Strategic Storage Trust Inc., a publicly registered, non-traded real estate investment trust that operates self-storage properties under the SmartStop Self Storage brand name, will install solar panels on the rooftops of its three facilities in Canada. The company recently received contracts from the Ontario Power Authority’s (OPA) Feed-In Tariff (FIT) program and plans to have the photovoltaic panels in place by next fall, company officials said in a press release.
The three SmartStop facilities are in the Ontario cities of Brampton, Mississauga and Toronto. Launched in 2009 by OPA and enabled by the Green Energy and Green Economy Act of 2009, the FIT program encourages and promotes greater use of renewable energy sources including on-shore wind, waterpower, renewable biomass, biogas, landfill gas and solar photovoltaic for electricity-generating projects in the province. FIT awards contracts to buy energy at stable prices from companies that invest in renewable energy production.
“We decided to implement our ‘green’ strategy in Canada due to Ontario’s amazing FIT program,” said H. Michael Schwartz, chairman and CEO of Strategic Storage Trust. “Our goal is to continue to look for every opportunity to reduce operating expenses and maximize revenues on all our Canadian facilities.”
The company will install 250 AC units or 300 DC units on each of the three SmartStop properties. The units are expected to generate approximately 1 million kilowatt hours of renewable solar energy annually. The systems will power the self-storage facilities and generate extra energy, which will be sold to FIT at a rate of 54 cents per kilowatt, company officials said.
The SmartStop facility in Brampton consists of five buildings with 800 storage units on 4.36 acres. The solar system is expected to generate approximately 334,000 kilowatt hours per year, while the system at the Toronto facility should generate about 353,200 kilowatt hours annually, officials said. The company’s 4-acre property in Mississauga is expected to open during the fourth quarter of 2014. The annual solar energy created at that facility is expected to be 337,000 kilowatt hours.
Strategic Storage Trust’s entire portfolio includes more than 120 facilities in 17 states and Canada that are branded as SmartStop Self Storage. The portfolio includes approximately 77,000 self-storage units and 10.2 million square feet of rentable storage space.