Visitors to and tenants of a three-story class-A office building in Paramus, N.J., can now witness what it is like to monitor energy savings in real time. The 61,000-square-foot property, which serves as the headquarters for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 164, successfully underwent a solar conversion, involving more than 650 rooftop panels installed there and atop the adjacent 40,000-square-foot Local 164 Training Academy.

Completed by Local 164 electricians certified in advanced photovoltaic (PV) technology, the new solar-energy system provides streaming real-time updates using a monitor in the lobby of the building. The project also serves as a working model available to contractors and customers for tours.

“Photovoltaic technology is here to stay, and Local 164 has embraced it as a means to save on operating costs while demonstrating our commitment to the environment and sustainable energy,” said Richard Dressel, Local 164 business manager.

Projections indicate a total cost-savings of more than $323,000 over the next 10 years for both buildings.

The polycrystalline silicon PV modules leverage the sun’s light through solar cells, composed of thin layers of silicon, which release electrons to generate an electrical current when sunlight strikes the cells and causes a chemical reaction. Individual cells are grouped together to form solar modules.

The system will serve as a training venue for Local 164’s apprenticeship and continuing education programs.

Local 164 partnered with Sharp Solar Systems three years ago to develop hands-on PV laboratory training programs. More than 300 members have successfully completed the curriculum.