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Business has county's largest solar array

Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan  First Century Energy Vice President of Engineering and Construction Pete Corbett and Executive Vice President George Mori give the Gwinnett Daily Post a tour of the solar panel grid located on the roof of an office building managed by CORO Realty Advisors, LLC in Norcross. The solar grid is the largest solar array in Gwinnett County, covering 23,000 square feet.

Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan First Century Energy Vice President of Engineering and Construction Pete Corbett and Executive Vice President George Mori give the Gwinnett Daily Post a tour of the solar panel grid located on the roof of an office building managed by CORO Realty Advisors, LLC in Norcross. The solar grid is the largest solar array in Gwinnett County, covering 23,000 square feet.

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Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan The largest solar array in Gwinnett County, covering 23,000 square feet is located on the roof of an office building managed by CORO Realty Advisors, LLC on Jimmy Carter Boulevard in Norcross.

NORCROSS -- Florida may be the sunshine state, but the folks at First Century Energy think the warm Georgia rays are hard to beat.

The Atlanta-based solar energy developer has lined the rooftop of a large Norcross warehouse with 730 panels to suck up the sunlight. It's the largest project of its kind in Gwinnett County and one of the biggest in Georgia.

Managed by CORO Realty Advisors LLC, the warehouse affords the business an opportunity to invest in a "green" project while generating additional income and property value by selling the harnessed energy to Georgia Power.

"This is an exciting solar project for Gwinnett County and Georgia's real estate community," said George Mori, executive vice president at First Century Energy.

Mori said the project will generate more than 5.4 million kilowatt hours over its 25-year life, equal to powering 20 homes per year, saving about 3 million gallons of water or replacing 1,200 acres of trees.

The project features Suniva solar modules, a company based in Gwinnett County.

Said Bryan Ashley, Suniva's chief marketing officer: "I'm delighted that Suniva's homegrown technology is being used to power Gwinnett County's largest commercial solar array."

CORO spent about $700,000 for installation of the panels, according to John Lundeen, president of the real estate company.

He said that the state provided some grant money to help offset the costs of mounting the panels on the warehouse roof.

"It's like anything," Lundeen said. "You have to evaluate whether its' a good place to spend money, and we concluded that it was going to be a positive, and we think we'll get a reasonable return."

First Century Energy installed the panels in December, and the project has since been "a success" Lundeen said.

He said the company began considering the project about three years ago. "A number of things happened over the three-year period," Lundeen said. "The price of solar panels declined and energy prices went up somewhat."

Added Lundeen: "At this point, I believe it's a positive in general that people start relying on some of these different sources of energy."

Mori said the possibilities are wide open for Georgia solar energy.

"Georgia has some of the best opportunities for these types of projects," said Mori, citing a report from the University of Arizona that ranked the state as third in the U.S. for solar energy potential.

Financially, he said, it's a win-win. He said the project in Norcross for instance "will achieve full payback within about 5 years, while providing additional cash flow for the property throughout the 25-year life of the solar array."

First Century Energy is a developer and integrator of solar projects for commercial, industrial and government clients.

For more information, visit www.firstcenturyenergy.com.

CORO Realty Advisors LLC was founded in 1997. The firm provides asset management, property management and real estate advisory services for residential and commercial properties.

Comments

kevin 2 years, 9 months ago

What is the annual savings in their electric bills?

The cost is $28,000/yr ($700,000/25) to provide power for 20 homes. This equals to a per home cost of $1,400/yr. This is assuming that there is no additional costs over the 25 yr period. Doesn't look like much of a savings to me. That is about avg for a home without solar.

Tell us what happens when there isn't enough sun and you have to go back to electricity. That will decrease the benefits even more.

Still not convinced that Georgia is a "sunshine" state nor will each homeowner be given a nice grant to install their panels. Too much missing in this article. Just publicity and wishful thinking at this point.

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FactChecker 2 years, 9 months ago

 Kevin, I appreciate your breakdown; however, my assumption would be that they are talking about average single dwelling homes that are total electric. I have searched and not found average annual power bill for Gwinnett total electric homes. I have researched solar homes and have found that a new 1500 square foot home can put in a solar system that will generate sufficient power in our region for about $20,000. Now to your criticism about cloudy days. It should be noted that electric generating companies are most concerned about the times of peak power usage. These are the hot, sunny days of summer. During these times, the panels will be pumping massive amounts of energy to curtail the loads on conventional generators. True, during cloudy days, power output is lower but so is demand. No one is proposing solar panels as the sole means of power generation but a balance between solar, wind, hydroelectric and generators should be the goal.
  Mori said "...will achieve full payback within about 5 years, ...". This would work out to an annual wholesale cost of $7000 per home. Definitely figuring large homes than usually found in Gwinnett.
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BuzzG 2 years, 9 months ago

"He said that the state provided some grant money to help offset the costs of mounting the panels on the warehouse roof."

Whether it says so or not, I am willing to bet there is Federal money involved. Obama is good at throwing other people's money at "green" nonsense. That is why our nation is $15,400,000,000,000.00 in debt and soon to lose our good credit rating. And our state is $50 billion in debt. No one ever asked the taxpayers if they wanted their money wasted on this nonsense. There is so much missing from this article that I don't know where to begin. Frank Reddy is not ready for the big time.

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Gundoctor1 2 years, 9 months ago

Kevin, You were shot down son!!

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