Cleveland Lumber begins using solar power to help power its buildings
by Chuck Hoven
(Plain Press, November 2013) Cleveland Lumber is now using solar panels to help power their buildings. Owner Vince Valentino says he hopes to save from 10% to 20% on the cost of electricity for his company.
In early October, a Near West Side of Cleveland solar installation company, Heirloom Energy, installed 40 solar panels on Cleveland Lumber’s main building at 9410 Madison Avenue (the building that originally housed the Madison Theater). Valentino says the panels cover about a quarter of the surface of the roof, so he will have the opportunity to add panels in the future.
On October 23rd, the first day the panels were operating, Valentino took a look at the outdoor meter and said he was impressed that even on a cloudy overcast day, the solar panels were generating electricity.
Valentino says the electricity generated by the solar panels is used directly by Cleveland Lumber when they are open and, when they are not open, the electricity is pushed back into the grid. Valentino says because energy suppliers are required to use so much alternative energy, he gets a credit from his electricity supplier, First Energy, for all the electricity produced by the solar panels. He will have to simply take a photo of the meter each month and email it to First Energy to obtain the credit.
With the energy credit and the savings from the electricity generated by the solar panels, Valentino says he expects to recover the cost of purchasing and installing the solar panels in about seven years.
In addition to the solar panels, Valentino had a charging station installed at Cleveland Lumber for his electric car, a Chevy Volt. It takes about 5 kilowatts of electricity a day to charge the car battery, says Valentino. That, he says, provides enough of a charge for him to commute 26 miles round trip to his home and back to work. With the charging station right next to the meter for the solar panels, Valentino can monitor the electricity coming in from the solar panels while electricity is being expended a few feet away to charge the car.