New Jersey Self Storage Businesses Go Green With Solar Power

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New Jersey Self Storage Businesses Go Green With Solar Power

"Self storage" might not be a phrase that immediately comes to mind when  Smart Solar Box Review people hear the words "eco-friendly business" or "green facility." But maybe it should be. In New Jersey, self storage owners are among a small cadre of entrepreneurs who are leading the way to a greener business community, showing other businesspeople that a green facility is not just good for the environment - it's good business.

"Operationally, we take our utility bills down to zero," says Mike Lackland, the chief executive officer of Lackland Self Storage. Lackland is spending $15 million to install solar panels on its 23 New Jersey facilities. When the installation is complete, it will generate 2.5 megawatts of electricity, saving Lackland $600,000/year.Premier Self Storage, of Egg Harbor Township, is also entirely solar-powered. Schaeffer had 754 solar panels installed at Premier last fall. Each panel can generate 210 watts of electricity. As a whole, the facility can produce more than 150 kilowatts.

Powering his business entirely with solar energy seemed like a dream to Premier's owner, Tim Schaeffer, when he first constructed his facility in 2007. "It had been in the planning stages for so long....the programs for solar were not available at the time," Schaeffer recalled. Programs to support a company's transition to solar energy are available now, especially in New Jersey, which is second among the states in solar installations. Part of the money for the new installations is coming from the federal economic stimulus package. Instead of offering a mere tax credit for solar installations, the federal package offers a grant that can pay for 30 percent of the cost of the construction, if construction begins before the end of 2010.

Another way to finance the installation of solar panels is to sell solar renewable energy credits (SRECs). One credit is equal to the value of one megawatt of electricity generated by solar panels on a home or business. Business owners or homeowners can sell their certificates and use the money from the sales to finance the solar system. The easiest way to do this is to sell certificates to New Jersey's electric companies, which are required by law to invest in solar power.

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