In a community effort led by a local solar installer and supported by several solar manufacturers and local businesses, the Teen Center in Morro Bay, California, now has a rooftop solar system that serves both an educational and an economic purpose.
Brian French, owner of Estero Bay Solar Solutions (EBSS) in Morro Bay, first proposed installing a modest solar array on the roof of the Teen Center to the City of Morro Bay, primarily as an educational tool for students and local citizens who visited the Center. The Teen Center, known as “Rockies” by the locals, provides after-school activities for students.
“I originally offered to donate a small solar array at Rockies.” says French. “We wanted to give students the opportunity to learn about solar PV – producing clean electricity from sunlight – which is something I’m passionate about.”
After considering the EBSS proposal, the City expressed interest in expanding the project, if financially feasible within its limited budget, so the system would be big enough to supply the building’s entire annual electric usage. The City agreed to contribute to the project, and EBSS secured a combination of donations and discounts from three high-quality solar equipment manufacturers, which greatly reduced the costs to be shared with the City. With the contributions in place, the city council approved a modest expenditure to expand the project.
Donations and discounts were received from SolarWorld, ProSolar, Quick Mount PV and Miner’s Ace Hardware. The system consists of 23 SolarWorld 260-watt panels (for a total system size of 5.98 kilowatts) installed on ProSolar rails and attached to the building with Quick Mount PV roof mounts. Electrical components were purchased at the Miner’s Ace Hardware store in Morro Bay, with the cost reduced by a donation from Miner’s.
Mark Ammerman, Senior Director of Channel Sales at Quick Mount PV, added, “Nothing provides a better solar education opportunity than seeing a real PV system in action. We are honored to have been selected by EBSS to contribute to this most worthy effort.” The system is expected to save approximately $45,000 over the 25-year warranty period on the solar components.