Solar Landscape, Duke unveil rooftop system powering 375 homes in North Jersey

By Joshua Burd

An industrial owner and a developer of solar panel systems have teamed up on another project in New Jersey, unveiling a new installation atop a Wood-Ridge distribution center.

According to Solar Landscape, an Asbury Park-based firm, the rooftop project at 5 Ethel Blvd. is now powering more than 375 local homes with clean solar energy. That translates to some 2.8 million kilowatt hours of electricity annually, more than half of which will be sold to low- and moderate-income households as a lower-cost alternative to conventional energy.

It is Solar Landscape’s fourth project launched with Duke Realty Corp., the developer and owner of the Wood-Ridge building, and its sixth this year under the state’s Community Solar program.

“Our continued progress on New Jersey Community Solar projects is clearing our air and making our communities stronger,” Solar Landscape CEO Shaun Keegan said. “With the impacts of climate change becoming increasingly stark, community solar gives New Jerseyans — especially low- and middle-income households — a real way to fight global warming.

“Not only are nearby residents getting renewable energy at a lower cost than traditional sources, we are training tomorrow’s clean energy workforce statewide. We are grateful to our local partners, including the borough of Wood-Ridge and the Secaucus Housing Authority for their collaboration and for Duke Realty for tangibly demonstrating their commitment to sustainability by hosting this community solar project on their rooftop.”

Solar Landscape said the project is both fully energized and fully subscribed, having reached its goal of 350 subscribers in Bergen, Essex, Hudson and Passaic counties. Every subscriber receives a guaranteed discount in electricity expenses for every month they are part of the program.

“It is great to see that Solar Landscape has energized another project that will benefit North Jersey ratepayers,” Secaucus Mayor Michael Gonnelli said. “The purpose of community solar is to provide energy equity and access for all and that’s exactly what this project does. Hudson and Bergen County residents get the benefits of solar energy — cleaner air and lower costs — without the need for solar panels on their rooftop. We continue to support clean energy initiatives across the state.”

With their latest partnership, Solar Landscape projects on Duke Realty buildings are now expected to generate more than 13 million kilowatt hours of solar power to New Jersey communities.

“Duke Realty remains committed to thoughtful and sustainable practices that take into consideration the impact we have on the communities we serve,” said Megan Basore, Duke Realty’s vice president of corporate responsibility. “By teaming with Solar Landscape and participating in New Jersey’s Community Solar Pilot Program we are working to be good corporate citizens and helping the residents of Bergen and Hudson counties, while leading the way for a clean energy future.”

The project comes under the first year of the state Board of Public Utilities’ Community Solar Energy Pilot Program, which is administered by New Jersey’s Clean Energy Program. Enrollment is open to renters and property owners with no cost to join, no long-term contracts and guaranteed cost savings, Solar Landscape said, noting that it’s working with nonprofit organizations and community leaders to educate residents about the benefits of community solar.

“We were thrilled to reach out to our community with the opportunity to offer affordable renewable energy,” said Ameer Washington, CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of Newark, which did so for the Wood-Ridge project. “Promoting clean energy in and around Newark is a win for everyone: cleaner air, lower power bills and the opportunity to create workforce training for our future solar workforce.”

Solar Landscape joined Gov. Phil Murphy and other public officials in January to cut the ribbon on the state’s first operational community solar project, located at 960 and 1000 High St. in Perth Amboy. The firm said the projects, which are also on Duke Realty rooftops, are providing clean electricity to more than 1,100 homes.

The company’s newest project is also fully subscribed thanks to community outreach and participation from the nonprofit Newark Science and Sustainability Inc.

“Renewable energy has long been a pillar of Newark Science and Sustainability and community solar projects give us the chance to show how it works in the real world,” said Tobias Fox, managing director of the Newark Science and Sustainability. “Any meaningful change requires teamwork and we were happy to work with Solar Landscape and others to make the public aware of sustainability efforts in our community.”

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