By Kathleen Zipp
This article originally published on Solar Power World, and is reprinted with permission
Mastria Auto Group, a family-owned, premier GMC, Nissan, Cadillac, Buick, Mazda and Subaru dealer located in Raynham, Mass., has installed solar energy systems at three of its dealerships in partnership with Solect Energy Development of Hopkinton, a Solar Power World Top 400 Contractor. The systems—installed at the Buick GMC Cadillac, Nissan and Subaru dealerships—are expected to save Mastria Auto Group up to $40,000 per year in electricity costs, covering 30 percent of the auto group’s overall usage. The company’s fourth dealership—Mazda—is expected to have a system installed by Solect in mid-2015, saving the company an additional $10,000 per year.
To date, Solect has installed:
· An 83 kW system at the Buick Cadillac GMC dealership including 276 Canadian Solar 300 Watt panels, DPW Solar mounting hardware, and Solectria Renewables inverters on a tiled metal roof.
· An 81 kW system at the Nissan dealership, including 270 Canadian Solar 300 Watt panels, Ironridge racking, and Solectria inverters on a tiled metal roof.
· A 52 kW system at the Subaru dealership, including 202 Hanwha Q-Cell 260 panels, Ironridge racking, and Solectria Renewables inverters on a tiled metal roof
Additionally, a 41 kW system at the Mazda dealership is scheduled to be installed in the spring of 2015.
Mastria began looking at solar when its contract with its natural gas supplier was due for renewal. “We had thought about solar, but really started looking when our gas supplier reminded us of the benefits and incentives associated with solar energy in Massachusetts,” said Rob Mastria, chief financial officer of Mastria Auto Group. “The environmental issues have always been at the forefront. The brands we represent are all very environmentally conscious. Nissan is very big in the electric vehicle market, for example.
“At the same time, we have this valuable asset on our roof, and knew we had the opportunity not only to help the environment by using green energy but also to help our bottom line through cost avoidance of electricity as well as through the financial incentives and tax benefits available,” Mastria said.
Local regulations prevented the auto group from deploying larger systems, but if rules change in the future, Mastria said it will consider expanding its systems.
In addition to the cost savings generated, Mastria Auto Group is also able to take advantage of state and federal financial and tax incentives, including SRECs (Solar Renewable Energy Certificates), which solar system owners earn based on the amount of solar energy their system generates. SRECs are ultimately purchased by electrical utility providers in Massachusetts to help them meet their state-mandated goals of a percentage of power coming from renewable energy sources.
“The Mastria Auto Group realized it has valuable assets in its four roofs and were able to turn them into significant cost savings and revenue generating mechanisms for the company,” said Stephen Clairmont, Project Director at Solect. “The company is realizing some very real financial benefits, and is also gaining the ability to represent their brands even better from a green perspective because they’re practicing what they preach.”