Franklin Ford, a family-owned Ford dealership in Franklin, Mass., has partnered with Solar Power World Top Contractor Solect Energy Development of Hopkinton to deploy a 142.5-kW solar energy system. The system is expected to cover nearly 100 percent of the dealership’s electricity needs, generating more than $30,000 in annual electricity savings.
Franklin Ford recently underwent significant renovations to its showroom and service area on East Central Street; the first renovations for the building in more than 30 years. The renovations include increasing the size of the showroom to accommodate multiple cars and the addition of a new, updated customer waiting area. The dealership also added a 1,500-square-foot environmentally-controlled drive-in service bay.
As part of these renovations, which included replacement of about half of its roof area, Franklin Ford began thinking green. After speaking to a few of Solect’s automotive dealership customers, the dealership decided installing solar was a great addition to their project.
“As part of our updates, we had been looking for ways to reduce our environmental footprint and Solect has been a perfect partner throughout the process,” said Barry Madden, general manager and part owner of Franklin Ford. “They were able to walk us through every step of the process and help us understand—in layman’s terms—both the environmental and the financial benefits we would achieve with this project.”
When Franklin Ford remodeled its building, it replaced all of the interior and exterior lights with LED-based lighting. When the ceiling was pulled down to remodel, Madden realized the HVAC system also needed to be replaced, and upgraded to a more efficient two-stage unit. “We were originally hoping for 100 percent coverage from solar, and with these updates, I think we’ll get that,” he said.
In addition to cost savings, Franklin Ford is able to take advantage of state and federal 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.
“Given its location and rooftop, Franklin Ford had a textbook site for solar,” said Steve Bianchi, business development partner at Solect Energy Development. “With the improvements they did to their building, and the additional green measures they have taken to reduce their overall energy consumption, they will see their system cover nearly 100 percent of their electricity needs.”
Panels: ET Solar (ET-255 watt)
Mounting system: Ecolibrium ECOFOOT 2
Inverters: Solectria PVI 60