08/21/2023 | by Sarah Borchersen-Keto
solar panels on a Public Storage rooftop

Public Storage (NYSE:PSA) is enhancing its commitment to sustainability and the communities in which it operates by initially dedicating more than 8 million square feet of rooftop space across three states to host community solar installations—providing power for more than 10,000 homes with affordable renewable energy.

Public Storage is partnering with rooftop solar developer Solar Landscape on 133 rooftop community solar projects in Maryland, New Jersey, and Illinois. The 87.53-megawatt MW (DC) clean energy portfolio is one of the largest in the nation making affordable renewable energy accessible to low- and moderate-income (LMI) residents. Public Storage’s expansive geographic footprint, well-located properties, and well-regarded reputation and brand were instrumental in the various municipalities awarding projects in such scale, the REIT said.

Under the arrangement, Public Storage receives lease income from Solar Landscape, which will install its own solar panels on the rooftop space. For its part, Public Storage has to ensure that its rooftops are in secure condition, with a significant amount of useful life remaining, according to John Sambuco, president of asset management at Public Storage.

In addition to providing affordable renewable energy for LMI residents, Public Storage is “reducing our collective carbon impact on the environment and converting non-used rooftop area into socioeconomically productive space for our company,” Sambuco said. He noted that LMI residents that are community solar subscribers typically enjoy a 20%-30% discount over prevailing energy rates.

Public Storage’s 57 community solar installations in Maryland will serve nearly 2,600 homes, many of them LMI families, making it the largest portfolio of projects from a single company in the Maryland Community Solar Pilot Program’s LMI subcategory. These projects will save Maryland residents nearly $1 million per year on their energy bills.

The community solar partnership also includes 21 projects that were announced July 27 by the Illinois Power Agency (IPA) as part of its Community-Driven Community Solar tranche of the Illinois Shines program. The 21 projects will serve nearly 1,500 households. Public Storage plans to dedicate up to 44 of its properties in Illinois to community solar, including the 21 approved by the IPA, and meanwhile plans to dedicate another 32 properties in New Jersey.

The 133 committed solar projects in the partnership with Solar Landscape represent 13% of Public Storage’s commitment to install solar on more than 1,000 properties by 2025. “Our rooftops present a big opportunity for solar energy generation and use by us and our local communities,” Sambuco noted. In the case of single-story self-storage buildings, upwards of 90% of roof space could be utilized for community solar, he added, with the remaining 10% for the REIT’s own use.

In addition to the 133 Solar Landscape projects, Sambuco said, Public Storage currently has more than 300 operating owned solar facilities in place, with approximately 600 additional facilities under contract. The REIT is talking to a range of solar developers about doing more projects in other states, both on an owned and community solar basis, he added.