ATLANTA, Ga. – Renewvia Energy Corporation announces that the first two solar-canopy systems for EchoPark® Automotive, a subsidiary of Sonic Automotive, Inc., are up and running at the LEED-certified flagship store in Thornton, Co., and at EchoPark Centennial. These innovative carports, complete with energy-efficiency under canopy lighting, will protect a total of 929 cars and SUVs from millions of dollars’ worth of hail, snow and sun damage. By generating more than 1.21 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy, Renewvia’s system is providing 100 percent of power required to operate the dealerships on an annual basis, while offsetting around nearly1,195 metric tons of CO2. This is equivalent to planting more than 1,400 acres of U.S. forests every year, according to the EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator.
“Based on in-depth analysis of solar canopies and alternative forms of covering,” said Renewvia President Eric Domescik, “we worked with Sonic Automotive to customize a solution that not only advances their commitment to sustainability, but also mitigates the rise of insurance costs when the next big storm hits.”
“Sonic and EchoPark Automotive continue our commitment to the environment and our guests. Installing solar canopies at four of our locations in Colorado and Texas is a big step towards our commitment to sustainability. The canopies are a smart solution to protecting vehicles from weather damage as well as allowing guests to browse shaded, cooler vehicles,” said Jeff Dyke, President of Sonic and EchoParkAutomotive.
Location. Location. Location.
This spring’s bomb cyclone was the state’s strongest storm on record. EchoPark Thornton and Centennial are located at the base of “hail alley,” a region stretching from northeast Colorado into Wyoming, Nebraska and Kansas that produces the most frequent hailstorms, overall, in the UnitedStates. Nationwide, these storms cause an estimated $8 billion to $10 billion in damages per year. In response, insurance carriers have started increasing premiums to offset losses, or in some cases, cancelling dealerships’ policies altogether.
With this in mind, Renewvia teamed up with Baja Construction Co., Inc. to develop a series of reinforced steel structures equipped with 3,969 solar photovoltaic panels that can quite literally weather even the toughest of storms. For example, during the powerfulMay 8, 2017 hailstorm in Denver, which produced hailstones as big as three inches wide, only one panel was broken out of the 3,168 powering the National Renewable Energy Lab’s (NREL) main campus – coincidentally, NREL researchers are responsible for developing quality tests to ensure the durability of solar panels.
In addition to Colorado, Renewvia’s partnership with the auto giant extends into Texas, which has led the nation since 2015 in highest number of major hail events (storms a year that produce hail one inch in diameter or larger). In order to protect Sonic’s Mercedes-Benz of McKinney, located in the Dallas suburbs, Renewvia recently commissioned a new canopy system to cover 301luxury cars and SUVs from hail and sun damage. The solar carports will produce nearly70 percent of the power needed to operate the dealership over the course of each year, which cuts an additional 771 metric tons of CO2 annually. Renewvia also has a large fourth system underway at the nearbyEchoPark Grand Prairie that will cover 626 vehicles while generating 1.06 MW of solar power.
Renewvia Energy Corporation is atop 500 Global Solar Developer headquartered in the Atlanta, Ga. It designs, installs, owns and operates commercial and community solar power systems across three continents and provides a complete range of solar energy solutions including turnkey solar installation, integrated financing and solar consulting services.
About Sonic Automotive
Sonic Automotive, Inc., a Fortune500 company based in Charlotte, N.C., is one of the nation’s largest automotive retailers. Sonic can be reached on the web at www.sonicautomotive.com. More information about EchoPark Automotive can be found at www.echopark.com.
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