Carniceria Los Compadres Case Study
Carniceria Los Compadres is a family owned and operated market in the heart of Skagit Valley that specializes in Latin American grocery items. Just off Interstate 5, the Carniceria offers freshly prepared food to-go, and a variety of fresh dairy, produce and other grocery staples. It also includes an extensive butcher shop. Established in 2006, Carniceria Los Compadres has been a pillar of the Spanish-speaking community in Skagit County, as well as a vital part of the community as a whole.
In late 2021, the leadership at the market reached out to Fire Mountain Solar to learn more about how solar could help reduce their very expensive monthly power bills. There were a couple of challenges when approaching a solar installation. First, due to the age of the building and because of multiple renovations and expansions done by various businesses that had occupied the property, the existing 3 phase electrical system presented complications when trying to select equipment for the project. Second, the building had a very unusual roof shape, resulting in the roof having multiple steep facets covered standing-seam metal roofing.
After several conversations about the goals for the solar system, an extensive site visit, and a couple of design revisions, the owners settled on a 26.88 kW grid-tied system that would maximize the roof space and cover the most expensive 10-15% of the building’s usage. This would provide the most power possible from a roof-mounted system without oversizing the solar for lower production times, eliminating power lost during times of peak production related to wire size limitations. Given the nature of the building and location, power outages were not a concern, so they chose to forgo battery backup.
The installed system consists of 64 Mission 420w solar panels, 32 Chilicon Power micro inverters, IronRidge racking, and non-penetrating S-5! clamps for standing seam metal roofing, with an estimated annual production of 27,000 kWh. The Chilicon Power micro inverter system comes with monitoring both onsite from the Gateway unit, and remotely using an online platform or phone application. The products selected require minimal maintenance, allowing the business to continue day-to-day operations without needing to actively engage with their new power system.
For incentives, the business was able to utilize both the 30% Investment Tax Credit (ITC), and the Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System (MACRS) which allows them to defray taxes for 5-7 years post installation.
The Carniceria’s solar system has now been up and running for over a year, and so far they have avoided over $4,000 in electrical costs. At this rate, the owners expect to recoup their entire investment in 10 years or less. And given that the solar panels and micro inverters are warrantied for 25 years and expected to last much longer, and that electricity rates will only continue to increase, their return on investment over the life of the system should be significant.
System Size: 26.88 kW
64 Mission Solar 420 Watt Solar Panels
32 Chilicon Energy Micro Inverters
Ironridge XR100 Racking
SunModo EZ Roof Mount Kits