Dallas-based AMP Creative and AMP Studios will realize significant financial savings from their new 56.9-kW solar power system, designed and installed by Sunfinity Renewable Energy . The team at AMP Companies also realized their 144-panel solar system would provide another bonus – increased noise abatement from outdoor sources like rainstorms, furthering their goal of having one of the quietest studios in the North Texas region.
AMP’s growing business includes a 12,000-square-foot studio complex that has hosted productions for clients from around the country, including high-profile groups like the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders and hip-hop duo Salt-N-Peppa. AMP Studios has a complete offering of facilities, equipment and support staff for media production from photography to audio recording to video filming. In discussing the possibility of going solar, the idea of using the panels for “double duty” came up.
“We’re always searching for outside-the-box ways to improve our facilities, and we wondered if the solar panels would provide additional sound buffering,” said owner Sandy Abernethy. “Sunfinity was incredibly helpful in actually bringing in test panels so we could test the audio ‘proof of concept’ that we wanted. There is clearly less noticeable sound during heavy rains when the panels are in place. We consider it a win all the way around,” said AMP Vice President Ian Loomer.
John Billingsley, Sunfinity’s Chairman and CEO, confirms that Sunfinity’s engineers were able to design the rooftop system with panels strategically placed over the specific studio areas (the total building comprises 20,000 square feet.) “We project AMP will offset about 50 percent of their total electricity consumption. The levelized cost of energy over time should be one cent per kilowatt hour, and the simple payback on the cost of the system is just five years, for a system that can easily last three decades or more.” Billingsley also estimates that over the system life it will offset greenhouse gas emissions from 3.7 million miles driven by an average passenger vehicle or carbon dioxide emissions from burning 1.6 thousand pounds of coal. Its effects are equivalent to carbon sequestered by 1,971 acres of U.S. forest in one year.
Abernethy has had an interest in solar energy for more than four decades and has extended green practices such as purchasing renewable energy, green spaces and composting to his business. In 2009, the firm received an award from HP and the Texas Governor’s Office for its green initiatives. Current incentives and a review by his CPA confirmed his belief that solar would be a good investment and that now would be the time to move ahead.
“Despite the uncertainties of the Covid-19 crisis, we wanted to be sure to take advantage of currently available incentives,” he commented. “We were able to combine the federal tax credit with a local utility incentive and bundle that with depreciation to save more than two-thirds of the original cost of the solar system. When we showed the numbers to our CPA, he said it was a no-brainer.”
The new solar array was installed during May and early June of 2020 and will be in service as the studios resume normal operations over the summer. Other recent Sunfinity commercial installations include Lakeside Chevrolet in Rockwall, Texas and solar-topped car canopies for a new U-Haul facility in Queen Creek, AZ; a solar system for the newly remodeled headquarters of Scott+Reid general contractors in Addison and solar for the newly constructed headquarters for American Airlines Credit Union.
— Solar Builder magazine