by Staff Writers
Mansfield NJ (SPX) May 14, 2012
GeoGenix has announced that it has signed 20 new contracts to install rooftop residential solar systems at Four Seasons at Mapleton, an age-restricted single-family development in the Burlington County, N.J., township of Mansfield. GeoGenix started installing residential systems at Four Seasons at Mapleton in 2007.
Including the 20 new contracts, GeoGenix has - or will have - installed solar systems on 40 of the 428 homes in the community - or roughly 10 percent. The installations were made possible through "community solar," a concept that allows residents to band together to purchase solar for their individual homes at a discount.
"We're thrilled to announce 20 new projects at Four Seasons at Mapleton," said Gaurav Naik, principal of Old Bridge, N.J.-based GeoGenix. "Homeowners hear their neighbors talking about the benefits of solar and they want to join in. The savings on electricity, coupled with an appealing price made possible through state and federal subsidies and the 'community solar' approach, has solar spreading like wildfire."
GeoGenix, which has been installing solar since 2001, is an industry leader with a proven track record in residential and commercial solar installations. The community solar discount is made possible by operational efficiencies such as the streamlining of the permitting process, using one or two designs instead of creating a new design for each home and the efficient deployment of installation crews.
At the state level, the systems generate Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SRECs), a financial incentive representing the environmental benefits of solar, each of which is the equivalent of 1,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity. SRECs, which are generated for the first 15 years of a system's life, are purchased by utilities from solar producers in order to meet a state-mandated requirement for solar electricity.
At the federal level, system owners receive a 30 percent tax credit for the full cost of the system within the first year.
Many of the homeowners funded their systems through the New Jersey utility Public Service Electric and Gas' (PSE&G) solar loan program. The loan is being repaid with the SRECs that the system generates.
Taking state and federal subsidies and the upfront check from the PSE and G loan program into consideration, the average payback for a residential system is dramatically reduced. Since the lifespan is typically 30 years, this means that homeowners will generate free electricity for another 20 plus years after the system has paid for itself.
"Installing solar is an extremely attractive deal, especially for seniors living on fixed incomes," said Naik. "While most of the residents at Four Seasons were originally motivated to install solar for financial reasons, including as a hedge against future rate increases, they have developed a greater appreciation of the environmental benefits as they have come to realize that they are leaving a cleaner world for their grandchildren."
On average, the systems at Four Seasons offset 85 percent of the homes' energy consumption. The total wattage of all the systems that will be installed is about 140 kilowatts, bringing the total wattage of systems to 280 kilowatts. This equates to the reduction of about 428,000 pounds of CO2 emissions per year, which is the equivalent of offsetting the power demand of 48 homes for one year, planting 5,030 trees or removing 36 cars from the road annually.
The receptiveness to solar has changed dramatically from 2007, when GeoGenix sought to install the first solar systems at Four Seasons. At that time, GeoGenix joined with homeowners interested in installing solar to challenge a decision by the homeowners association to prohibit solar. That challenge resulted in a state law - believed to be the nation's first - that prohibits homeowners associations from outlawing solar.
"Some members of the community's governing organizations who originally opposed solar now have it on their homes, which shows how far solar has come in terms of public acceptance," said Naik. "We are delighted about the role we played in the enactment of state legislation that has become a model for similar legislation throughout the country, and that has accelerated the adoption of solar."
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Elkridge MD (SPX) May 14, 2012
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