New Jersey Warehouses Claim Title for Top Rooftop Solar System

  • Bigger than NRG Energy’s project at MGM Resorts in Las Vegas
  • Holt Logistics system completed with little fanfare in 2011

Last week MGM Resorts International surpassed Toys “R” Us Inc. to claim title to the largest U.S. rooftop solar installation, with an 8.3-megawatt system in Las Vegas. Turns out there are even bigger ones out there, notably a 9-megawatt system at a Holt Logistics Corp. warehouse compound in New Jersey.

The system was completed with little fanfare in 2011, one of thousands of projects completed on industrial rooftops every year, and shows how even a project the size of 23 football fields can fall through the cracks. That’s why it wasn’t included in the database maintained by GTM Research.

Holt Logistics warehouse compound in New Jersey

Source: Holt Logistics Corp.

The SunPower Corp. panels at the Holt project also surpass an 8.6-megawatt system in operation at a Prologis Inc. compound in California. With solar power growing rapidly, it may not hold the title for long, said Colin Smith, a GTM analyst in Boston.

“I don’t doubt we’ll soon see a rooftop with more than 9 megawatts,” Smith said in an interview Wednesday. “There are bragging rights in every industry and solar is no different.”

Fields of solar panels and carport installations, like Intel Corp.’s 6.5-megawatt system completed in February in Folsom, California, don’t count as rooftops. NRG Energy Inc., which owns the MGM project, notes that it’s on a single contiguous roof, while the Holt project is on two rooftops in Gloucester, New Jersey, separated by the Walt Whitman bridge.

Friendly competition, right?

“As shown by these arrays and the competitive spirit behind them, renewable energy is just surging in the U.S.,” Erik Linden, an NRG spokesman, said in an e-mail. “New records will be set that will bring increasing scale and efficiency to solar arrays. It’s a competition we all win.”