FAIRMONT – Fairmont Ford recently had solar panels installed on the roof of its building. The solar power system will save money on the road and is also better for the environment because it draws clean, pure energy from the sun.
The company only joins a handful of others in the community who have solar power systems. Fairmont City administrator Cathy Reynolds said two other businesses in the community have solar power systems and are connected to the city’s grid. She said there are also two personal systems connected to the city.
Reynolds said Fairmont Ford is the first Fairmont car dealership to obtain solar panels and the first company to install them on the roof of the building.
Fairmont Ford is a fourth generation company, of which Teresa (Kloeckner) Haycraft is Managing Director. She and her brother Paul Kloeckner said they have been looking for a solar power system for a long time. Haycraft said a few years ago that she watched a National Auto Dealers Association webinar that encouraged auto dealers to use their roofs for solar panels.
“It doesn’t take up space in real estate and we use a lot of electricity every day, so it’s something they recommend to car dealers,” Haycraft said. =
She said they get a federal tax credit that goes down in 2023, so if they wanted to do it, they might as well do it now.
Haycraft said it ordered the panels in July. Kloeckner said it took about a week to do the wiring, but after the panels arrived, it took about half a day to install the 160 panels on the roof.
The city came last week and was wired into the transformer box so that if more electricity is generated than used, it returns to the city.
But Haycraft does not predict that they will have a surplus of energy, especially with the emergence of electric vehicles.
“All car manufacturers are moving into electric vehicles, so we know we will need more electricity in the future,” said Haycraft.
“Our demand for electricity will increase. Instead of going to the gas station to refuel each car, we’re going to have to plug in here and charge each car before it leaves. Kloeckner said.
He said that by 2025, 10% of Ford’s sales are expected to be electric vehicles. From a broader perspective, Reuters predicts that electric vehicles will account for around 24% of total global sales by 2030.
Haycraft shared some statistics provided by Green Energy in Springfield, Minnesota regarding the carbon footprint and their solar panel system.
She said their solar panels are expected to be good for 40 years and that during that time, 3,036 tonnes of carbon dioxide will be removed from Fairmont Ford’s footprint. This is equivalent to planting 70,739 trees or recycling 9,594 tonnes of waste instead of sending it to a landfill.
The advantages of solar power systems are numerous. Haycraft said it made sense to them as they have a large roof footprint.
She said, “It will take a few years to pay off, but once we do that we will be able to use all the energy we generate, so we should reduce our energy bill by around 50%.