Media / Press Releases


December 29, 2008
By Jeremy Rosen
Courier-Post Staff

For the last four years, David Sharrow has focused on the sun and found how to make an environmental impact by adding solar energy to the electric utility grid.

The Mantua resident, partly fueled by concerns for the future of his eight children in a degenerating environment, has reached a $14 million agreement with a solar energy development company. He plans to transpose his 10-acre Williamstown lot into potentially the biggest solar farm in South Jersey.

"It could change everything," the 49-year-old general contractor said.

The nearly 9,000-panel solar farm would annually produce two megawatts of power or enough energy to supply more than 1,000 families, and also reduce yearly carbon dioxide emissions by more than 3,000 tons, according to the developer SolarWorks NJ.

The project would create temporary and permanent green-collar jobs and the site, off Route 322 between Fries Mill and Tuckahoe roads, could be used as an alternative energy field trip for college students, Sharrow said.

"If you're going to do it, do it right," Sharrow said.

So, Sharrow and his wife and partner on the job, Denese Rome, have full confidence in SolarWorks NJ of Turnersville to design, install, market and maintain the site, and obtain financing and contracts for the project.

The first step, said SolarWorks NJ chief executive Steve Masapollo, is to get financing.

Several investors are interested, Sharrow and Masapollo said. The next step will be to have a site study done and go through local planning and earn state approvals, they said.

Plans have not yet been submitted to the township.

"We think they'll be happy it's here," Masapollo said. "It's a big deal for us too, because big California companies normally do this work and the money goes to California not New Jersey." Masapollo also has 7 more 2 MW projects under contract.

Sharrow purchased the site, a former rhododendron farm, on Dec. 29, 2004, for $160,000, according to officials in the tax assessor's office. He has since cleaned up the site, which officials said is assessed at $120,700.

Sharrow and Masapollo expect to break ground in March and have the solar farm running by May. Sharrow's solar farm would be the largest in South Jersey, bigger than Gloucester County's other solar farm, BP's Paulsboro Terminal.

BP's 5,800-panel farm opened in 2002 as the largest solar farm on the East Coast, according to a BP Web site. It produces 276,000 kilowatt hours a year in clean electricity, the Web site says.

Sharrow's would produce more than 2.7 million kilowatt hours, according to Masapollo.
Lisa Morina, executive director of Gloucester County economic development, said her department would help with the project.