Texas-based Freedom Solar Power continues to grow its national residential and commercial solar power portfolio, especially in the auto dealer space, this time for the Parkway Auto Group’s Honda dealership in Dover, Ohio. This solar initiative by Parkway Honda clears the way for future solar installments at Parkway dealerships as the company strives to be 75% sustainable in the near future.
Freedom Solar installed a 7,038 sq. ft. solar array that consists of 248 panels, producing 120.3 kilowatts (kW) of on-site power at Parkway Honda and is able to generate over $378,000 worth of 20-year savings.
Parkway Honda is setting a new standard among Ohio automotive dealerships by investing in on-site solar power, and becoming one of the first car dealerships in its county to do so. As a participant in the Honda Green Dealer Program, Parkway Honda strives to implement green initiatives within the dealership, including battery stored energy.
“Parkway Honda’s partnership with Freedom Solar is making waves as one of Ohio’s premier solar installations in the automotive industry,” said Freedom Solar CEO Bret Biggart, who has placed an emphasis on turn-key solar generation systems for dealers across America. “We are proud to partner with them in making their business more energy-efficient and helping them become one step closer to their sustainable goals.”
Mears chose Freedom Solar as their solar contractor after a referral from Honda Green Dealer, an initiative designed by Honda to aid independently owned and operated Honda dealers in reducing their environmental footprint.
“We couldn’t be happier with our decision,” said Parkway Honda’s Partner, Mark C. Mears. “We are one of the first dealerships in the county to go solar and we are proud to be leading the way within Dover and Tuscarawas County. By diminishing our carbon footprint, we are achieving advantages never seen before rather than just reducing our electricity bill.”
The decision to go solar impacts a wide range of components beyond electricity bills. Mears stated several factors played into the company’s decision to move forward with the conversion to on-site power generation at its Honda dealership, a decision they have been contemplating for awhile. Some of the factors included: financial local and federal incentives, the testimony of dealers in other parts of the state who have already transitioned, and the fact that the Honda dealership has ample roof area to accommodate solar arrays powerful enough to offset a large percentage of their energy costs.
“Installing solar has become a cost-reduction strategy for entrepreneurial automotive dealers and is growing rapidly amongst dealerships nationwide,” said Biggart.
Since 2020, the federal solar investment tax credit (ITC) has been a major pull towards organization’s choosing to go solar. As part of a broad initiative to make renewable energy like solar an attractive alternative to traditional electric power, Congress extended the solar tax credit through 2023.
Why dealerships? Solar is inevitable for car dealerships, and the solar/dealership relationship exemplifies a hand-in-glove fit. Businesses across the country are going solar due to its increasing affordability, but none more so than the automotive industry. According to the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA), energy costs can be a dealership’s third-highest overhead operating expense due to long operating hours and energy-intensive showrooms and lots. Dealers have also been reporting rising electric costs, thus, for these reasons, many dealerships are turning to solar power to mitigate their high energy expenditures and ensure electricity reliability.
“From a financial standpoint, going solar was an extremely smart investment,” said Mears. “Switching to solar power also demonstrates our commitment to environmental sustainability, which is an integral aspect of our company that we consistently strive towards.”
— Solar Builder magazine