The boat/RV-storage market has seen a boom in recent years as more people purchase large “toys” but have fewer places to store them. Most residences don’t have storage to accommodate such big vehicles, and many cities and communities are becoming stricter about curbside and driveway parking. As a result, consumers turn to storage facilities, which provide a valuable service to the user and a great return on investment for the owner.
Baja Construction is taking the value and profitability of boat and RV storage further with the introduction of its Solar Support System. This innovative new product allows storage-facility owners to make money using solar panels on their rooftops. The structure protects boats and RVs from the elements while harnessing the sun’s energy to generate power.
The result of integrating Baja’s solar boat/RV cover into a storage facility is reduced energy costs, the ability to take advantage of rebates and tax incentives, and customers feeling good about where they store, says Robert Hayworth, president of the Martinez, Calif.-based company, which designs, engineers, supplies and installs self-storage and boat/RV-storage buildings and carports.
How It Works
With the patent-pending Solar Support System, designed by Hayworth, photovoltaic panels are used to produce free, clean power. They can be mounted on the ground using clip-rib steel panels or mounted on an elevated structure to provide shade and parking. To be suitable for the system, a site must get at least five hours of sun daily and have a southern exposure.
For facility owners, the system has numerous financial benefits. Solar power can offset rising electricity costs by reducing or even eliminating the power purchased from utility companies. There are also significant cash rebates and tax credits available from the state and federal governments. Possible incentives include:
- The federal solar tax credit for commercial buildings is 30 percent for an eligible property. This can be elected as a grant (check) from the federal government until December 2009.
- There’s a five-year accelerated depreciation, with 50 percent eligible in the first year.
- The interest paid on the debt to acquire the asset may be eligible for a federal or state tax credit or rebates.
- Utility-company rebates may also be available.
- Net metering is available in some states. Operators can use surplus energy from the spring to pay for extra power needed in the summer, for example.
Finally, more customers are looking to support green products and services. Investing in a solar product creates an invaluable marketing opportunity for the owner and a value-add proposition for the customer. An owner’s commitment to a green initiative such as solar power can help his business generate and keep more customers.
“Your customers’ decision on where to store their vehicles will likely be swayed by their perception of your business’ environmental responsibility,” Hayworth says.
Baja Construction works with boat/RV-storage owners to evaluate a site and determine if it’s right for solar power. Engineers then determine the best placement and slope for the panels. “From shovel in the ground to power on takes about six to eight weeks,” Hayworth says. “We encourage everyone to challenge the status quo and go green.”
To learn more about specific state and federal incentives, visit the Database of State Incentives forRenewable Energy at www.dsireusa.org.
To contact Baja Construction, call 800.366.9600; visit www.bajacarports.com.