For Immediate Release February 23, 2023
“Community Solar Circle Addresses the Future of Camden at Business Council Meeting”
On Tuesday, February 21, 2023, Stephen Renz, President of Community Solar Circle, spoke at
the “Future of Community Led & Inclusive Economic Development” discussion in Camden, N.J., hosted by the South Jersey Chamber of Commerce’s Camden Business Council.
The event led with opening remarks by the Mayor of Camden, Victor Carstarphen, who said, “This room is a powerful room. It’s made up of so many partners so many collaborations, and it means a lot to me as a Mayor for you to continue to step forward, come together, network, develop relationships; and many of you do work in the city of Camden, and I thank you.”
Mayor Carstarphen acknowledged many people by saying, “there’s some great individuals up here who are doing great things together for our city. I’m always humble, I’m always thankful to be
in a room like this. Let’s keep on pushing, let’s keep on being better, and let’s make Camden great.”
Community Solar Circle’s President was joined by other leaders invested in Camden’s future, including Dana L. Redd, former Mayor of Camden, current President & CEO of Camden Community Partnership and Member of CCSNJ Board of
Directors; Nicholas J. Cangelosi, Senior Vice President of Development at The Michaels Organization; and Nathaniel Echeverria, Executive Director of Camden Special Services District.
Nichelle Pace, Vice President of Camden Business Association and moderator of the event, had
the opportunity to introduce Renz with a few personal nods.
“I love this company. I’ve worked with this company. They’re very new to the city, so we’re
excited to introduce you to them,” Pace said.
Renz started with his personal experience with Camden, which led him to that point. He’s devoted time and energy volunteering and studying in the city. Years later, he is proud to say
he’s founded a company in downtown Camden.
“Community solar is an inclusive concept that allows people to participate in the solar energy
movement that traditionally have not been able to. Think renters and people who can’t afford the
loans and down payments associated with rooftop systems. People whose roofs don’t get enough sun or homeowners in Camden with roofs that are old, flat, and tar-based, which are not solar-friendly.”
Renz acknowledged this particular audience at the Camden Business Council already had an understanding of Camden’s census data concerning poverty levels, unemployment, graduation rates, among other important issues.
“I have different numbers to share with you tonight. Ones that will demonstrate how we are
going to make a direct economic impact on the city. Numbers such as the millions of dollars
we’re going to save the residents that live here. The number of local, sustainable jobs that we
are going to create. And the amount of money that will be donated back into local nonprofits.”
Renz presented Community Solar Circle’s business model with a short video explaining how the
subscriber format works and that everyone, including those without a sustainably-suited roof,
will have access to solar energy. As stated in the video, “any metered customer of an electric
utility can participate, including homeowners, renters, businesses, schools – any metered
Another incentive for subscribers, Renz stated, was “[we] will not be charging any upfront fees to start or maintain a subscription. And we are allowing subscribers to cancel at any time, for any reason.”
He explained that once the company has enough
subscribers to each site, customers will start seeing savings on their monthly bills. Still, he emphasized that no one would be charged until their services began and that this “lag time is standard in emerging community solar markets.”
Subscribers wouldn’t be the only ones to reap the
benefits of Community Solar Circle. One part of their unique approach is pledging to create jobs for local youth with the goals of education and sustaining the future of Camden’s solar energy.
“In states that administer their community solar
programs in a similar manner to New Jersey, the
growth has been explosive. This will lead to the
creation of many professional, sustainable green
energy jobs, including sales and marketing,
administration, database management, GIS mapping, mid-level management, and Executive-level positions. Our vision is to fill all of these roles with Camden residents. We’re going to achieve this through the relationships we are forming with
our nonprofit partners and by giving preferential hiring treatment to the people of Camden.”
Local nonprofits are one source for talented employees. Community Solar Circle wants to
support their missions, too, by giving every new subscriber the option to choose a Camdenbased nonprofit to receive a $100 donation.
Renz concluded his presentation by asking business leaders of Camden to join Community
Solar Circle, and with a note of optimism, said, “I believe that my company can make a difference for the people that live here.”
Stephen Renz, President