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Tent washing warehouse roof features 280-panel solar array

Industry News | June 1, 2011 | By:

Green energy equals positive cash flow for Chase Canopy.

Every tent rental company loves a sunny day. At Chase Canopy LLC, Mattapoisett, Mass., sunny days are taking on an even more significant role in the company’s bottom line.

In April 2011, the company installed a 280-panel solar array on the roof of its tent washing warehouse. The panels generate up to 65 kilowatt hours a day, completely covering the business’s energy needs and producing a little extra.

Because the company provides tent and sail washing services year round, its energy needs surpass those of similar sized rental operations. Owner Daniel Chase looked into solar options a couple of years ago as a means to cut the business’s electrical bill after the recession hit, but at that time it wasn’t economically feasible. That changed in 2010 when Massachusetts became one of eight states to participate in the Solar Renewable Energy Credit (or Certificate) program (SREC). In a nutshell, each time a solar electric system generates 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity, a SREC is issued that can be sold or traded. The goal is to make it easier for individuals and businesses to finance and invest in solar power.

“If you do it right and have a system that’s big enough, you can produce a positive cash flow from day one,” Chase says.

In addition, the federal government funded 30 percent of the project in the form of a direct rebate.

Chase encourages any tent rental company in a state participating in the SREC program to investigate the benefits of installing solar panels, especially those with large roofs or even large ground-level space. In addition to the cash flow benefits, the solar array adds to the property value and is great PR for the company, Chase says.

“I love the fact that we’re reducing our carbon footprint and reducing our dependence on foreign oil,” Chase says.

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