The pride emanating from Sierra Pacific Warehouse Group Chief Executive Officer Chris Murphy on Friday could only be rightfully compared to the sun beaming down on his company’s newly revealed rooftop solar project—which at 823 kilowatts has been dubbed as the largest solar installation in all of Turlock Irrigation District’s service area.
“As a frozen warehouse, our energy usage is so regular and predictable that we are the perfect company to go solar,” said Murphy. “The Central Valley has so much sun that it makes good sense to use solar energy. Our community benefits too, as there will now be more energy available during the peak hours when electricity from the grid is in short supply.
“Installing this solar project is a big step in our goal to be a sustainable energy partner within our community by doing our part to return electricity to the grid, reduce carbon emissions, and make our company more self-sufficient, while operating with the smallest carbon footprint possible,” continued Murphy.
According to SPWG, the new system, which encompasses 2,655 modules, will produce over 1.3 million kilowatts hours per year—enough to power approximately 120 homes.
Additionally the frozen warehouse reported that over the 25-year life of the system, it will generate enough to reduce Green House Gas emission by 21,759 tons of carbon dioxide, which is equivalent to driving a medium-sized car for 39,560,909 miles, flying a plane for 44,862,887 miles, planting 870,340 trees, and reducing carbon dioxide from the garbage and waste of 39,561 people.
During a press conference on Friday, Murphy personally escorted a number of guests via scissor lift to the top of the frozen warehouse to get a glimpse of the project, including United States Congressman Jeff Denham (R-Turlock).
“This is the largest project in all of TID’s service area and we should celebrate it,” said Denham. “With the huge growing power in solar, we are becoming more energy independent and I am excited to celebrate the next big solar project like this, as well as others throughout the valley.”
Also in attendance on Friday to commemorate the solar installation was SPWG president Michael McNulty, SPWG executive vice president Roy Atkins, District 21 Assemblymember Adam Gray, Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson, Stanislaus Business Alliance CEO David White, Turlock Mayor Gary Soiseth and Patterson Mayor Luis Molina.
“It makes me proud as mayor and as a resident to see the forward thinking these gentlemen had years ago,” said Molina.
Murphy emphasized his gratitude to a number of community partners on Friday, including Rodda Electric, Inc. who designed and installed the solar rooftop panels, Oak Valley Bank who financed the $2 million project, and TID which “made this project easy for us to do with valuable incentives that make it possible for even a small family business.”
“We had some of the best brightest minds working on this project,” said Murphy.
Fortunately for Murphy and especially for a project this big, SPWG managed to install solar under the California net metering program before TID reached its 5 percent net metering cap in December—meaning that his company will be able to reap the benefits that new customer-generators no longer have access to, including credit generation at retail rates and netting over an annual period.
Although many solar providers and customers are fighting TID’s new solar plan, Murphy noted that he thinks that switching to solar still has its benefits.
“I still think it is advantageous for customers to go solar even though incentives are changing, the price of equipment is going down,” said Murphy. “It is a smart idea.”