Solar Landscape has connected the first of its award-winning community solar projects to the grid in Neptune, New Jersey. Located on the Extra Space Storage facility, the project is the second of 46 approved by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) in Year 2 of the Community Solar Energy Pilot Program.
The Neptune community solar site will generate approximately 500 kW of energy. Approved by the NJBPU just over a year ago, the project was the first in the state to complete construction in August. The Extra Space Storage facility is one of 10 New Jersey sites owned by the national self-storage operator that is hosting community solar projects with Solar Landscape.
“I’m thrilled to see the swift rollout of the Community Solar Program continue, especially locally,” said New Jersey State Senator Vin Gopal (D-Monmouth). “The activation of this project will extend solar access to Monmouth County residents who would otherwise be unable to benefit from clean energy, while also making crucial progress toward achieving New Jersey’s clean energy goals.”
In December the project was named Solar Builder’s “U.S. Community Solar Project of the Year,” a recognition Solar Landscape has earned two years in a row.
Extra Space Storage’s New Jersey community solar projects created local jobs for installers who placed solar panels across 800,000 sq ft of rooftop. The portfolio will generate 6.5 MW of renewable energy to power more than 1,400 nearby homes, most of which are low- and moderate-income families.
“We’re proud to serve the communities where we do business in more ways than one,” said McKall Morris, communications and sustainability manager for Extra Space Storage. “By meeting customers’ self-storage needs while also powering nearby homes, our facilities show how we can do right by our customers, our communities, and the environment.”
In its first year, the portfolio is projected to generate 7,460,646 kWh of energy. Residents in Neptune City, Neptune Township, Asbury Park City, Avon-by-the-Sea, Belmar Boro, Bradley Beach Boro, Ocean Township, Tinton Falls and Wall Township can subscribe to use solar energy generated on the Extra Space Storage facility rooftop at a 21% guaranteed discount. New Jerseyans in hundreds of other towns across the state can also sign up to receive lower-cost solar energy soon from one of Solar Landscape’s 45 other community solar projects.
“With the support of a commercial real estate leader like Extra Storage Space, we can provide cost-saving solar power to residents, many of whom thought they’d never be able to use solar energy,” said Shaun Keegan, CEO of Asbury Park-based Solar Landscape. “Just a year ago, we received approval on this project and now it’s providing a valuable benefit to the residents here. We look forward to energizing even more projects very soon.”
Solar Landscape’s community solar installations are the product of collaboration between the public sector, private sector and nearby nonprofits.
“In Asbury Park and Neptune, community solar is providing job opportunities and affordable clean energy,” said Semaj Vanzant Sr., development manager of the Launch Center at Asbury Park-based Interfaith Neighbors. “We have seen first-hand how New Jersey’s clean energy economy can benefit residents. One of our SOAR alumni completed Solar Landscape’s solar installation training program and is now a full-time employee with their company. We’re also pleased that nearby residents can take advantage of the program to lower their energy costs and fight climate change at the same time.”
The NJBPU’s Community Solar Energy Pilot Program is part of Gov. Phil Murphy’s clean energy agenda. The program expands access to renewable energy for those who previously could not install solar panels for reasons such as high costs, lack of roof control or a shaded property.
“Climate change affects us all, but not everyone has had equal access to clean energy,” said Randi Moore, CEO of Neptune-based Affordable Housing Alliance. “Together with Solar Landscape and the state’s community solar program, we save on utility costs and empower our affordable housing residents to join the nation’s clean energy transition.”
Through the New Jersey Community Solar Energy Pilot Program’s Year 1 and 2, Solar Landscape has 70 MW of solar energy built or under construction.
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