Ohio Honda dealership goes solar with 120kW rooftop system


Freedom Solar Power, a  residential and commercial solar installer, recently completed a 120.3 kW rooftop solar array for Parkway Auto Group’s Dover, Ohio dealership.  The dealership location utilizes a 7,038 square foot solar system consisting of 248 panels, producing 120.3 kW of on-site power, creating $378,000 of energy savings over the next two decades. Each year, Parkway Honda will reduce its carbon footprint by over 91.9 metric tons of CO2, the equivalent of 1,516 trees planted and 20 cars taken off the road.

This solar initiative by Parkway Honda clears the way for future solar installments at Parkway dealerships as the company strives to become 75% sustainable energy powered in the near future with on-site clean energy.

“Parkway Honda’s partnership with Freedom Solar is making waves as one of Ohio’s premier solar installations in the automotive industry,” said Bret Biggart, chief executive officer of Freedom Solar. “We are proud to partner with them in making their business more energy-efficient and helping them become one step closer to their sustainable goals.”

“We are one of the first dealerships in the county to go solar and we are proud to be leading the way within Dover and Tuscarawas County (Ohio),” said Mark C. Mears, partner, Parkway Honda. “By diminishing our carbon footprint, we are achieving advantages never seen before rather than just reducing our electricity bill.”

The decision to go solar impacts a wide range of components beyond electricity bills, the car dealership said. Mears pointed to several factors in the company’s decision to move forward with the conversion to on-site power generation. Some of the factors included:

  • financial local and federal incentives.
  • testimony of fellow dealers in other parts of the state who have already transitioned to clean energy solutions.
  • ample roof space to accommodate solar arrays to offset a large percentage of energy costs.
  • Solar contractor referral from Honda Green Dealer, an initiative designed by Honda to aid independently owned and operated Honda dealers in reducing their environmental footprint.

As a participant in the Honda Green Dealer Program, Parkway Honda strives to implement green initiatives within the dealership network, including battery storage. Parkway Honda is working to reduce its energy usage while upgrading its operations to become more sustainable.

“Installing solar has become a cost-reduction strategy for entrepreneurial automotive dealers and is growing rapidly amongst dealerships nationwide,” said Biggart.

Since 2020, the solar investment tax credit (ITC) has been a major driver for U.S. organization’s decision to go solar.

Freedom Solar’s commercial installation group includes automotive dealerships, providing turn-key solar generation systems for U.S. dealerships.

According to the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA), energy costs can be a dealership’s third-highest overhead operating expense due to long operating hours and energy-intensive showrooms and car lots. With rising energy costs over the last year, many dealerships are turning to solar power to mitigate their high energy expenditures and ensure electricity reliability.

“From a financial standpoint, going solar was an extremely smart investment,” said Mears. “Switching to solar power also demonstrates our commitment to environmental sustainability, which is an integral aspect of our company that we consistently strive towards.”

Ohio currently has over 916 MW of solar installed, ranking 26th in the country, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). Solar provides 0.9% of Ohio’s electricity, but that is expected to change, as SEIA’s projection is that nearly 8.8 GW of solar will be installed over the next five years, making Ohio one of the top five solar states in the country.

Founded in 2007, Freedom Solar is an Austin, Texas-based licensed installer of SunPower modules and Tesla Powerwall battery systems, and has installed over 154 MW of assets to date. The company has operations in Texas, Colorado, Florida, Virginia, North Carolina and Ohio. The company has installed solar arrays for auto dealerships including Honda, BMW, Subaru and Toyota.

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