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Santa Maria Sun / Biz Spotlight

The following article was posted on October 21st, 2015, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 16, Issue 32 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 16, Issue 32

Spotlight on: REC Solar

Ryan Park, director of business development

By DAVID MINSKY

Solar panels aren’t cheap. The cost for a typical 5-kilowatt setup for a house can easily run $10,000 or more. 

But it may pay off in the long run, at least according to REC Solar Director of Business Development Ryan Park.  


SOLAR FARM
Windset Farms, Santa Maria’s largest farm, went solar in August with a 1-megawatt (1 million watts) system from REC Solar.
PHOTO COURTESY OF WINDSET FARMS

“That $10,000 system will produce somewhere in the range of $1,500 to $2,000 worth of energy per year,” Park said. “That is a big amount of money to put up front, but the numbers make sense.” 

On a grander scale, the numbers make sense to large businesses. According to Park, stores such as Costco (in both Goleta and Santa Maria) use systems installed by REC Solar. REC's core clientele are middle-market companies. REC Solar is based in San Luis Obispo. Its residential division was purchased by Sunrun, which is also based in San Luis Obispo. Park himself is a Cal Poly alumnus, having graduated in 2002. 

Governments—state, local, and federal—are trying to offset the cost of solar power systems for average consumers. Last month, the city of Lompoc streamlined the process for citizens to apply for a solar power permit. 

This was a result of AB 2188, passed in September 2014, which mandates that all cities in California make it easier to get such a permit. 

Lompoc also offers a rebate to residents at $1 per watt, which could equal thousands of dollars. Household setups range in between 4 kilowatts and 8 kilowatts (1 kilowatt equals 1,000 watts).

On top of that, California offers tax credits of up to 30 percent of the cost to anyone who buys a solar power system. However, next year is the last year to take advantage of this credit, as it expires on Dec. 31, 2016. 

The federal government also offers a similar solar tax credit that expires on the same date. 

“It’s going to be a crazy mad dash,” Park said, as he expects more people will take advantage of the credit. “Ultimately, it’s a tax credit that you can actually use. Now is the best time for a customer to say, ‘Let’s do this.’”

And they better hurry because the systems must be installed before the end of 2016. It can take up to six months to plan and install such a system for a home, according to Park.
“It’s a real construction job,” he said.
Park added that the credit works well with agricultural systems. In August, Santa Maria’s Windset Farms unveiled its 1-megawatt (1 million watts) system from REC Solar, installed on the greenhouse that’s in the middle of the farm. It covers roughly 4 acres and generates 15 to 20 percent of the farm’s electricity, Park said. 

Since its humble beginnings in SLO, REC Solar has grown into one of the most successful companies selling solar electric systems in the U.S. 

In 2013, Solar Power World magazine listed REC Solar as the 10th largest solar contractor in the country according to “influence in the residential, commercial, and utility solar-installation markets.” 

Park said REC Solar was once the largest contractor in Hawaii according to revenue. He added that the company was also responsible for successful projects in Utah and on the East Coast. 

In Paso Robles, Niner Winery went 100 percent solar with a system from REC Solar. 

“We’re a local, and we’re a national company,” Park said. 

REC Solar is located at 3450 Broad St., No. 105, in San Luis Obispo. For more information call (844) 732-7652. 


Highlights 

Davey’s Voice is a Santa Barbara nonprofit that aims to create awareness around animal abuse and advocates for abused, neglected, and abandoned animals. Launched in early October, the nonprofit honors the memory of a 5-month-old puppy by the name of Davey, who was severely abused by 19-year-old Chinese student Duanying Chen in 2014. Davey couldn’t be saved and was euthanized. Chen is currently serving a one-year sentence in county jail. Santa Barbara local Gretchen Lieff started Davey’s Voice. Animal rights activist Linda Evans and Montecito residents Penelope Bianchi and Marjorie Layden serve on the nonprofit’s board of directors. 

“We’re a nonprofit that aims to give a voice to defenseless animals like Davey,” Lieff said. For more information, visit daveysvoice.org or call 565-0001.


Staff Writer David Minsky wrote this week’s Biz Spotlight. Information should be sent to the Sun via fax, email, or mail.

CORRECTION: It should be stated that REC’s core clientele is middle-market companies and that Sunrun is not considered a division of REC.
OCT. 22, 2015