One of the top 100 largest car dealerships in the United States, Arlington Toyota of Palatine, Illinois, commissioned Texas installer Solar One to build a 1,734-module solar array on its 2.9-acre building.
The rooftop solar array generated 256,930 kWh of electricity in its first five months of operation, offsetting 50% of the site’s demand. It also offset the dealership’s carbon dioxide emissions by 128 tons.
Solar One offered the dealership an innovative financing solution with no upfront cost to make the project happen. “The up-front investment required has been a hurdle that we were finally able to overcome with this project,” said Aaron Wilson, chief executive officer, Solar One.
The installation was built and financed by the installer, and the initial investment will be recouped once Arlington Toyota takes in incentives like Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SRECs), rebates from the state of Illinois, and the federal investment tax credit.
“SRECs become payable upon certain production targets being achieved, which means it is in the interests of both Solar One and Arlington Toyota that the technology we install will produce the most energy possible,” said Wilson.
Looking to maximize production at the site, Solar One tapped its partnership with inverter and optimizer provider SolarEdge. The project called for five SolarEdge 100 kW inverters along with power optimizers attached to each pair of modules.
The optimizers increase energy production while mitigating the effects of soiling and shading. Optimizers allow for independent operation of the paired modules, meaning that installers can make the most of a roof space, installing some panels near obstructions without risking lowering production for the array system-wide.
“SolarEdge is now an important part of our identity, and it has enabled us to offer something unique in the market,” said Wilson.
The company’s optimizers can be remotely monitored for production information and fault detection. Solar One will be sent automatic notifications with a pinpoint location of the fault, allowing for a fast repair. The company said this will lead to reduced maintenance costs over the life of the system, contributing to a return on investment of seven years.
“Following the success of the Arlington Toyota project, we have since funded projects for several other similar sized businesses in the U.S.,” said Wilson. “Our solution means that customers can install solar with no upfront cost and enjoy 100% of the benefits and the energy it generates.”
“The solar installation is a tremendous asset to our business, our image, and to our electricity bill, which is now 50% reduced from what it used to be before we installed the system,” said Gary Vicari, president of Arlington Toyota.
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