Two self storage facilities in the northeastern United States have jumped onto the renewable energy bandwagon, adding rooftop solar panels to offset some of their electricity bills. In the last week, Thornwood Self Storage of Thornwood, New York, and English Creek Self Storage of Egg Harbor, New Jersey, have both added solar panels.
Thornwood Self Storage already had a relatively eco-friendly facility. It was built to be energy efficient, offered only recyclable and/or biodegradable packing materials, and used only green cleaning products. It had vegetation strategically planted around the facility so that it would not need an underg
round irrigation system. And its lights turn on only in response to motion sensors, so that lights are not used when no one is there to need them.
Thornwood’s owners decided its other green features were not enough, however, and recently decided to add 405 rooftop solar panels. The solar panels will generate 82 kilowatts of electricity.
“The solar energy system is part of our long-term initiative to uphold high standards as a ‘green’ facility,” explained Thornwood co-owner, Dan Kasman, in today’s Earth Times. “We expect the solar system to offset 68,897 pounds of carbon emissions per year, which is equivalent to recycling more than 1.5 million soda cans. It also eliminates burning 8,295 gallons of gasoline and will save countless dollars toward the cost of energy.” Kasman and co-owner Michael Gyory financed the solar add-on with incentives from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) Solar Electric Incentive Program, and with a federal grant. Together, the grant and incentives offset about 70 percent of the cost of the additions, which were installed by Mercury Solar Systems.
Like Thornwood, English Creek Self Storage used government incentives to help finance its solar energy project. English Creek added a solar energy system that will generate 101,660 kilowatts and is expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere by about 153,114 cubic pounds each year. English Creek’s project was paid for in part by a rebate from the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities and by the New Jersey Clean Energy Program’s Solar Renewable Energy Credit Pilot Program. English Creek also benefited from the Investment Tax Credit, added in 2008 to encourage businesses to adopt solar energy features.
Even with the government incentives, English Creek’s owner, Nick Droboniku, could not have financed his solar system if an angel investor had not stepped forward. Droboniku told the Wall Street Journal that four community banks declined to invest in his project. He expects to pay off the balance of what he owes partly by selling renewable energy credits through Screctrade.com, a San Francisco-based online marketplace. The company will also save about $18,000 per year on utility costs.
“When you can do something that makes economic sense and support the environment, that’s always good,” Droboniku said in Thursday’s Wall Street Journal.