Capitol Honda in San Jose, CA now sits on the sunny side of the street — at least in terms of environmental awareness and responsibility.
The Capitol Expressway Auto Mall dealership recently covered its entire roof with more than 900 solar panels, taking advantage of a Pacific Gas & Electric Co. program for customers investing in solar power.
Capitol Honda became the first car dealership in PG&E's service area to receive a solar rebate through the utility company's Self-Generation Incentive Program.
It also is the second-largest solar system installed under the program in the City of San Jose, with a maximum output of 127,685 watts. That's enough to power nearly 1,300 100-watt light bulbs. The new system can produce more than 184,000 kilowatt hours of electricity annually.
“Choosing solar as an alternate source of power is an environmentally responsible thing to do, enhancing the quality of life for the community in which we live and work,” says Bob Kinney, general manager of the 13-year-old dealership. “Our commitment mirrors that of American Honda, which continues to develop hybrid automobiles that get nearly double the gas mileage of their gasoline-powered counterparts.”
Depending on weather conditions, Capitol Honda anticipates a 35% to 80% reduction in electricity costs.
Kinney says: “Anything that reduces overhead allows us to be more competitive. That's good for our customers because we can extend deeper discounts on our products and services.”
The clean energy produced by Capitol Honda's 936 solar panels will not only meet dealership electricity needs, it will also at times become excess electricity that goes into the electrical power grid for PG&E to use in supplying other businesses and residences. Then the dealership's electricity meter will actually run backwards, with dealership power bills reduced accordingly.
The project cost $1.3 million. Of that, PG&E covered half under its energy incentive program. Over time, state and federal tax credits will pay for much of the rest. Solar Depot of Petaluma, CA, installed the system.