A Greeley car dealership could soon both put cars on the road and send power back to the electric grid, after selecting contractors for a 368 kilowatt custom solar carport.
After three powerful hailstorms caused substantial damage in the past two years at Ehrlich Toyota, 4732 26th St. in Greeley, the dealership began looking into a solar carport. Scott Ehrlich, who owns the dealership, spoke with Diane Dandeneau, CEO of IPOWER Alliance, who explained the hail-resistant properties of solar panels.
“Solar will survive the majority of the hailstorms we have experienced,” Dandeneau said. “Because we are getting worse weather and worse hailstorms, companies like Ehrlich have said, ‘Well, what can we do?’”
Dandeneau pointed to the National Renewable Laboratory campus in Golden as an example of solar’s resistance to hail damage. After a severe hailstorm struck the area in May 2017, only one of the laboratory’s more than 3,000 panels sustained damage.
Ehrlich Toyota selected IPOWER Alliance and Greeley-based L4 Construction to design and construct the custom solar carport, as well as an LED retrofit, an energy management system and a battery backup. According to a news release, the project will provide 120 percent of the dealership’s energy usage, sending power back to the grid. A power backup will be available in emergencies, and the dealership will be able to use the solar power in the event of an outage — a unique capability not provided by grid-tied only solar.
The project is expected to save about 518,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per year, or the energy used by 86 homes. That equates to about 474 tons of carbon dioxide each year.
The dealership will benefit from a 30 percent federal tax credit on the project and more than $432,00 in energy credits over 20 years from Xcel Energy.
IPOWER works with its Alliance members to design, construct and install energy retrofits for auto dealerships. Members include L4 Construction, Independent Power Systems, SunPower, IKON, Integrated Controls and Electric, Extensible Energy and Ageto Energy. For more information, go to ipoweralliance.com.