7.2 MW Port Newark Container Terminal solar project underscores Newark’s commitment to the clean energy transition

This 7.2 MW system for Port Newark Container Terminal (PNCT) in Newark, NJ was an ambitious leap forward around sustainability for America’s second largest port city and serves as a prime example for other cities seeking energy savings and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

PNCT, a joint venture between Ports America and Terminal Investment Limited (TiL), partnered with Standard Solar under a 25-year power purchase agreement for the installation of two rooftop solar arrays and five carport arrays at the 320-acre facility. The system includes a large-scale 3.8 MW canopy spanning multiple truck lanes and 15 electric vehicle charging stations for use by PNCT employees, staff, and EV terminal vehicles.

Jim Pelliccio, President and CEO of PNCT, stated that this solar project “will significantly reduce Port Newark’s emissions profile…another important step toward addressing a key concern of Newark city officials and residents.” The system is part of PNCT’s long term strategic plan for efficiency and emissions reduction around their operations. Over a ten year period, PNCT converted all terminal lighting to LED fixtures and installed hybrid straddle carriers, energy-efficient electric cranes, and a 1 MW natural gas generator.

“We are growing capacity through facility upgrades with a focus on making a positive impact on our local community, our region and the environment,” said Pelliccio. “Our goal is to firmly cement PNCT’s status as the best choice for East Coast terminal services, now and in the future.”

The PNCT solar project produces 8,476 megawatt hours annually, approximately 50% of PNCT’s annual electrical demand, and is reducing electrical demand from the Newark area electrical grid. It is estimated to save 6,007 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. This reduction is equivalent to removing 1,294 gasoline-powered cars or 15 million miles driven annually by a gasoline-powered passenger vehicle.

In January 2023, a special event was held to celebrate the completion of the first phase of the project. It was attended by Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, as well as representatives of PNCT, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and Standard Solar.

“Working with our partners for a more sustainable Newark is an immense priority for my administration,” Mayor Baraka said. “We are acting locally while thinking globally on this world-changing issue. Port Newark’s solar energy project will help make our city healthier for present and future generations alike. We must continue efforts that combine our local infrastructure with clean power generation, driving Newark Forward—building new jobs, increasing the air quality of our community, and doing our part to fight climate change.”

In early 2024 the project was awarded the Solar Builder Project of the Year Editor’s Choice Award for the significant construction ingenuity around design to accommodate challenges related to the location’s soft soil, high water table and flooding. There was additional construction complexity given that the system was situated within one of America’s most active ports and needed to seamlessly integrate with the constant flow of hundreds of vehicles and the daily operations of the port.

The PNCT system is a catalyst for further energy transitioning, evidenced by TIL looking to PNCT and Standard Solar to integrate renewable solutions at other ports like Long Beach, Baltimore, and five additional Newark locations.