Solar_hobbymasters_red_bankThe view north from Hobbymasters’ roof, which gets unimpeded exposure to the sun.

In what’s being billed as the largest installation of its kind in the Red Bank area, game & toy retailer Hobbymasters plans to cover the roof of its White Street building in electricity-generating solar panels next month.

Alan Placer, whose family owns Hobbymasters and the two-story building that houses it, calls its 9,600-square-foot roof “a perfect platform” for the project because it’s flat and gets full sun exposure.

When completed, the $180,000 system is expected to throw off 23 kilowatts of power, saving the store an estimated $500 a month in electricity costs, says Placer.

“All in all, the system will have paid for itself and the [underlying new] roof in five years,” Placer says, citing cost savings, federal tax depreciation credits and tradable Solar Renewable Energy Certificates issued by the state that could alone be worth up to $20,000 a year.

A state grant is covering one-third of the costs.

Placer and his family are big on conservation; readers may recall our item on his mom, Arlene, and her effort to recycle packing peanuts.

The solar project has been in the works for more than a year, following discussions about the need for a new roof that employees weighed in on, too.

“It was time to put a new roof on the building, and all of the employees wanted to do it greener,” Placer says in a notice on the store’s website. “After exploring a grass roof, wind turbines, or solar, it was determined that solar panels were our most green option.”

Garden State Solar in Middletown is the contractor on the installation. More information on the project is available here.

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