Nanjing firm's solar panels soak up New Jersey sun

Updated: 2012-12-21 15:06

By Liu Yuhan in New Jersey (China Daily)

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Nanjing firm's solar panels soak up New Jersey sun

State Senator Samuel Thompson (right) accepts a donation from Haining Gao, president of Jiangsu Sainty Machinery, on behalf of hurricane victims. Liu Yuhan / China Daily

Despite preliminary US tariffs on imported Chinese solar-energy panels, a small manufacturer's need for clean energy was strong enough to bring together companies from New Jersey and China.

Jiangsu Sainty Machinery Import & Export Corp of Nanjing, in eastern China, and Paz Solar Systems LLC of Hackensack have co-developed a 300-kilowatt solar-powered electrical system for Dream Well LLC, which makes mattresses and box springs in North Brunswick, 60 kilometers west of New York City.

The installation began with a ceremony on Dec 12 at Dream Well's factory. The solar project, designed and built by local contractor Blue Sky Technologies USA, consists of over 1,200 pieces of electricity-conducting monocrystalline-silicon panels affixed to the factory's 40,000-square-foot (3,716-square-meter) roof.

Once in operation, the system will be able to generate 290,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity a year, meeting Dream Well's consumption needs and saving the company at least $52,000 a year.

"This is our first [US] collaboration, and we are all happy with the result," said Haining Gao, president of Jiangsu Sainty Machinery, a subsidiary of Chinese conglomerate Jiangsu Sainty International Group.

"We like the quality of the products Sainty provided us; we'd really like to see more collaboration between our two engineering companies," Paz Solar's David Foni said.

The pilot project has Sainty looking to other solar projects in New Jersey, Gao said at last week's ceremony. The company is working with National Energy Partners LLC, another New Jersey renewable-energy firm, on plans for projects in the state with total capacity of 30 megawatts. By the end of 2013, he said, Sainty plans to have 100 to 150 MW worth of additional solar-power capacity in operation, through cooperation with local governments, labor unions, financial institutions, utility companies and installers.

"We are very impressed by New Jersey's vision for new energy development, especially in the solar-energy area," Gao said.

New Jersey is second only to California among US states in installed solar-energy capacity.

The ceremony attracted entrepreneurs, company executives and government officials, including New Jersey State Senator Samuel Thompson, a Republican, and Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula, a Democrat who praised the Paz-Sainty partnership as an example of international efforts to adopt cleaner energy.

"None has been more rewarding than the success of solar in New Jersey; the boom in solar installations has improved our environment and created thousands of green jobs, Chivukula said. "But even more impressive is the partnerships solar has formed, much like the one we are celebrating. The partnership exemplifies the global effort to address our future energy needs."

Jiangsu Sainty Machinery's involvement in New Jersey went beyond business. The company also hosted an event that raised $4,000 for victims of Hurricane Sandy, which hit the state hard in late October. In addition to its contribution to the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund, the company donated $1,000 to North Brunswick Township.