Solar power has started to pay off for Ramsey Self Storage of Banning, Calif. Last week, the city gave facility owner Jim Keefe an $87,903 rebate check for the system installation that cost him about $178,000, according to a recent article in Southern California’s The Press-Enterprise. The city’s solar rebate is $4 per installed watt.
Keefe is the first commercial customer to take advantage of a solar-rebate program offered by Banning’s municipally owned utility company. He can also receive tax credits and savings.
Ramsey Self Storage opened in 2006 with 28,000 square feet of space. Keefe incorporated the new solar system into the design of a 10,000-square-foot expansion that was completed in March. He is a partner in another storage facility in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., which also uses solar power.
In addition, Keefe has created a booklet with details about his system to help other local businesses get involved in the program. The book includes specifications, information on how the system works and energy facts.
Keefe can check how well his system is functioning and monitor savings on his electric bill by logging in to the website for Fronius IG, the manufacturer of the system’s power inverters. Keefe said his bill before the solar system was installed averaged $450 a month. He doesn’t yet know what costs will be with the new system, but between early June—the time the 140 solar panels went into use—and July 31, the system had produced $1,088 worth of electricity, according to the Press-Enterprise article.
Any energy surplus produced by Keefe’s system flows back into the utility grid. The solar-generated credits he earns as a result should offset his usage in months when the sun doesn’t shine as much.