Community solar on New Jersey self-storage facility benefits low-income residents


Solar Landscape, a community solar owner and operator, today announced that the solar developer connected a community solar project to the grid in Neptune, New Jersey. This is the second of 46 projects in approved by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) in Year 2 of the Community Solar Energy Pilot Program, which approved approved 164 MW of new community solar projects, with the capacity aimed at serving low-to-moderate-income (LMI) households.

The community solar program is administered by New Jersey’s Clean Energy Program, which provides access to solar energy through a subscription-based model. It is open to 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.

The solar energy generated on the Extra Space Storage facility rooftop is sold at a guaranteed discount of at least 21% on their electricity usage. The discounts would begin appearing on community solar subscribers’ first utility bill in some cases, although in other cases they may take up to 90 days once a project is activated. 

The project is located on the 800,000 square foot rooftop of an Extra Space Storage facility, and is the first of 10 planned installations on facilities owned by the national self-storage company. This first installation will generate approximately 500 kW of energy. With the additional installations, Solar Landscape is expected to generate 6.5 MW of renewable energy on Extra Space Storage rooftops, or enough to power more than 1,400 nearby homes.

“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. Thank you to Solar Landscape, and everyone who worked to bring this project to fruition,” said Vin Gopal, New Jersey State Senator from Monmouth.

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. The Community Solar Energy Pilot Program is part of Governor Murphy’s clean energy plan to 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. 

Regulators awarded 78 MW across 45 projects during the pilot program’s first year, exceeding a 75 MW goal. While the pilot required that at least 40% of all approved projects reserve at least 51% of their capacity for low- and middle-income households, all of the approved renewable energy projects met that goal. Regulators also said that the state will transition the two-year-old pilot community solar program to permanent status. The decision to move to a permanent program now rather than wait for a third year of the pilot to commence was driven by the pilot’s early success.

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