GeoGenix, an established industry leader in residential and commercial solar installations in the Mid-Atlantic region, today announced that the company held a successful event last week at Somerset Run in Franklin Township, N.J., to celebrate the completion of a 10-home “community solar” project in the Somerset County 55+ adult development.
The ceremony, which was attended by local and state government officials, members of the local press and residents of the 55+ active adult community, also honored the families who participated in the initiative with commendations for their dedication to the environment and to the state’s progressive renewable energy goals.
During his welcoming remarks, Mitchell Berman, a principal at GeoGenix, praised the homeowners who participated, noting, “New Jersey’s position as a solar leader is attributable to the residents and businesses with the boldness and imagination to become ‘early adopters’ who were willing to pioneer a transformative technology, and to lead the way for others who may lack their degree of vision and foresight. The participants in Somerset Run’s community solar program are such visionaries.”
Assemblyman Upendra J. Chivukula, who is the chairman of the Assembly’s Telecommunications and Energy Committee and the originator of many of the state’s renewable energy initiatives, was a major presence at the day’s events. He not only spoke to the Somerset Run audience about the state’s position as a national green leader but, earlier that morning, also helped launch the first episode of an educational radio series sponsored by GeoGenix and dedicated to the discussion of solar energy on EBC Radio WWTR 1170AM, New Jersey’s premier South Asian radio station.
The 15-minute show will air weekly on Wednesdays at 8 am. through mid-April 2011.
Many of the Somerset Run solar homeowners expressed gratitude to Chivukula, who represents the local district, for his leadership with regard to state renewable energy incentives.
“It’s gratifying to be recognized for your investment in solar energy, ” said Stephen Levine, 73, a Somerset Run homeowner and the owner of an 8.1-kilowatt (kW) solar system. “But looking Assemblyman Chivukula in the eye -- the very politician that made this all possible -- and saying ‘thank you’ was the highlight of my day.”
Originating in California, and being pioneered in New Jersey by GeoGenix, “community solar" is a strategy that allows residents of a community to band together to purchase solar for their individual homes at a discount. The discount is made possible by operational efficiencies such as the streamlining of the permitting process and the deployment of installation crews.
The community solar discounts, along with generous state and federal incentives, make solar a very attractive investment, especially for seniors whose retirement nest eggs are typically invested in “safe” investment vehicles, such as certificates of deposit (CDs), which are now yielding low returns.
During the open forum segment of the program, Jatinder Gulati, 70, one of the Somerset Run homeowners who decided to install solar, shared a conversation he had had with his wife about the benefits of solar, even for senior citizens who can expect that their homes will become a part of their estates before their solar systems have reached the end of their 30-year lifespans.
“My wife questioned why we were taking our money out of savings to install solar, ” he said. “At such an advanced stage in our lives, she felt we might as well keep it in savings for our children for when we pass away. I replied, ‘If you were a potential buyer of two homes that are identical except for the fact that one has a solar system that reduces the electrical bill by $1,800 a year, which one would you buy?’”
The Somerset Run solar systems will generate free electricity for at least 25 years and will also generate valuable SREC (Solar Renewable Energy Certificate) income. An SREC, which is a state renewable energy incentive based on the amount of electricity generated by a solar system, is earned each time a system generates 1,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity. SRECs, which represent an environmental benefit, are tradable certificates.
The 10 homes that comprise the Somerset Run community solar project total 80 kilowatts (kW) of generating capacity and are expected to produce nearly 100,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity annually, reducing the carbon footprint by more than 150,000 pounds of CO2, which is the equivalent of reducing the amount of miles driven in a car by 189,000. CO2 is among the harmful greenhouse gases that contribute to air pollution and to global warming.
GeoGenix (geogenix.com) is an industry leader with a proven track record in residential and commercial solar installations. They are an East Coast pioneer of “community solar, "which allows residents of a community to band together to purchase solar for their individual homes at a discount. The firm’s many achievements include the first “Net Zero” electric commercial building in the nation. While there are many new entrants in the solar business, GeoGenix has been installing solar since 2001 and has the experience and expertise that have made it one of the most trusted solar installers.