Farm & Veteran Housing

Friday, December 16th, 2011

Tuesday evening Rager Energy joined Barry Black and BKB Properties at the Hamilton Township zoning board meeting to propose a 10 MW solar installation.  Barry Black and his family have a comprehensive plan for cultivating low-lying crops under a section of the solar panels and donating four building lots to the Thomas Jerome House, a non-profit organization created to help disabled veterans after they return from war.

Crying Ain’t Going To Grow Anything Back (Video Of Tyler Southern)


HAMILTON — The township could become home to a third major solar site if a local developer wins approval to install 32,000 panels on a 64-acre tract of land.

Developer Barry Black proposes a so-called solar farm in Hamilton’s southeast corner, pitting residents in favor of more solar against those who want one of the township’s last rural areas to remain untouched by development.

“When I bought my house, this was supposed to be the last rural vestige in Hamilton, and I truly feel it should be kept that way,” said Harold Dunn, one of dozens of residents who showed up for a zoning board hearing Tuesday night.

Others, including a few electrical and construction workers, pointed out that a new development could provide jobs and tax dollars.

“The economy the way it is now — it’s terrible out there,” said a resident who works in the construction industry. “We need these jobs.”

Located on Crosswicks-Hamilton Square Road near the back entrance of the Hamilton Marketplace shopping center, the site is made up of two lots covered in fields, woods and wetlands.

Black and his company, BKB Properties LLC, envision covering those lots with thousands of crystalline, photovoltaic panels that would absorb sunlight and generate 10 megawatts of electricity to be fed back into the local power grid. To get an idea how much power 10 megawatts would provide, PSE&G’s national solar initiative called Solar 4 All aims to develop 80 solar megawatts, and that would be enough to power 13,000 average New Jersey homes.

The land BKB Properties is targeting is inside Hamilton’s rural resource conservation zone, so the company requires a use variance from the zoning board before any construction can begin.

The developer has also said he intends to subdivide the property and provide land to the Thomas Jerome House, a nonprofit organization looking to build housing for soldiers returning home with traumatic brain injuries.

But at Tuesday’s hearing, the board reviewed only the solar plan.

Michael Mueller, a planner testifying on behalf of Black, reminded zoners that renewable energy projects are considered inherently beneficial under state law.

That makes it easier for solar applications to pass local muster.

The zoning board has already approved two other solar facilities, a PSE&G project on South Broad Street and another on Yardville-Allentown Road that’s roughly the same size as Black’s proposed project.

“I think we do want to build upon what you looked at last year with the other two applications,” Mueller said. “We want to be better than those. We want to provide a better standard.”

The board came to no decision Tuesday night and the hearing was carried to a special meeting at 7 p.m. on Jan. 31.

Thank you to all who came out to the Tinton Falls Groundbreaking Ceremony

Monday, November 7th, 2011

What a wonderful day.  Sandwiched between a rainy, dreary Thursday and a snow blizzard on Saturday, we sure lucked out having a sunny, slightly chilly ceremony for the groundbreaking event on Friday.

The ceremony began with renown Opera singer, Andy Fei, singing the National Anthem and concluded with backhoes being used for dirt shoveling.. apparently the shovels didn’t cut it (stay tuned for videos).  The entire ceremony was deliciously catered by Jimmy Pecci’s, A Taste of Italy, out of Tinton Falls.

Senator Jennifer Beck

Tinton Falls project manager Dave Schember, myself, Tinton Falls Mayor Michael Skudera

Work to Begin on 100-Acre Solar Farm in Tinton Falls

Friday, October 28th, 2011

Touted as one of the largest solar fams in the Northeast, work on the 100-acre clean energy project in Tinton Falls along Shafto Road will begin in earnest on Friday with a ground breaking ceremony.

The $80 million privately-funded project can be accessed at Tormee Drive, and will boast 85,000 ground mounted panels that will generate 19.88 mega watts, according to a release from the borough.

“This large-scale solar farm will provide needed jobs and be a boost to the local economy that has been devastated by the closure of Fort Monmouth, while helping this country meet its energy demands for the 21st century,” said Tinton Falls Mayor Michael Skudera.

The entire project is estimated to take approximately eight months, with the anticipated completion date of May 2012.

Tinton Falls Solar Farm, LLC, a subsidiary of Zongyi Solar America Co. Ltd., purchased the property from Clean Jersey Solar for $5.55 million, or $57,000 per acre, according to the CoStar Group Web site.

The borough’s zoning board approved the application in November 2010, with the site subdivided into the solar farm and a non-age restricted townhome development. One of the original proposals for the site was to develop 243 single family units and 61 affordable units with over 1,100 bedrooms. The scaled-down application had 248 two-bedroom units.

The ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. at 99 Tormee Drive and feature Sen. Jennifer Beck, Monmouth County Freeholder Lillian Burry, Skudera and other borough and local officials. Friday’s groundbreaking will also feature representatives from Tinton Falls Solar Farm, LLC, including its CEO, Eddie Zeng.

“This project combines with capital investment, advanced technology and equipment, an experienced engineering and construction team, and strong support from the local community. I am confident that it will not only create many local jobs and stimulate the economy; it will also set the standard for future ventures in the field of solar energy in New Jersey,” said Zeng.

The energy generated from this site could power the equivalent of nearly 3,000 homes, which are about two-thirds of the total households in Tinton Falls.  It is estimated that this solar farm will offsets carbon emissions equivalent to nearly 4,000 acres of trees, according to the release.

Tinton Falls Groundbreaking Ceremony

Monday, October 24th, 2011

This upcoming Friday, October 28th, 2011, we celebrate the Groundbreaking of the Tinton Falls Solar Farm.  The Tinton Falls Solar Farm is one of the largest solar projects in New Jersey at 19.8 MW utilizing 97 acres and 85,000 panels which will produce enough clean energy to power 2,665 homes, approximately 60% of Tinton Falls. Additionally, this 19.8 MW system will sequester over 20,000 tons of carbon annually, equivalent to almost 4,000 acres of trees.

We are fortunate for the opportunity to invest in the state of New Jersey, employ the local community and improve the overall economy while producing good clean energy for us all.  Without the support of certain government officials and the diligent persistence of our entire engineering and construction team, Triad Consulting Engineers and Unity International Group, none of this would be possible.

We look forward to sharing this upcoming event to all who join us and support this initiative during an unprecedented time in the solar energy environment in New Jersey.  If you have not received an invite to the Groundbreaking Ceremony but would like to join us, please email: for availability and more information.

Solar Farm Approved!!

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

Rager Energy received final approvals on 12 MW solar farm in Harrison Township.  The 52,800 photovoltaic panels will produce enough clean energy to power approximately 2,000 homes annually.

HARRISON TWP. — A new solar field is being planned for an empty field off of Route 77, bringing green energy initiatives and tax revenue to the town.

The 100-acre parcel, owned by the Eachus family, was once a working farm, but is now an open area. Originally the farm had been set aside to have a Catholic high school built, but when the plans went through the township and the owners had to find a new use for it.

Multiple options had been discussed, with the construction of a solar field being chosen as the most feasible and beneficial for Harrison Township.

“The indirect benefits are it won’t be developed for housing, we don’t need any more burden on the school system,” said Mayor Lou Manzo. “And we didn’t want it to be developed as more commercial property because you’re getting more into the open space area.”

United Solar Group and Rager Energy Consulting LLC have received a long-term lease from the landowners and plan to build approximately 50,000 solar panels on it.

The project will include building phases, with the company installing a portion of the panels in each phase.

Once completed, the energy output will become a taxable entity, raising around $70,000 per year for the township.

“Obviously it’s a wave of the future, it’s environmentally forward thinking, we think it will be it’s a $70,000 ratable for us, which is huge,” Manzo said. “It’s like a win-win-win-win on all fronts.”

The solar field, near the intersection of Gangemi Lane, will not be visible from the road, and the township’s planning board is currently working with the developers to make sure that there is enough of a buffer zone between the field and its neighboring properties that it won’t be seen by those parties either.

Gloucester County Times

Ship Bottom Fire Company Goes Solar!!

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

Rager Energy makes it possible for Ship Bottom Fire Company, a non-profit organization in Ocean County, to receive free electric at no cost to them.

Fire House Goes Solar & Saves Money

Executive Leaders Radio

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

On April 22, 2011, Rager Energy was invited to participate in a 2-minute spotlight on Executive Leaders Radio in Philadelphia. Very interesting segment including interviews with Joe Schumacher, the CEO of Goddard Systems Inc, Scott Nissenbaum, the President of Finite Carbon, Bob Fesnak, the Managing Partner of Fesnak and Associates, Brian Mattocks,, and Jennifer Madera, the President of The Career Finders.

Listen here –