The New Jersey Clean Energy Program, an initiative pushed by New Jersey’s Board of Public Utilities, has slowly taken shape in the state in the last few years. Late last year, Delran was one of the communities selected for projects to install solar panels on properties that don’t qualify for them, be they apartments or homes too small for installation.
The township’s solar work will be done by the Asbury Park-based energy company Solar Landscape.
“It used to be that solar was only available to people who had the ability to put panels on their house rooftop,” said company representative Betsy McBride. “That would mean that they had a house. Now, anyone in an apartment, a condo, senior-living development, can all participate, because the panels aren’t on your individual home, but on a rooftop of a commercial building.”
The roof of 601 Delran Parkway has been selected for installation, and while the solar project is open to all residents, its priority is low- and moderate-income families. Of the 110 Delran homes approved by the Board of Public Utilities for installation, 60 will be set aside for those families after they apply.
“The important piece is that anyone can participate,” Delran Green Team President Deb Hammond explained. “There’s a lot of people like myself who would love to have solar. I’ve had people out to look and they’ve said no. The best I could’ve hoped for was 50 percent of my power … You can participate even if you’re renting a house.”
The 110 homes, apartments and other living spaces will be fully powered by solar energy and are expected to see their energy costs decrease by 25 percent. Delran is unique in that the township not only fully supported the solar work, but has advertised it to residents.
Hammond has already enrolled in the program, something she said it five minutes to do.
“We have been hoping to see a project of this kind come to fruition in Delran for some time, so that residents who do not enjoy property ownership can still benefit from solar energy,” said Mayor Gary Catrambone.
“This is a unique opportunity for a smaller solar solar project to demonstrate how well this process can work for everyone in our Delran family.”
To enroll in the solar project or for more information, residents can attend a free information session at the Delran municipal building at 7 p.m. on Jan. 9.