A massive solar power project at the South Brunswick Dow Jones campus generated a large donation to the township food pantry last week.
Dow Jones was recently the recipient of parent company News Corp’s Global Energy Initiative (GEI) Achievement Award for the initiation and oversight of the South Brunswick solar power installation. The 4.1 megawatt project has saved Dow Jones nearly $1 million in purchased energy costs to date, according to company officials.
"Dow Jones was able to find the right opportunity a couple of years back when we initiated the solar project," said Dow Jones Vice President of Technology Andy Schwartzberg. "We installed a rather large 4.1 megawatt solar installation at the South Brunswick campus. This project came about because it was a green project that made business sense."
As a result of the award from News Corp, Dow Jones was given the opportunity to select a charity to benefit from a $5,000 donation. The company chose the South Brunswick Food Pantry based on a longstanding relationship with the township Social Services Department. The donation comes at a time when the pantry has seen a steady increase in the number of families seeking aid in recent months.
“We are so honored that Dow Jones has decided we are the charity of choice with their $5,000 award from News Corp," said Social Services Director LouAnne Wolf. "We have a relationship with Dow Jones and have worked together in the past. This is a much needed donation that could not have come at a more opportune time, in that our numbers for the food pantry have increased tremendously since the start of the summer, averaging between 70 and 80 families each month, when our numbers before were between 50 and 60. We expect to serve between 200 and 300 families each for both Thanksgiving and the Christmas and Hanukkah holidays.”
The huge solar installation at Dow Jones was completed in two phases, with the final section completed in the spring of 2011. The system includes over 13,000 solar panels, most of which rests on canopies over the campus parking area.
"The system itself has reduced CO2 emissions by 6,779 tons," Schwartzberg said. "It's reduced 15,000 pounds of nitrous oxide, which is the equivalent to planting 1,400 trees or taking about 1,200 cars off the road each year. There are a number of great green benefits to the system. Since its inception it's generated 9.2 gigawatts of energy, which is enough to run 774 homes for a year. This is a project that we're very excited about, it had really good business sense, and it continues to over-exceed our expectations in terms of the power generated and that it has significantly reduced our energy cost."
Dow Jones was also recognized for its solar installation by The Solar Energy Industries Association, which the company as one of the top 20 corporate solar users in the United States. While Dow Jones didn't disclose the cost of the project, Schwartzberg said the system is paying for itself in short order. He added that News Corp issued a top down mandate for their companies to benefit the environment while giving back to the community.
"This is not a one and done for us," Schwartzberg said. "This is a very large project and we're happy we're saving money, but it doesn't stop there."
Schwartzberg noted that Dow Jones instituted a number of other cost saving green measures, including servers that use lower power consumption, efficient HVAC systems and longer lasting light bulbs, among other initiatives.
He said when it came time to select a charity to benefit from the News Corp donation, the South Brunswick Food Pantry was the natural choice.
"We felt strongly about giving back to the community where we work," he said. "We've worked with the South Brunswick Food Pantry in the past and have run a number of food drives. They became an obvious choice. Their shelves are bare and the number of families the pantry supports has more than doubled since this time last year. With the economy the way it is, a lot of folks are dependent on them. We looked at a lot of charities, but felt giving back (to South Brunswick) was the best thing to do with the prize money from our parent corporation."
To donate or volunteer for South Brunswick Social Services, call 732-329-4000 ext. 7674.
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