Additional reporting and video by: Isaiah Showell
BRIDGETON, N.J. – A glass packaging manufacturing company in Bridgeton has flipped the switch to renewable energy.
On Wednesday, June 19th, Ardagh Group and KDC Solar held a press conference to announced that a 5.5 net-metered solar project that was built and is operated by KDC Solar, is complete and supplying Ardagh Group’s glass manufacturing facility with renewable solar power.
The solar project is two separate arrays connected by directional drilling under a road and wetlands. The solar facility took 10 months to build and could supply energy to half the homes of Fairfield for one year.
According to KDC Solar President and CEO Alan Epstein, the 20-acre solar facility will supply the glass manufacturer with electricity for the next 25 to 30 years. KDC Solar just this month also opened a solar farm that will run Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey.
“As part of this drive for sustainability, we are continuously looking for new opportunities to increase our use of green energy,” Bertrand Paulet, president and CEO, Ardagh Group, Glass – North America said in a press release. “We are pleased to have partnered with KDC Solar on this new state-of-the-art solar plant in Bridgeton, N.J., which will supply renewable energy for our glass manufacturing facility and thereby contribute to a further reduction in our carbon footprint.”
Ardagh Group will also save around 5.8 million pounds of coal emissions that would be generated if the solar facility were not built.
Third Legislative District Assemblyman Adam J. Taliaferro said that the solar facility couldn’t have happened if it were not for the cooperation between everyone involved.
“A project this size, you know, it’s never one person or one organization that makes this happen, from, you know, from our team in the Third Legislative District, myself, my colleague, John J. Burzichelli, on the Senate side, Senate President Sweeney has been the biggest champion of solar energy,” Taliaferro said. “And the entire legislature really started at the top but then, we had two fantastic organizations with KDC Solar and Ardagh really work together to make this project happen. And it’s not only us at the state level, but the county freeholders and the Mayor in Bridgeton, Albert Kelly has been fantastic to work with.”
The solar facility was built, in due part, because of New Jersey’s commitment to renewable and solar energy, according to Epstein.
Bridgeton Mayor Albert Kelly is glad that Bridgeton was chosen as the location for the solar facility and will be keeping a lot of jobs in the city.
“This was a great marriage between industry and government — and public, the public is going to be the ultimate winner in this type of facility,” Kelly said. “And I’m glad that they selected Bridgeton as a site in which they’re doing some revolutionary things in terms of green energy, and keeping 400 jobs here in the city of Bridgeton. That’s fantastic.”
While Kelly remembers the past glory of Bridgeton, he says that the community needs to look forward to the future to bring in new industries to the once-booming manufacturing city.
“I was born and raised here in the city [of] Bridgeton,” said Kelly. “And like many people, I remember the glory days when we had a number of manufacturing plants and there were plenty of jobs in the community. And so I see that returning — we have to change with the times, and do what we have to do, in terms of beckoning new industry and planning upon our strength.”