‘True method’ toward energy efficiency: South Yuba Club structures building, adds solar to follow Grass Valley Energy Action Plan | TheUnion.com

‘True method’ toward energy efficiency: South Yuba Club structures building, adds solar to follow Grass Valley Energy Action Plan

Sam Corey
Staff Writer

The sun was shining serendipitously bright over newly-installed neon black solar panels at one of Grass Valley’s more well-known companies Wednesday.

After seven months of planning, the South Yuba Club unveiled its 346 solar panel array, producing 155 kW of power, which lays across its slanted roof.

“It’s time for more and more businesses and more and more communities to be investing in this infrastructure,” said South Yuba Club co-owner Mike Carville.

But it wasn’t just renewable energy the club had added. Since moving into the Grass Valley location, the South Yuba Club has tried to make its building energy efficient, adding LED lights, changing its heating and cooling system, reducing its use of plastic and adding refill stations to its drinking fountains, according to Mike Carville.

Sustainable Energy Group employees, like solar designer and sales manager Penn Martin and president Brian Gardner, said the club is a model for following the Grass Valley Energy Action Plan, making their building energy efficient before adding a renewable energy source.

“That is like the true method and pathway,” said Gardner.

Although outside organizations like the Sierra Business Council and Grass Valley Chamber of Commerce didn’t know whether this was the largest display of solar (or use of energy efficiency) in the city, Sustainable Energy Group members noted that this was one of its organizations largest projects since it began in 2004.

Two of the more noteworthy renewable energy comparisons from private companies in Grass Valley, according to Grass Valley Chamber of Commerce CEO Robin Davies, includes solar projects at the Miners Foundry and BriarPatch Food Co-op, which amounted to 470 panels of 37.6 kW and 680 panels of 295 kW, respectively.

Mike Carville said the club’s solar panel project has received more positive attention from club members than when a new hot tub was installed.

“There’s been more interest in the solar than any other project we’ve done,” he said.

The addition of solar to the club’s building is the equivalent of 40.6 tons of carbon sequestered from the atmosphere or the planting of 85,000 trees over 25 years, according to a Sustainable Energy Group press release.

Sustainable Energy Group Head Electrician Joe Nelson said solar panels will offset the club’s energy costs by about 50%.

The cost savings from solar will be used to pay a bank loan before getting positive returns on the investment in about five or six years, said club co-owner Phil Carville. As long as companies can take out the loan, he said the energy and cost benefits should work out.

“There’s a system that will work for you within a five- or six-year payoff,” said Carville.

To contact Staff Writer Sam Corey email scorey@theunion.com or call 530-477-4219.

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