Schurter’s North American headquarters, standing amidst legacy oaks in Sonoma County, California, fosters a deep appreciation for the environment — something also echoed by its Swiss corporate parent. True to its green ethic, the company just completed installation of a 108kW rooftop solar energy system. The company’s CEO, Leonard Overholser, spearheaded this addition to the company’s green energy assets.
“Not only will the system reduce Schurter’s carbon footprint, it will also considerably reduce the company’s energy expense,” Overholser said. “A record-breaking year in 2018 made the decision easy, moving forward to allocate the funds for such an investment project. We are now in a position that allows us to re-invest that portion of the (energy) budget to more value added projects.”
Designed by Pure Power Solutions, a Sonoma county solar energy contractor, the system includes 290 QCell solar modules with optimizers that increase the efficiency of each module. The inverter is from SolarEdge. Using an innovative clamped racking system, Pure Power was able to clamp the solar racking onto the ribs of the building’s standing-seam roof, eliminating the need for roof penetrations.
The solar energy system is expected to generate more than 127,000 kilowatt hours of clean energy per year, satisfying an estimated 98% of the company’s energy needs and reducing the average cost of electricity to two and a half cents per kWh. Total lifetime energy cost savings is estimated at greater than $1.5 million.
The system will directly feed the company’s electricity needs, offsetting purchases from PG&E. When the system produces more electricity than the company requires, excess production will feed into PG&E’s infrastructure, earning the company a credit on its utility bill — and supplying green energy to other local users.
Schurter always envisioned a renewable energy footprint, since the solar boom rebirth in the early 2000s. A perfect storm finally emerged: multiple years of higher than expected sales growth and lower upfront investment costs — coupled with dissipating state and federal tax incentives — pushed the shelved project into action.
“Because we are an electronics supplier who sell EMC components into the energy market segment, we saw first-hand the rise, fall and rise again of the renewable industry,” Overholser said. “We knew we had the golden opportunity to complete our long-term vision and we took it. We are extremely proud of this accomplishment.”