It was a packed house for the Upper Pittsgrove meeting regarding the Stella Solar project, or American Green Power Holding’s solar project, or whoever, they’re one and the same, Ed Stella is VP of American Green Power Holding, and according to their SEC filing, he did an “arms length” lease agreement with himself!  From which he’ll get $1.3 million annually for ~600 acres of land.  … sigh… I am really in the wrong business.  It’s time to put together a vaporware project!

There were so many people that they decided to hold this part of the Planning meeting at the Grange Hall, so when they were done with the first agenda item, then everybody came over to the Grange.  All the chairs were filled, and there was hour after hour of good questions.

In New Jersey, towns get an escrow to hire experts to review an application, and in this case, their experts are good.  Sarah Birdsall, particularly, did a good analysis.  I need to get the scanner working and post it.  She’s requesting that the Town require a copy of the Power Purchase Agreement — I also want to see the PJM application.

UPDATE: I’d looked at the PJM queue, but I didn’t go back far enough.  It’s in the “V” queue, and per Rania, their engineer, there are five 20MW queue spots, but I found 6, plus a 3MW, in Upper Pittsgrove (she’d said Shirley substation) so ???  Anyway, let’s get those feasibility studies in the record!  And the rest as they come out.  Given what the distribution system looks like there, and the low load, I’m not believing they can add in 100MW without some infrastructure changes, like substation expansion, new transmission (reconductored?  bundled?  double circuit?).  We shall see.

The other thing that I think is really important is the economics of this, which Birdsall gets to when she wants a copy of the PPA.  They don’t have one yet, and with the kidns of payments going to Stella under the lease, $1.3 million annually, and a $7.5 million kicker when they get the regulatory and land use permits nailed down, it’s very hard to see how a solar project would or could cash flow with those kinds of outgoes.  That lease and $7.5 could well make the project unmarketable.

Here’s the report from Today’s Sunbeam:

Upper Pittsgrove solar farm plan tabled – for now

Saturday, March 20, 2010
By Phil Dunn

UPPER PITTSGROVE TWP- A proposal to build a 512-acre solar farm here was tabled at Thursday night’s land use board meeting after over 200 residents filled the Elmer Grange to ask questions and express their concerns about the project.

The land use board decided to table the issue to gather more information from their own professionals to provide a clearer picture of how this plan will or will not fit into the township’s master plan.

“I think this is being rammed through at record speed and we should slow down and really take a look at this application,” said resident Mike Mathis.

The project as it stands right now is split into two sections – an east and west site.

The east parcel in total is comprised of 177 acres of farmland located near the intersection of U.S. Route 40 and Burlington Road. Ninety acres of that property would be used for solar panels.

The west parcel would be located along Route 77 and its intersections with Newkirk Station Road, Colson Road, Bridgeton Road and Jefferson Road. Of that 681-acre property, 422 acres would be used for solar panels.

“This is a horrible idea and bad planning to put solar panels on what potentially could be the downtown area of Upper Pittsgrove,” said Mathis. “I don’t see an upside to this.”

The applicant, Atlantic Green Power provided a three dimensional rendering of what the solar farms will look like if implemented. Extensive landscaping will surround the facility minimizing the site of the panels with trees. Fencing will also be put up for security.

“Eight-foot high evergreen trees will be planted in front of an eight-foot high fence,” said Evan Hill, engineer for Atlantic Green Power.

The fence will also have a one or two inch gap at the bottom to allow for small wildlife to enter and exit the site, said Hill.

Though the project will cover a roughly 850-acre area the actual surface area that will be covered with panels is quite less.

“The surface area of panels for the project includes approximately 75 acres over the entire 858 acres site,” said Hill. “That is nine percent of the total developable land.”

In total, the project will generate 72 megawatts of electric that will be sold to Atlantic City Electric Co. This is enough electricity to service 7,000 homes.

Issues of additional electric poles needed to transfer energy from the solar panels to the PJM power grid were still unclear as Director of Technology and Strategic Planning Rania K. Pontikos said those studies are not complete as of yet.

Resident Nancy Merritt expressed at the meeting that she believed Atlantic Green Power is not in this for the environmental benefits, but they are developing the project strictly to make a profit.

“This is a for-profit project,” said Merritt. “No one is in it to save the planet. They want to make a profit.”

Other residents brought up noise concerns and the potential of decreased value to their property.

The noise would come from approximately 80 inverter cooling units that will be placed throughout the 512 acre site.

Steve Vavirk, sworn in as an expert witness from Sun Energy, said roughly 65 decibels of sound will be given off from the cooling inverters.

Vavirk said the refrigerator-size inverters give off a noise similar to that of an air conditioning unit.

“We all heard the Orchard Substation wasn’t going to produce noise, but come by my house and hear that going 24/7,” said Merritt, referring to Atlantic City Electric’s facility on Bridgeton Road in the township.

Vavirk said the inverter will run only in the daytime when the panels are producing energy, but will turn off at night.

No decision making will be made on the application until at least the May land use board meeting.

Land Use Board Solicitor George Rosenberger said the board has roughly 90 days to make a decision or ask for an extension.


This is a map of the footprint of the 78MW Stella Solar and Atlantic Green Power project proposed for Upper Pittsgrove, New Jersey.  I’ve ehard there are others planned nearby, but that this is the biggest.

Project description from Atlantic Green Power Holding Company 3Q 10-Q filing:

Pittsgrove Solar Farm

There are two meetings coming up about this project:

Informational Meeting

Elmer Grange Hall

Tuesday, March 16, 2010 from 6 to 8:30 p.m.

and the Land Use meeting where the town will approve or deny the application:

Upper Pittsgrove Town Hall

Thursday, March 18, 2010 at 7:30 p.m.

Now you all know how I love solar, from the solar hot water my father designed for the Minnesota Zoo to those simple little heaters you can make or buy:

Build a Simple Solar Heater

Northern Tool sells simple solar air heaters

Every house needs these simple solar heaters.

Solar PV should also be on the roof of every big box there is, and on every home.  But to be clear, I don’t think it belongs covering prime ag fields a long way from load.  That isn’t “highest and best use,” and  just doesn’t make sense when you consider the capacity factor of solar and the line loss over transmission.  So, this project seems odd…

Why do it?  Well, look who is involved and the incentives — means, motive and opportunity — and given that, I hope the town will take a close look before jumping, at the very least, require these conditions (off the top of my head):

  1. No ag land be removed from production; and
  2. No ag land be removed from ag preservation designation; and
  3. Commercial solar be limited to commercial and industrial areas; and
  4. Commercial solar be limited to roofs in rural areas.



The article way below, from Today’s Sunbeam, says it is to be built on land that “is currently owned by Ed Stella and will be leased to Atlantic Green Power…” but the Atlantic Green Power site says that Edward Stella, Jr., is the “Vice President of Project Development.”  From what I can see, this is their FIRST project.  Edward Stella as VP?  Really, it’s right here, so we’re not exactly talking about an arms length transaction:

Edward Stella, Jr.

Vice President of Project Development, Director

Edward Stella, Jr. was appointed as the Vice President of Project Development and as a Director of Atlantic Green Power Holding Company on February 3, 2010. He also was a founder of Atlantic Green Power Corporation, the wholly-owned subsidiary of Atlantic Green Power Holding Company, and has served as a Director thereof since its inception on September 17, 2009. He has over 30 years of experience in land development, land clearing and mulching operations. He is the President of Stella Contracting, Inc., one of the largest land-clearing companies operating on the East Coast, and the President of South Jersey Agricultural Products (SJAP), a company engaged in the sale of top soil and mulch to such customers as Scott’s, Coastal Supply, Home Depot and Lowes. Mr. Stella has had the honor of being nominated by Ernst & Young LLP for Entrepreneur of the Year in 2000 in the greater Philadelphia area.

If he’s connected to “such customers as Scott’s, Coastal Supply, Home Depot and Lowes” why aren’t they putting solar on the roofs of those big boxes, where it can be used, and not on prime ag land far away from big boxes?

Atlantic Green Power Holding Company has been in existence since September 17, 2009, and Edward Stella, Jr., has been “Vice President of Project Development” and a “Director” for all of a month.

A press released based blurb provides two sources for more information:

Robert Demos, Jr., President & CEO of Atlantic Green Power Holding Company


Howard Greene, Greene Inc., and CLICK HERE FOR GREENEINCPR.COM — HA!!

So now, let’s look at Lodestar Mining… from their site, their ONLY press release listed posts these links for Atlantic Green Power and Lodestar.  CLICK ON THESE LINKS THAT THEY PROVIDED:

AGPH per yahoo

So keep digging – here are their SEC filings

LGST – their own link says “There are no All Market results”


CLICK HERE for Lodestar’s 10-Q for the year ending June 30, 2008, with this statement:


From their 10-K regarding their one option contract:

And this snippet:

And again, a statement of its tenuous existence as a going concern:

These financial statements have been prepared on a going concern basis, which implies the Company will continue to realize its assets and discharge its liabilities in the normal course of business.  The Company has never generated revenues since inception and has never paid any dividends and is unlikely to pay dividends or generate earnings in the immediate or foreseeable future.  The continuation of the Company as a going concern is dependent upon the continued financial support from its shareholders, the ability of the Company to obtain necessary equity financing to continue operations and to determine the existence, discovery and successful exploration of economically recoverable reserves in its resource properties, confirmation of the Company’s interests in the underlying properties, and the attainment of profitable operations.  The Company has had very little operating history to date.  These financial statements do not include any adjustments to the recoverability and classification of recorded asset amounts and classification of liabilities that might be necessary should the Company be unable to continue as a going concern.  These factors raise substantial doubt regarding the ability of the Company to continue as a going concern.


And again, the solar project particulars:

Pittsgrove Solar Farm


Something that caught my eye on their site — which is repeated in the SEC 3Q 10-Q filing — a press release that talks about the ARRA incentive, a 30% cash payment in lieu of federal investment tax credit, and federally guaranteed loans and a 30% investment tax credit.  Seems ALL of those would apply here, so let’s say Mr. Stella is  “motivated.”

In the U.S., the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act stimulus bill of 2009 (ARRA) contains several provisions designed to alleviate renewable energy project financing constraints resulting from the economic downturn.

The ARRA establishes a temporary grant program that will allow commercial solar customers to receive a cash payment to cover 30% of the cost of installing solar equipment in lieu of the federal investment tax credit. The ARRA also appropriated $6 billion for a new loan guarantee program which the government estimates could support up to $60 billion of loans specifically for renewable energy and transmission projects. In addition, ARRA includes up to $2.3 billion for a new 30% investment tax credit for U.S. based renewable energy product production facilities.

Here’s the article from Today’s Sunbeam: