Three years ago, Stuff Hotel, a San Antonio-based self storage business, installed solar panels on one of their facilities. The facility was a test case for them. They wanted to see how much savings they got before putting solar panels on their other facilities.

The company installed a 28-kilowatt solar array at their facility at the 9018 Poteet Jourdanton Freeway location. Recently, they added more solar panels and expanded their system by another 21-kilowatts.

And now the verdict has come in. With the recent expansion, Stuff Hotel expects to reduce the facility’s annual electricity bill by 80 percent. That adds up to $6,000 a year. The panels costs $150,000 and they expect that the system will pay for itself in three years.

Because of this significant savings, they will add solar panels at three of their other facilities. They currently have 10 storage facilities throughout Texas and Mississippi. However, they are only going to install solar panels in cities where local utilities offer solar incentives. Without those tax incentives, adding a solar system is not financially feasible.

In other news in the self storage industry, there is a new start-up company in New York City that offers storage to city residents who live in tiny spaces and yet have lots of possession. The startup is called urBin.

Joshua Ernst and Justen Scheule co-founded the company. It was inspired by Joshua’s struggles of limited storage space in his NYC apartment. That experience was painful for him. He had a hard time renting storage space and when he finally did he couldn’t easily get to and from his storage unit.

Granted, there are other self storage facilities that offer free shuttle rides to and from their facilities. However, that is on a first-come first-served basis. With urBin, the company drops off a 20x20x40 inch bin to their customer. The customer fills it and the company picks it up and then stores the bin in a storage facility in Secaucus, New Jersey.

It costs $20 per month to rent an urBin storage bin. For those who have larger items such as furniture or a bicycle, for a slightly higher rate they can store those items with urBin, too.

Their vans that pick up the bins have a colorful and eye-catching design painted on them. It is of the New York skyline and of urBin’s logo. It also has a QR code painted on that passersby can scan to get more information about the company.
ufBin states that their customers will save an average of $50 per month compared to traditional storage. Their service is available to customers in Manhattan, Brooklyn, parts of the Bronx and Queens, and North Jersey.

Sources Used:

“Self Reliant Solar expands system for storage unit company.” San Antonio Business Journal; 3 April 2014.

“This NYC Startup Will Cheaply Store Your Excess Stuff in NJ.” BetaBeat; 3 April 2014.

Stuff Hotel.

Easy urban storage:urBin.

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