DELANCO — A new township solar farm will provide clean energy to more than 700 residents in Burlington, Camden and Mercer counties, according to officials.
The solar farm opened Thursday morning with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 900 Coopertown Road. Soltage, the project developer, hosted the event alongside local officials like state Sen. Troy Singleton.
The Delanco site is "one of the inaugural community solar projects in New Jersey," according to a sign-up website for the energy service. It is part of the Community Solar Energy Pilot Program, run by the state Board of Public Utilities, which "provides access to solar energy through a subscription-based model that allows residents to connect to a solar installation within their electric distribution company’s service territory," according to an April BPU news release.
Soltage also built the farm on an old landfill site, the first such project in the Garden State, according to CEO Jesse Grossman.
Zac Meyer, the company's development manager, said 51 percent of subscription slots are reserved for low and moderate income residents, per an agreement with the BPU.
Low and moderate income subscribers will be able to save 20 percent per month on their electric bills, or about $120 per year, according to Soltage officials. Higher income subscribers will be able to save 10 percent per month.
"Anytime we can turn brown fields into community assets, we've done a good thing," Singleton said. "This allows our communities to get the energy they need."
The farm uses solar panels to connect sunlight to the energy grid.
Soltage, a Jersey City-based renewable power producer, built this Delanco site for a dollar figure in the millions, according to Meyer. It then partnered with Neighborhood Sun, a Maryland-based company that recruits subscribers to community solar projects, to reach out to area residents to convince them to sign up.
It hasn't been a hard sell, according to Sherry Robinson, Neighborhood Sun's director of sales. Almost 600 households signed up before the ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday.
"Clean energy provides a healthy environment for all," Robinson said. "And community solar makes it available for everyone, instead of the few who can afford rooftop solar."
With more than 100 spots still available, officials are encouraging residents to apply.
It does not matter what town, within Burlington, Camden and Mercer, or type of home you live in, said Robinson. Sign up at this link: https://ns.solarforall.io/signup.cfm?project_id=14.
Officials are also hoping that this model, which repurposes old land and combines clean energy with equity, becomes a new standard in the state. The BPU is in the process of considering more than 400 applications for community solar projects.
"This project perfectly demonstrates the impact clean energy has at the local level," Grossman said.