Solar Landscape has begun construction on the first two Community Solar Year Two projects in Mount Laurel, New Jersey. The installations begin less than three weeks after the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities approved the Community Solar Pilot Program Year Two projects on October 28.
This week, Solar Landscape is beginning to install solar panels on Endurance Real Estate Group warehouses in Mount Laurel that will generate nearly 2.2 megawatts (DC) of clean renewable energy. Once energized, electricity from those panels will then be available to nearly 350 homes in the Mount Laurel area. As part of the New Jersey community solar goal to promote clean energy equity, 51% of all subscribers will be low- to moderate-income households.
For Mount Laurel Township Mayor Stephen Steglik, the new installation of solar panels at two sites in the municipalities has benefits for residents, businesses and educational institutions in the area.
"We're proud to welcome this community solar project to Mount Laurel," said Mayor Steglik. "Community solar is a new and exciting way to promote clean energy equity. Now, our residents will be able to use affordable renewable energy, regardless of home ownership or socioeconomic status. More importantly, this will bring jobs to the area while giving our educational institutions the opportunity to introduce their students to the clean energy workforce."
Endurance Real Estate Group saw the community solar project as an opportunity to be a good neighbor and further its environmental stewardship goals.
"Leasing our rooftops for community solar means that we can provide affordable clean power to our buildings' neighbors and be a catalyst for change," said Albert J. Corr, senior vice president at Endurance Real Estate Group. "Throughout the commercial real estate sector, environmental and sustainability concerns are now a part of our bottom line. We're proud to be part of the state's clean energy revolution through community solar."
In the community solar model, residents subscribe to use solar power generated by the nearby solar panels. Most Solar Landscape community solar projects are installed on top of large warehouse rooftops, like Endurance Real Estate Group's.
Solar Landscape works with local nonprofits, such as Sustainable South Jersey, to educate area residents about community solar and encourage them to subscribe at a discount of 20 to 25 percent off their monthly electrical bills.
"Community solar is an easy way for people without solar panels -- or roofs -- to get 100 percent renewable energy and save money too," said Sustainable South Jersey board president Ed Cohen. "Sustainable South Jersey is proud to partner with Solar Landscape to help local residents in the Mount Laurel area get subscribed and start their savings."
The two projects are part of Solar Landscape's 46-project Community Solar Pilot Program Year Two portfolio, which will generate 51 megawatts of solar energy for New Jersey households.
"We are grateful to work with the leadership of Mount Laurel Township, Endurance Real Estate and our nonprofit partners like Sustainable South Jersey to bring community solar to Mount Laurel," said Solar Landscape CEO Shaun Keegan. "Less than three weeks ago, this project and more than 40 other community solar installations were approved by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, and we are moving forward quickly."
2021: Time to Shine for New Jersey's Community Solar
The installations in Mount Laurel are part of many community solar milestones for New Jersey in 2021.
Earlier in November, national solar industry publication Solar Builder named a four-building installation developed by Solar Landscape as its Community Solar Project of the Year.
On October 28, 2021, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities approved Solar Landscape to begin 46 new community solar projects as part of the New Jersey Office of Clean Energy's Community Solar Pilot Project Year Two. The projects are expected to generate nearly 51 megawatts of solar energy that will be accessible to New Jersey residents - particularly low- to moderate-income families.
As part of the community solar program, Solar Landscape has partnered with nonprofits and community partners to train dozens of New Jersey residents to install solar panels on rooftops at week-long training sessions across the state. That work earned Solar Landscape's director of community engagement Kate Gold the "Top Solar Changemaker" designation from Solar Power World. Recently, Gold shared her experiences in creating the company's workforce development program with Nico Johnson on a recent episode of his podcast, SunCast.
Solar Landscape has also partnered with New Jersey community colleges, technical schools and nonprofits to introduce schoolchildren and college students to the potential of working in the solar energy industry as part of its Green Ambassador Program. Most recently, Solar Landscape and nonprofit Sustainable Jersey City awarded $20,000 in scholarships to high school seniors through its Community Sustainability Challenge scholarships.