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In various ABRA Auto Body locations around the country, some facility owners are turning to solar power to decrease their environmental footprint and grow their bottom line.
Tyler Morris, manager of ABRA Auto Body in Ellensburg, Wash., added solar panels to the roof of his family-owned facility to generate power for operations, limit their carbon footprint and reduce their dependency on fluctuating power prices. Their building’s roof provided an ideal location for the energy-generating panels.
According to the Solar Energy Industry Association, energy accounts for nearly 20% of average commercial building expenses. By switching to solar, the building can lower their electricity bill by up to 40%, improving margins and the bottom line.
Keith Clingan, who owns four ABRA Auto Body and Glass locations in East Tennessee, also installed solar panels on the roof of his Cleveland, Tenn., collision repair facility to take advantage of the southern sun.
“We added solar panels about four years ago,” said Frank Runion, general manager of ABRA Auto Body Repair of Cleveland. “Our main motivators were energy savings and the energy improvement tax credit. Since then, we’ve had no maintenance, which is great, and the panels have performed very well. It was a smart investment.”
The facility also switched to water-based paint and expanded its program to recycle metal, cardboard and other materials.
Commercial solar panel installations are eligible for a variety of federal and state incentives that lower the overall cost of going solar. The main federal incentive is the investment tax credit (ITC), a credit for 30% of the total system cost. The owner is also allowed to depreciate the system under the five-year modified accelerated cost recovery system (MACRS), subject to certain conditions. Many states also have different incentives, including rebates, renewable energy credits and financing programs. To learn more about incentive programs and tax credits, visit seia.org.
ABRA Auto Body Repair provides guidance and resources for its franchise members who are looking to make energy-efficient and waste-reduction improvements. These improvements include energy audits and process reviews, as well as tool and technology guidance to improve air quality, reduce waste and decrease energy costs.
For more information, visit ABRAauto.com.