Florida Chevy dealership activates 730 kW rooftop solar system


A central Florida, family-run Chevrolet dealership nearing 100 years in business added an electrifying accolade to its corporate milestones by adopting solar. Dimmitt Chevrolet, a Clearwater, Fla., new and used car dealership, activated a 730 kW rooftop solar array installed by ESA Solar.

Consisting of more than 2,000 panels, Dimmit Chevrolet’s solar system is expected to generate more than 1 GWh of electricity per year. The annual clean energy produced is the equivalent to 750 homes and will offset over 156 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions. The dealership is expected to power 100% of its operations by the on-site solar facility, and by tapping into expanded federal tax incentives from the Inflation Reduction Act, will return all capital invested through energy savings in just under five years.

An ESA Solar spokesperson told pv magazine USA the commercial rooftop array features SunPower modules with PanelClaw and Ironridge racking hardware, with inverters from SMA Solar Technology.

“This is a major step towards our goal of becoming a more sustainable and environmentally friendly business,” said Lawrence Dimmitt III, owner of Dimmitt Chevrolet. “As we continue to add more EV options for customers, our electricity use will continue to go up. It just makes sense to invest in clean energy.”

Auto dealers have a substantial opportunity to attract consumers as the demand for EVs increases. EV sales increased 45% from 2020 to 2021, and hybrid vehicle sales nearly doubled, according to Boston Consulting Group. By 2025, BCG estimates that EVs may account for 19% of all new U.S. car sales, and by 2035, as much as 68% of all new vehicles sold in the U.S.

Other auto dealerships to add solar to their operations include Arlington Toyota of Palatine, Ill., Parkway Auto Group of Dover, Ohio, and TC Chevy of Ashland, Ore., according to pv magazine USA.

Based in Maitland, Fla., ESA Solar works with auto dealers across the U.S. to develop tailored solar programs to maximize available tax credits and incentives, while generating an immediate return on capital. Dealers that operate in multiple states can evaluate their portfolio and quickly determine the locations with the highest return on investment by leveraging ESA’s auto dealer program, the developer said.

“The Dimmitt enterprise is an example of an entrepreneurial leader in the franchised auto dealership space that saw the opportunity to put capital to work, and hedge against increasing electric rates while reducing tax liability,” said Morgan Brawner, executive vice president of ESA. “Leveraging solar to offset 100% of annual energy needs will prove to be a competitive advantage as EV market share grows over the coming years.”

Besides selling new and used all-electric Bolt and Bolt EUV models, Dimmit’s center is equipped with more than 20 EV charging stations. According to the Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center, Clearwater, Fla., has about 18 active public charging station locations at parking garages, supermarkets, shopping centers and municipal locations.

Founded in 2017, ESA is a Florida-based commercial, community and utility scale solar developer which has developed projects in more than 10 states. Collectively its team has developed over 3 GW of projects over their career.

This was amended on April 10, 2023 to change the capacity to 1 GWh instead of 1 GW, and the number of homes from 750,000 to 750.

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