In June, the McGraw-Hill Cos. announced plans to build the largest privately owned solar project in the Western Hemisphere on the corporation’s East Windsor, N.J., campus. McGraw-Hill partnered with NJR Clean Energy Ventures, a subsidiary of New Jersey Resources, to build the system.

“This solar project is expected to provide approximately 40 percent of the total electric demand at McGraw-Hill’s East Windsor campus,” said Stan Kosierowski, president of NJR Clean Energy Ventures.
At 14.1 megawatts, the solar power will significantly offset the need for other energy sources to run McGraw-Hill’s offices, including the corporation’s growing data center.

The solar array is expected to produce 18 million kilowatt-hours annually, eliminating approximately 12,687 metric tons of carbon-equivalent emissions from the atmosphere per year. A study by the Rutgers University Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy estimated that the project will create up to 294 jobs.

McGraw-Hill will invest $60 million to develop and install a ground-mounted solar array on a 50-acre property adjacent to the corporation’s two office buildings, including the 180,000-square-foot data center. Advanced Solar Products of Flemington, N.J., with assistance from MVM Advisors LLC of New York, will install the system. Advanced Solar Products’ ballasted racking system, manufactured in New Jersey, requires no ground penetrations, making it more environmentally friendly.

McGraw-Hill operates about 900,000 square feet of building space on the site. The data center, which opened in 2008, is the central hub of the company’s global computing needs and is using increasing amounts of electricity to deliver products such as Standard & Poor’s RatingsDirect, McGraw-Hill’s teaching and learning platform for higher education, and Platts’ price assessments for liquefied natural gas.

Investments in the project are expected to qualify for a 30 percent federal investment tax credit. In addition, the energy produced will be eligible for solar renewable energy certificates (SRECs), which can be sold in New Jersey to those needing to meet renewable-energy requirements.

The system will be completed in two phases with 50 percent of capacity projected to be operational in December 2011 and the balance by March 2012.

McGraw-Hill is a global financial information and education company with annual sales of more than $6 billion, employing approximately 21,000 at more than 280 offices in 40 countries.