113 kW Solar Energy Carport Completed

A 113 kW solar electric carport was recently installed at the Edwards Mansion Banquet facility in Redlands, California. Installed by GenSelf Corporation of Irvine, California, the grid-tied system is expected to produce approximately 80 percent of the electricity needed to power the property.

GenSelf expects the system to reduce electrical bills for the facility from about $40,000 a year to around $16,000, a savings of approximately $24,000 a year at today’s utility rates. “A solar carport system is the perfect way to get the benefits of clean, environmentally friendly power from otherwise unused real estate,” added Mark Cortez, Sharp’s Director of Marketing. The system consists of 612 Sharp Electronics 185 watt modules, three Xantrex inverters, and is expected to produce over 190,000 kWh a year. The panels were mounted to a carport built specifically to hold the panels, which double as the carport’s roof, providing shade for the banquet facility parking lot. “This marquee installation will provide significant economic and environmental benefits for years to come,” said Fred Bloom, President of GenSelf. “They have also protected themselves from the impact of future utility price increases, which given the soaring costs of fossil fuels, seems inevitable.” GenSelf assisted the customer in receiving a cash rebate totaling $431,739, representing half of the total cost. The rebate is provided by the California Public Utilities Commission’s Self Generation Incentive Program, established to encourage power users to switch to solar power by dramatically reducing the up-front system costs. Additionally, the customer is eligible for state and federal tax credits, and an accelerated depreciation schedule. Together, these incentives reduce the net costs to as little as $.24 on the dollar, allowing for a relatively quick payback and a double-digit internal rate of return. “This installation is both an engineering achievement and proof that industry and government can work together for the benefit of many,” said Dave Holt of SunWize Technologies of Kingston, New York, a key component supplier and twenty-five year veteran of the solar business. A dedication ceremony was held Thursday, November 11, in the parking lot, at which time the owners, and the City of Redlands were presented with environmental stewardship awards.
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