“We were using a van, which only got about 7 or 8 miles per gallon,” Watson says. The company re-evaluated the deliveries, discovering most were small and capable of being completed in a smaller car. Watson then made the decision to purchase the Priuses, which get up to 50 miles per gallon. “We’re saving an enormous amount of money plus helping the environment,” he says.
While Fritts agrees paying for a solar power system is often a hefty price upfront, the long-term benefits make it worthwhile. “We’ll have a return on our investment that makes this financially feasible to do,” he says. “We see it monthly in our power bill. Some months, we have a credit on our bill. But other months, when it’s cloudy and we’re using more energy, or in the winter months when it’s dark, we’ll use more energy.”
The power Planet Self Storage generates goes beyond helping just that facility. Solar power doesn’t act as a battery, storing energy for later use. Instead, the power is transmitted back into the power company’s power grid, which benefits the community as a whole. “The power plants then don’t have to burn coal or run turbines,” Fritts says. “They can produce less power because it’s being supplied by other sources.”
Because more cities and states are becoming environmentally minded, Fritts advises self-storage owners interested in solar power first check for government or utility company programs with rebates or grants to offset the cost of the system. And you don’t have to purchase a solar system to create a more energy-efficient facility. There could also be programs, rebates or incentives for other changes, including something as simple as changing the type of lighting you use in your building. “There are a lot of programs out there. You should check with your community and your power company to see what’s available,” Fritts says. “It doesn’t all have to come out of pocket.”
One obstacle you may come across is finding a contractor who can properly install solar panels. “This is not your everyday thing,” Fritts advises. “You have to find a contractor who has done solar. It isn’t something your local electrician can handle.”
Overall, going solar is exactly what Fritts had hoped for. “It’s a good thing to do and it’s a financial investment.”