The following article, written by Larry Limpf, was posted January 20, 2014 on The Press website. Read below, or view on presspublications.com.
A 28kW solar array installed this summer at V.E. Petersen Co., Inc., 28101 E. Broadway, works weekends as well as during the week for the company, which normally only keeps weekday hours.
The company estimates the array, which went into operation in September and cost about $100,000, will produce about 30 percent of the power V.E. Petersen consumes, says Jeff Lincoln, vice president of operations.
“The summer months are when we’ll save the most because of the sunlight. We can monitor it on the Internet and see when a cloud, for example, is blocking the light. The meters come down and go right back up when it passes. It’s 108 panels on the roof. It’s a very well done system, You don’t even know it’s up there when you’re looking from the street,” Lincoln said. “The panels lay flat on the roof.”
The company tapped local contractors for the project: Rudolph/Libbe, Walbridge, designed and constructed the array and GEM Inc., also of Walbridge, completed the installation of its electrical system. The panels were manufactured by ISOFOTON, a Napoleon, O. company.
“I had the option of buying modules from China and we would have saved a decent amount of money but we figured if we could get modules right here in Northwest Ohio why not? Keep the money local,” Lincoln said.
V.E. Petersen is a warehouse and distributor of replacement parts for manufacturers in the automotive, marine, agricultural and other industries. Many of its clients have global markets.
The company’s buildings cover about 25,000 square feet, including the main warehouse with the solar array that is about 15,000 square feet.
The way Rudolph/Libbe designed it the system will become profitable in about five to seven years,” Lincoln said.
“Of course, Mother Nature will help determine that, but they estimate it will have paid for itself in that time. We’re only open five days a week so Saturday and Sunday the system is generating power but we’re not using it so it’s actually going back on the grid and it’s actually making us money at that point. The utility companies are paying us for it.”
Lincoln said he noticed several of the company’s clients, particularly in southern and western states, had adopted solar power.
“After we’d been looking into it for a while, we sat down with Rudolph/Libbe and weighed the costs and benefits,” he said. “We looked at what they did at the National Guard building at Toledo Express Airport and Toledo Zoo and in the City of Bryan.”