Solar Power : Solar Has Printers Juiced
Alan Goltzman had long entertained the idea of installing solar panels at his company, Presswrite Printing in Minneapolis, but the move wasn’t feasible until recently. A visit to the Minnesota State Fair, where Goltzman got a more in-depth look at the hows and whys of installing solar panels, spurred him to ask more questions and make more phone calls.
Intrigued, Goltzman contracted a pair of solar technology providers to perform a site assessment and determine if the Presswrite Printing facility was optimally positioned to leverage the sun’s rays. Fortunately, the building faced the south, so the path was cleared for an installation.
“There were no building or any structural issues…nothing that was going to be in the way,” Goltzman says. “We looked at the (financial) incentives and decided that the time was right. It’s not a process for the faint of heart; it took eight months to install and we had to front all the money. You start getting the rebate money back after the system is installed and operational.”
The state and federal governments, along with Presswrite’s energy provider, all kicked in with grants that funded roughly 70 percent of the project. The system itself produces about 30 percent of the printer’s overall energy consumption. Goltzman projects his ROI to be about four years.
Visitors to Presswrite Printing’s Website can see, via an interface with the system, how much energy the printer is producing. Clients, not to mention prospects, have taken notice. Ditto for local businesses.
“We attracted one new customer because of it, and it’s made our current clients feel good about us using it,” Goltzman adds. “One client put it in his literature. I felt that if I attracted even one customer with the solar energy, it was well worth whatever I put into it. We’ve only been operational for five months, but it’s been extremely well-received and people are very interested in it. A business organization is coming in for a tour, and our local fire department came through to check it out. Another city’s government is coming to take a look for a pilot project on their building. To me, that’s very exciting.”