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Moule Paint & Glass makes the switch to solar with the help of California Solar Electric Company

 

Jim Moule is no tree hugger.

Yet for years, his family dreamed of going solar with their Grass Valley business, Moule Paint & Glass.

“It’s important to all of us to protect the resources we have,” said Moule.



In April, the team from California Solar Electric Company turned on a 91-panel system on top of the roof of the Moule Paint & Glass building at 700 East Main Street. Already, the glass shop is seeing rewards to their bottomline with $1,000 savings on their monthly PG&E bill. Down the road, as utility rates go up, the business will be in a good position to continue to buffer inflation and weather the uncertainty of climate change.

Growing up in Grass Valley, Jim Moule has seen a lot of changes over the years. He remembers roaming hundreds of acres of undeveloped land around Catalpa Lane. Lake Olympia in what is now the Brunswick Basin was his childhood playground.



He retired in November and passed the reins of the family business to his children. He and his wife remain stockholders and find comfort in knowing that the company’s finances are solvent and in a secure position for the future and the next generation of Moule. Going solar is key to the business balance sheet.

Jim Moule says choosing Cal Solar, a local, employee-owned business, is a way to give back to the community that has shown his family support since his dad first opened the glass shop 71 years ago.

“Any money you send out of town doesn’t come back. I wanted to pick someone down the street. It definitely helps the local economy and the City of Grass Valley,” he said. “All the business we get is from local people. The community has kept us going all of these years.”

Over the past 13 months, Nevada County businesses and nonprofits have faced a slew of challenges. In many ways, Cal Solar offers affordable, realistic and healthy solutions to issues stemming from climate change, a growing population and energy instability.

A worldwide pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, wildfires and PG&E power outages have all taken their toll on the local community. Despite the trials, neighbors are discovering a strength that comes from working together and lifting each other up toward a common goal – resiliency.

“In the midst of a pandemic, we local businesses are still taking care of each other,” said Martin Webb, Commercial Sales Manager. He and the crew from Cal Solar navigated obstacles and continued to offer expertise and knowledge to a number of clients throughout the region – from Grace Bible Church in Cedar Ridge to Calla Lily Crepes in Nevada City.

Up the hill, at the top of Broad Street, the historic Nevada Theatre is now offsetting carbon thanks to a solar energy system installed not a moment too soon.

With a set still on the stage, COVID-19 forced the theater to close its doors in March of 2020. Normally, the theater’s electricity bills reach upward of $3,000. Now, with a 40,000 Watt solar electric system in place, the nonprofit has peace of mind without a daunting overhead cost. Zero electric bills during the shutdown have proved solar energy is key to economic resiliency for California’s oldest still-operating theater building west of the Mississippi.

“The timing could not have been better for us. We don’t have to worry about utilities. It was just a win-win all the way around,” said President of the Board Jane Primrose. Cal Solar helped the theater turn a 15-year dream into a reality. Now that COVID-19 restrictions are lifting, the theater is hopeful to re-open in the fall. “We’ll have less of an issue coming back because we have solar,” said Primrose.

Cal Solar has a 21-year history of being a changemaker by investing in the economic viability of the region, providing good-paying jobs for people who live in Nevada County and by giving back to social and environmental causes. Learn more by visiting: https://www.cal-solar.coop/

CalSolar workers install a solar array on the rood of the Nevada Theatre in historic downtown Nevada City in 2020. In April, the team from California Solar Electric Company turned on a 91-panel system on top of the roof of the Moule Paint & Glass building at 700 East Main Street.
Photo by Akim Aginsky

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