Self-storage firm installing solar panels at some local sites

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Extra Space Storage, one of the nation’s largest self-storage chains, is installing solar panels at some of its Indianapolis locations as part of an ongoing company-wide sustainability effort.

Extra Space Storage is based in Salt Lake City, Utah, and owns and/or operates more than 1,800 locations in 40 states, including 30 sites in Indiana. Most of those are in the Indianapolis-area: 17 in Indianapolis and two each in Carmel, Fishers and Greenwood.

The first five local solar installations will be at 8040 Georgetown Road; 3350 Lafayette Road; 5390 Rockville Road; 9499 E. Washington St.; and 4732 S. Emerson Ave.

Right now, Extra Space Storage is working its way through the local permitting process. The company plans to begin installing solar panels this summer and have the work done by the end of the year, said company spokeswoman McKall Morris. Because of the high degree of business uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, that timeline could change, Morris said.

Over the next two years, Extra Space Storage plans on installing solar panels at several additional Indianapolis-area properties, for a total of about 10 locations.

The local activity is part of a larger effort at the company. Extra Space Storage started installing solar panels at its properties about 10 years ago, and has them at more than 440 locations.

“This is a push that we keep working on every year—adding more solar panels to more facilities,” Morris said.

The goal is for the solar panels to generate enough energy to power that location’s energy needs. Rarely, a location generates excess power that the company can sell to the electrical grid, Morris said.

She said rents won’t change. “Rent prices do not increase with the extra costs of installing solar, nor do they decrease once the solar investment begins to cover the energy costs.”

The company’s first installations were in states like New Jersey that offered the best solar-power tax credits and other incentives, Morris said.

Next, Extra Space Storage targeted states with higher-than average energy prices, including Hawaii. After that, the company focused on sunny climates, including Arizona and New Mexico.

After tackling those obvious locations, the company looked for other places where solar energy made sense, and Indiana made the list, Morris said.

The company’s goal is to put solar panels in as many of its locations as possible, Morris said, but it realizes that not every site is a good candidate.

A range of factors influence whether solar panels are feasible at a location. Those include local tax credits or incentives, the size of the roof, the age of the building, how much power the site uses and how much sun it receives.

Extra Space Storage was founded in 1977 and the company went public in 2004. As of the end of last year, the company owned and/or operated 1,817 locations, representing 1.3 million storage units and about 140 million square feet of net rentable space.

The company describes itself as the nation’s second-largest self-storage operator. The largest one is Glendale, California-based Public Storage, which operates 2,483 self-storage locations with a total of 169 million square feet of net rentable space.

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4 thoughts on “Self-storage firm installing solar panels at some local sites

  1. I applaud Extra Space. I am a big fan of solar have installed it at my last 2 homes with great success. I hope more companies follow Extra Space down this clean energy path as the cost of solar and battery storage continue to become more economical.

    1. Clint — I have been looking into solar panels for my residence, which I realize is different from commercial, but there is a 26% residential federal tax credit, and there is one for commercial installations as well, but I don’t know what it is. Also, Indiana exempts most solar power generation equipment from sales tax and once it’s installed, it’s free of property taxation as well. I figured all of this stuff out a few months ago and it does work out to be a little better than break even in Indiana at current electric rates (at least in my case) — however, my house is a “poor candidate” for solar panels — the roof faces the wrong way and there are neighboring tall trees, etc.

  2. Clint: I would suggest contacting a solar installation company for price information for your locations, and then compare the one-time cost of installation against your power expenses for the next 25 years. I think you’ll find it very attractive.

    I installed solar panels on my house roof in 2016 and have produced more power than I use ever since. The excess juice goes into the grid and IPL credits my account. It has been hassle free.

    The latest panels are more efficient and cheaper than even the ones I got in 2016. Solar is the future.

    I applaud Extra Space for making a smart business move.