Solar Power Fueling Atlantic City

John Davis

You wouldn’t think of the bright lights of the casinos of Atlantic City, New Jersey as the place for energy conservation, but the East Coast’s gambling center is the home of a pioneering solar energy project.

This story from CNN says government officials were on hand to show off solar panels on top of the city’s convention center, the largest single-roof solar-panel array in the U.S.:

The 13,321 photovoltaic panels will produce an average of 26 percent of the convention center’s energy, according to consultants. The panels cover most of the roof’s usable space, leaving room for walkways and other equipment.

“We estimate that we are going to save $4.4 million over the 20 years of the contract [with the solar provider],” said Jeff Vasser, president of the Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority.

In greener terms, authorities estimate the solar panels will avoid the release of 2,349 tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere — equivalent to removing 390 passenger vehicles from the road or reducing oil consumption by 4,956 barrels per year.

The solar panels are already paying off. Even in the short, darker days of January, they put out 15 percent of the convention center’s power.