This video shows the solar installation project for Truck 'N Trailers USA from conception to going live on the grid. The project was installed by Metro Services, Inc. of Chattanooga, TN.
Truck ‘N Trailers USA, Inc. has completed the installation and commissioning of one of the largest privately owned Solar Power Array systems in the TVA Green Power Switch program and the largest private power system in the Chattanooga EPB service area, according to Truck ‘N Trailers’ owner Tom Moore.
The system installed at Truck ‘N Trailers’ Chattanooga location on North Access Road has a generation capacity of 33.6 KW per hour and spans over 8,000 square feet with 192 rooftop panels.
There will be a celebration marking the milestone installation on August 12 at 10 a.m. at the Truck ‘N Trailers location at 4591 North Access Road. Jeff Cannon from green/spaces will be on hand to make remarks about cutting-edge environmental initiatives for business and industry.
The Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors will conduct a ribbon cutting to mark the event, and Jeff Styles of WGOW Radio will do a remote broadcast from the site.
Mr. Moore said the solar power generation is offsetting up to 60 percent of his company’s current power demand from the EPB. He expects to save between $12,000 and $14,000 in power costs during the first year of the solar array operation.
“Our solar initiative has been a great learning opportunity as we identified ways to be a more efficient and environmentally friendly company,” Mr. Moore said. “We look forward to expanding our efforts to increase efficiency and enhance the environmental sustainability of our business.”
The Truck ‘N Trailers USA project received support from the State of Tennessee Clean Energy Technology Grant Program and The U.S. American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. TVA also added funding by providing a $1,000 incentive to Truck ‘N Trailers for becoming a Green Power Switch generation partner.
Metro Services Inc. of Chattanooga, which won a Small Business Award from the Chattanooga Area Chamber in February, engineered and installed the solar array. Metro Services provides heating and air conditioning solutions for residential, industrial and commercial customers in Chattanooga and the surrounding area.
Owner Ron Speicher, a UTC engineering graduate and LEED Green Associate, said Metro is focused on energy conservation and the use of renewable energy such as solar electric and solar water heating. The company’s work in this arena includes educating customers on the most environmentally sustainable options and coordinating applications for state and federal stimulus grant funding on behalf of customers.
“It is a pleasure to work with partners with the kind of ideals and principles that Truck ‘N Trailers USA has demonstrated with this project," Mr. Speicher said. “They have effectively sought alternative energy sources, deployed efficient construction methods and partnered with like-minded companies and suppliers for a fiscally responsible solar initiative. They are clearly leaders in their industry, and the result speaks volumes about Chattanooga’s local capabilities in the renewable energy field.”
Initial funding for equipment and installation was provided through FSG Bank.
Clear skies and sunshine mean more than just a pretty day to small business owner Tom Moore.
With 192 solar panels spanning 8,000 square feet along the roof of his Trucks 'N Trailers USA business, Moore not only appreciates sunny days, but counts on them to bring his energy costs down.
"It makes an impact for us on the financial side, but also on the environmental side," he said of the recently installed panels. "It cuts our expenses, but it's also the right thing to do."
Outfitting an entire roof with solar panels doesn't come cheaply. Moore estimated the investment was about $240,000, but he didn't have to foot the entire bill.
Funding from state government's Clean Energy Technology Grant Program, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and a $1,000 incentive from the Tennessee Valley Authority for becoming a Green Power Switch generation partner slashed the cost by about 60 to 70 percent.
"From a small business standpoint, without them we never could have afforded to make this investment," he said.
Jeff Cannon, co-director of Greenspaces, said the availability right now for both state and federal grants to install solar panels creates "kind of the perfect storm."
But businesses don't have much longer to easily cash in on the opportunity. Beginning Jan. 1, the federal grant reverts back to a tax credit, Cannon said.
"The way the economy has been in the last couple of years, a tax credit doesn't really do anything for a small business owner," he said. "If you're thinking about doing a solar system in the next five years, you can't have a better time than right now."
The panels face south at a 35-degree angle for maximum sun capture, and can generate 33.6 kilowatts per hour.
That's enough to offset Trucks 'N Trailers' energy daily bill by about 25 percent during the summer, and an overall 50 percent to 60 percent when including hours the business isn't open.
"In the wintertime, it'll be even more because we won't be using our air conditioning," Moore said. "In winter, it will be as much as 60 to 70 percent, which becomes impressive."
From about 7:45 a.m. to 7 p.m. the panels capture sunlight and transform it into usable energy. TVA buys excess power back for 12 cents above retail price, which eventually will translate into big savings for Trucks 'N Trailers, Moore said.
On average, the business generates 5,000 kilowatts per month and gets a credit of about $1,100 on the electrical bill for the panels.