A Flair for Solar
When the GRLT Board started talking seriously in 2019 about how to focus our work to mitigate the effects of climate change on our local ecosystems, Board President, Alvin Chase Jr., began thinking along the same lines for his business Eastern Tire & Auto Service (ET) of Rockland. In February 2021, ET’s solar farm went live.
Other than his obvious appreciation for the environment through his long service to GRLT, what motivated him to take on this ambitious project? “The tire and auto service industry is not the greenest,” said Chase. “This was another opportunity to go a little greener. We know that a big percentage of our customers appreciate what ET does in our community for environmental protection, so we knew switching to solar electrical power would go over well with them.” Check out this video where Alvin talks about their decision to go solar.
ET had already made changes to their business operations to lessen their carbon footprint such as converting all lighting at the shop to LEDs, heating the whole business with vehicle waste oil, and putting motion detectors on their indoor lights. At first, Chase thought of putting solar panels on the roof of all the ET buildings, but that can lead to problems when you need roof repair. Through consultation with ReVision Energy, they decided on a ground installation on a property ET already owned on Route 1 in Warren. In fall 2020, Revision began installation of a 66-kilowatt solar array on about ¼ acre of the 20 acre property. ET is also planting a fruit orchard on the site.
ReVision sized the solar array to provide enough electricity for the business and the homes of the two owners, Alvin and his brother Aaron. They also installed an electric vehicle charging station at ET offering free charges. Chase said there were great state and federal tax credits and incentives for businesses, making it the perfect time to go solar.
Chase can monitor power production every day from his computer, and he gets a kick out of it. On a sunny spring day, he estimates he generates enough power to electrify a standard household for a month. Long spring and summer days produce more power than the business and their homes need. Through an agreement with Central Maine Power, ET receives credits, and any surplus credits are banked for use later. By this fall, ET will have banked enough surplus power credits that the solar array will likely be able to cover all their power needs year-round going forward.
To make this green deal even sweeter, ReVision Energy made a generous $3,000 donation to GRLT, making them a Trailblazer Sponsor. ReVision is an employee-owned certified B Corp that uses the power of their business to be a source for positive social and environmental change in the world. We are extremely grateful for everything Alvin and ET does to support local conservation in the Georges River watershed!