Tom Berrow is the co-owner of a commercial building in Penticton. He implemented a 54 kilowatt solar power system to help offset the majority of the building’s cooling loads and to reduce the building’s Demand Charge costs.

Why Solar?

We have a commercial building in Penticton and use a fair amount of energy dollars per year. We were looking at ways to improve the value of building, from an economic and asset value.

I’ve  always been interested in solar and went through an assessment to see if it was practical. Nothing stays the same price forever. With electrical power, it’s going to go up in price over the next number of years, and that was certainly a determining factor.

We saw it as a good way to offset costs. It’s a fairly large investment at the outset and takes a number of years to pay off but we were looking at it as a long-term investment.

How much of your energy mix is coming from solar annually?

The production from our solar in the first year was close to 40% of our total energy usage.

The production exceeded what Terratek estimated and what I used for my numbers. I’m pretty happy with the production at this point.

What are the main benefits of solar for a commercial building?

I see it as an asset to the building. There is a pay back time, but judging by our output there is a real benefit down the road.

Most solar panels are warrantied for 25 years and you can also buy a 25-year extended warranty for all of the other equipment if needed. If you get a payback that is 50 per cent (approximately 12 years) than it’s certainly worth it, if you’re looking at a long term purchase and an asset for the building down the road.

Why did you choose Terratek?

I liked their approach. They were located in Penticton which made a difference. They are great to work with, very professional. They answered any questions that I had and did a great job on the installation.

I enjoyed working with them. I call Landon quite regularly and he is more willing to answer any questions I may have.

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