Few areas of the country use more energy than New England, which is why our region must look to alternative energy to both decrease costs while improving our environment. At Solect Energy, we pride ourselves on installing more than 32 megawatts of commercial photovoltaic systems across New England. With an expertise in the development, installation, and management of smart solar solutions for businesses and organizations, we’ve worked tirelessly to reduce energy costs for our region’s industries while also cutting our collective carbon footprint. One dramatic way to help the economy and the environment is to offset retail energy use with solar. Since most retail stores are open seven days a week — a full two days more than other commercial businesses —their energy needs can be significantly greater.
Last year, we worked at Milliston Commons, a shopping center in Millis, Mass., where we provided a broad solar solution to help dramatically cut their bills for lighting, cooling, heating, and other uses in common areas, particularly parking lots, which contribute to even greater amounts of energy use since they remain lit even when the businesses are closed.
To help Milliston Commons lessen its energy load, we installed a 653 kilowatt (kW) roof-mounted system to cover 100% of the common area’s electricity demand. In addition, the installation covers 100% of the electricity demand for a number of the mall’s stores including Kidsturf, Twist Bakery and Café Inc., a laundromat, and the Rosenfeld Law Office. The owner of Milliston Commons and the solar array, who also owns and operates Rosenfeld Law Office, estimates a savings of more than $130,000 in the first year.
The owner of Milliston Commons was also able to take advantage of both state and federal tax incentives, including Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SRECs), which are earned by solar system owners based on the amount of energy they generate per quarter. SRECs are ultimately purchased by electrical utility providers in Massachusetts to help meet their state-mandated goals of a percentage of power coming from renewable energy sources.
SREC revenue, along with offset electricity costs, provides the shopping center with significant savings and it, in turn, passes the discounted energy along to tenants, allowing them to keep costs down and expand business with help from the resultant savings.
The conversion to solar reaps benefits for the retail space and its tenants while also appealing to consumers who are conscious of sustainability issues. It’s a win-win for the retailers, helping to cut costs and enhance its brand.
Managing energy costs in New England and confronting climate control remain pressing issues for the region. Going solar is a great way to reduce overall energy costs in addition to meeting sustainability goals. By completing work at commercial retail buildings like Milliston Commons, we’ve doubled down on our mission to increase energy efficiency across the region, while prioritizing the bottom line for numerous local business owners. That’s good for business — and good for our environment.
Steve Bianchi is the senior vice president of customer services and one of six partners at Solect Energy, a New England leader in supplying commercial solar solutions.