Decatur Self Storage in Decatur, Ga., has added enough solar panels to its facility to provide more than 100 percent of its electricity needs. Radiance Solar, an Atlanta-based contractor specializing in the design, installation and maintenance of solar-energy systems, completed the 100 kW solar-photovoltaic installation last week. The system includes 396 panels that will produce 134,000 kWh of power annually.
“The economic advantages of solar for my businesses were irresistible,” said Mike Easterwood, owner of Decatur Self Storage. “The system will pay for itself in a few years, and I am essentially eliminating my power bill for the long term.”
Easterwood also believes adding solar-power capability to the facility will significantly increase the value of the self-storage property.
“As an appraiser and investor, I made the decision to go solar because it’s a 25-plus year asset that produces significant income/savings in property operation, and ultimately adds about $250,000 in value to my building,” he said.
The addition of solar panels to the facility’s roof is the latest alteration to a property with a colorful history. The building was built in 1947 and originally owned by the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce. Decatur Self Storage purchased the building in 1997 from Lennox Industries and converted the distribution warehouse to self-storage in 1999. The building also features a mural on the front of the building that was painted by one of the facility’s early tenants, artist Angela Bond. The mural has become a local landmark, according to the company’s website.
“Decatur Self Storage is exactly the kind of facility that is able to take advantage of solar and experience a considerable drop in their energy costs,” said James Marlow, CEO of Radiance Solar. “With the cost of commercial solar continuing to drop, we’re seeing a lot of interest from business owners like Mike Easterwood who are very excited about the idea of lowering or eliminating their power bill.”