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How an Ann Arbor Company is Reducing its Carbon Footprint with Solar

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A commitment to giving back to Mother Nature was at the heart of what motivated husband and wife team John Ames Jr. and Nicha Sangiampornpanit to start their Ann Arbor-based sustainable clothing company, JOOB Wear, less than two years ago.

The two adventurers and outdoor enthusiasts knew they wanted JOOB to be leaders in the area of sustainability and environmental responsibility, so using solar energy was a no-brainer. After shopping around, Ames chose to work with Michigan Solar Solutions (MSS) to install solar panels on its recently-renovated headquarters and warehouse.

Utilizing onsite solar to supplement electricity consumption can vastly reduce a firm’s carbon footprint. Electricity-generated carbon emissions from coal and natural gas power plants are often the largest regional polluters, so any reduction in a building’s use of this electricity results in less regional air pollution, which is ultimately the air that a company’s employees and their families breathe. 

This circuitous benefit is something that JOOB’s leaders already understood. Ames previously worked with a software company that measured corporate CO2 footprints and understood the importance of carbon offsetting to lower the environmental impact of other unavoidable emissions. 

Ames chose MSS for many reasons, including its ability to help him determine if solar power made financial sense for his company as well as its fast setup and installation. 

“The first part of the process was just about understanding, ‘Is there a payback for solar?’” Ames said. “Which I thought was a good way to start!”

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Since JOOB was a new company and the 2,000 square foot warehouse was a fresh space, the company helped Ames estimate his annual power needs, what kind of return on investment he could expect, and the associated tax implications.  

Even for a small operation such as JOOB, which planned to use power only for WiFi, lights, heating, and air conditioning, and hot water, it ended up being cost-effective to go solar. MSS determined that solar panels could cover 80-90% of JOOB’s power needs, and the company would be responsible for the remaining 20% of costs.

It took a total of only two days for the company to set up and install the panels. 

“That was everything, from putting the panels on to connecting back to the grid, so it was quite easy and painless,” Ames said. “I was pleasantly surprised with how easy it was. I would say that for anyone who’s thinking about it, they should explore and see what opportunities there are.” 

As part of JOOB’s setup, it sends excess solar back to DTE Energy’s grid, which it can then store as a credit to be used during periods of low solar power production. 

JOOB-2020-Solar-Production-Chart_1_480x480In the end, JOOB’s total solar power production was 5,525 KWh last year, which was well above the company’s actual power used of 2,407 KWh, giving the company enough credits to power its headquarters through 2021 even if it only produces 0 solar power this year

The solar panels have a 25-year estimated lifetime usage and warranty. Assuming an average electricity bill is $100 a month, the company estimates it will be able to save $30,000 and realize a payback in its solar investment in only six years. An easy decision!

Michigan Solar Solutions is a commercial and residential solar installer and electrical contractor that has served Michigan’s lower peninsula since 2007. For businesses or homes, we can use satellite imagery and the most recent electric bill to provide a detailed proposal with up to 98% accuracy. Contact us today for a free solar site analysis to find out if solar is right for you! 

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