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Solar Company Seeks To Aid Low- And Moderate-Income Families

A project touted to help reduce the utility bills for township low- and moderate-income families is expected to receive the Township Council’s support.

The project was introduced to the Council’s Public Works Committee by representatives from Manhattan-based Dimension Renewable Energy, who propose installing solar arrays on some of the township’s larger warehouse buildings, Township Councilman Ted Chase (D-Ward 1) told the Council at its November 24 virtual meeting.

The arrays would only be installed on the larger roofs, Chase said, such as a 1 million-square-foot building on Veronica Avenue.

“Then low- and moderate-income people in the township, according to the mutual definition of that, can sign up to buy essentially the electricity generated from this project, and they will receive a discount, essentially a rebate, which is basically money that comes from Board of Public Utilities, from the charge on everyone’s bill to put forward solar projects,” he said.

“What this accomplishes is that more electricity will be generated from solar cells in New Jersey, sparing us from Co2 generation, and the low- and moderate-income people will receive something off on their electric bills, if they sign up,” Chase said. “If they want to leave, then they leave it, but since they’re saving money, I should think they wouldn’t want to leave it.”

Chase said this project is not like solar energy offers homeowners receive in the mail.

“This should be distinguished from the kind of projects I assume everybody else gets, frequent mailings from firms that want to sell you solar electricity, and the experience of some people have been they give you an attractive rate the first year and the second year the rate goes up higher than what you’d pay PSE&G,” he said

“But in this case, it’s essentially a subsidy from the BPU so it’s guaranteed and won’t go away,” he said. “We on the committee think this is a very good idea and hopefully on the consent agenda at our next meeting will be a resolution in support of this.”

Chase said the company still has to apply to the BPU for permission to run the program.

Company officials have told Chase that “this will be the largest project they have done simply because of the size of the warehouses involved.”

“The Environmental Commission has been interested in getting a community solar project of this nature going, but I think we were thinking in terms of ground mounted,” Chase said. “Obviously to put the cells on the roofs of warehouses is a much better way to do it; we’re not losing any farmland or cutting down any trees for solar cells, we’re just using the warehouse roofs.”

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