BASKING RIDGE, NJ - A massive environmental project was undertaken to install solar panels on public buildings in three New Jersey counties. The electricity generated in Morris, Somerset and Sussex counties was supposed to be sold to pay off the debt from the project and eventually create revenue for the counties. The project cost $88 million and is currently on hold as court proceedings continue to sort out the financial debt since the halt of the project.
However, four years later, there are million of dollars that have been lost and the $88 million must be repaid to the bondholders of the project even if the panels are not installed.
"The bondholders will be paid, regardless of how," said John Eskilson, the Sussex County administrator.
The plan was for developer SunLight General to create solar panels on top of schools and other public buildings in the counties. The reason for the loss in funds is that the state solar-energy tax credit market fell after the project was already started leading to the current financial problems.
The current dispute is between the contractor and the developer as the counties try to save the project. The suit, which has been going on for the last seven months, will hopefully be resolved so that the project can continue and the counties can pay back the $88 million to bondholders.