Vista Solar’s professionalism and expertise ensured that the project went smoothly, staying on schedule and on budget. Vista Solar recommended SunPower® high-efficiency solar panels, which enabled Airdrome to achieve a 90% offset of their current electrical bill and maximize long-term savings. The project financing, technology, and installation all came together quickly, and by December 2011, Airdrome’s 305 kW system was officially commissioned. Total savings are estimated to reach $3.5 million over the next 25 years, and with all those savings, Airdrome can put more of its money back into its business—instead of the local utility.
SOLAR EXPERTISE, FINANCING, AND TECHNOLOGY ALIGN
Vista Solar approached Airdrome Orchards about going solar in 2011, and the conditions could not have been riper. Airdrome was impressed by Vista Solar’s professionalism and solar proposal, and financially, Airdrome’s preferred lender could take advantage of 100% bonus depreciation and tax incentives. Consequently, the lender could offer an operating lease with an agricultural rate that allowed Airdrome to be cash-flow positive from day one. “Everything aligned as to what Vista Solar could build, how they were going to do it, and the lenders working with us. It put us in a place where we couldn’t not go solar,” said John Fumia, owner of Airdrome.
SUNPOWER REPUTATION AND PRODUCTS STAND OUT
Given the space constraints of Airdrome’s rooftops, Vista Solar recommended SunPower solar panels in their turnkey proposal. High-efficiency solar panels were a crucial element in reaching the energy production targets and achieving the best long-term savings. Airdrome did not need much convincing, however, because they were already aware of SunPower’s reputation for high-quality solar solutions. “You are always concerned about what the performance is going to be for a solar system, but based on using SunPower panels, we’re confident that the system should perform well in the long run,” said Fumia. In just the first twelve months of operation, those SunPower panels are projected to produce 477,953 kWh, and Airdrome will avoid over $100,000 of grid electrical costs in that same time frame.
VISTA SOLAR GOES THE EXTRA STEP
Although the project was finished on time and on budget, Vista Solar didn’t stop there in helping Airdrome maximize their solar system’s value. At the signing of the initial agreement, the California Solar Initiative rebate program had expired, but by the time the system was commissioned, the program had been replenished. Vista Solar guided Airdrome through the filing process, helping to save Airdrome an additional $35,000. Over the next 25 years, Airdrome’s savings are anticipated to climb to approximately $3.5 million, which includes all the leasing payments and the buy-out of the system. Cash-flow positive from the start, their new SunPower solar solution enables Airdrome Orchards to keep more of its budget focused on its core business for the future.