Prosperity Lanes is one of the latest businesses in Grass Valley to go solar.
California Solar Electric Company (Cal Solar) installed 215 of the new SunPower 395W P-series commercial solar panels. “These are the first panels coming out of SunPower’s new U.S. factory located in Hillsboro, Oregon,” said Martin Webb, Cal Solar’s Commercial Sales Manager. “At the end of last year, they acquired an existing solar panel factory and re-tooled it to begin making their new high-efficiency P-series. Known for making the most efficient solar panels available, SunPower is headquartered in San Jose, and has been the leading supplier of solar panels for commercial installations in the U.S. for the past 2 years.”
For Prosperity Lanes owner Art King, it was about economics. “When I first thought about having solar installed, I thought it wouldn’t be affordable,” King said. “And I don’t mean to say not economical. We are expecting to save 80 to 90 percent off our electric bill. It will have a pretty immediate and rapid return on our investment, not counting the tax benefits.”
“With a lot of machinery at work to run pinsetters, ball returns, and air conditioning, plus lights, scoreboards, and a commercial kitchen, Prosperity Lanes uses a decent amount of power,” Webb said. “With PG&E rates higher than ever (their rates went up this year on Jan 1, March 1, May 1, and then again on July 1), the bowling alley was running bills as high as $5,000 in the heat of summer and as low as $1,500 in early winter, for an annual average bill of just over $3,000/mo., and going up 5 percent a year.”
And with a high-efficiency high-reliability approach to the SunPower Helix Flat Roof system, and with the support of a SunPower technician on-site, the Prosperity Lanes system was installed in record time.
“What would normally take 2-3 weeks, took only 2-3 days, minimizing the disruption and impact to the business,” said Reid England, Cal Solar lead installer. This speed and ease of installation brought the cost of the system down significantly.”
“We got our money pretty quickly, commitments for it pretty quickly, Cal Solar had a time slot that fit so they put it up,” King said. “It was pretty fast.”
“Now with solar on the roof, Cal Solar is able to help Prosperity Lanes produce more than 80 percent of the facility’s power needs, which eliminates 97 percent of their annual bill, going from over $3,000/mo to about $100/mo, as a result of now operating on a much more advantageous solar-friendly PG&E rate plan. Factor in the generous 30 percent federal tax credit – which sunsets at the end of 2019 and drops to 26 percent – along with other tax benefits, and this system is expected to pay for itself in under 3 years,” Webb said.
The installation was not only fast, but smooth.
“To make the entire project even better, King was a dream to work with. Over the past year, we worked with Art on several iterations of a design, starting with multiple carports and ending up with one flat roof system,” Webb said. “We also worked with him on different versions of financing, including exploring the special countywide mPOWER program, as well as traditional bank financing. After that, he asked that we analyze how his plan to swap out lights to be more efficient would impact system size, and we came up with a reduced system size and cost. Throughout all of this, Art was always calm, patient, and a real gem to interact with. Part of doing business in Nevada County is the quality of people we get to work with. Art is a delight to have a customer, with a quick wit and wry smile.”
“They’re great people at Cal Solar,” King said. “They don’t need supervision. They’re very professional. I just kept being nosey. I guess the bottom line is I am happy with them and I’d use them again tomorrow.”
Prosperity Lanes 420 Henderson St., Grass Valley 530-274-6484 ProsperityLanes.com
California Solar 149 E Main Street, Grass Valley (530) 274-3671 www.californiasolarco.com