Here at CleanTechnica, we like to give auto dealers a lot of crap. After all, they rip customers off whenever possible, often drag their feet on selling electric vehicles, and are more worried about their pull with state legislators than what customers think of them. However, we do have to be fair and point out that some dealers aren’t like that. They’re uncommon, but you can find a few ethical people even in the most corrupt businesses. So, to be fair and honest about dealers, we do need to acknowledge when they do something spectacularly right and not just when they do something awful (which we will come back to, regularly).
So, I want to give kudos to Capistrano Volkswagen Mazda in San Juan Capistrano, California. It recently inked an agreement with Stellar Solar, a California-based solar power company, to install two massive arrays of solar panels. Between what’s being installed at the two dealers, the total maximum power output will be 134 kilowatts. To put this in perspective, residential solar installations are between 4 and 10 kilowatts. By corporate/commercial standards, this isn’t the biggest project we’ve ever seen (for example, a 1200 kilowatt installation in New Mexico at a Walmart store dwarfs this one), but it’s significant.
Perhaps more importantly, an installation of this size is going to exceed the dealer’s energy needs, and will have a net-positive impact on the area’s climate impact. They easily could have gone for a smaller set of panels that would have covered just their needs and utility bills (at least today’s bills).
“First off, we are thrilled to be making the move to solar. And to do it with a company with such an established track record of success and expertise in solar, battery storage and electric vehicle connectivity was just a bonus.” Said Capistrano Volkswagen/Mazda owner Miles Brandon. “It was their tagline of Electrify Your Life that made forming a strategic partnership and offering their full suite of services to our customers a no-brainer. I’m excited to be on the forefront of this and contributing to the clean energy movement.”
One of the reasons they probably went for a larger installation is to take care of future EV charging needs. Many dealers offer free charging for customers after the sale, and they are certainly going to want to charge up the vehicles they have for sale to keep them ready for test drives and sales. Being able to make those needs come from cheaper and more predictable renewable energy makes a lot of sense. Sure, VW only sells the ID.4 at present, but it is going to have more future electric models in the United States.
Another cool thing about the dealer’s solar installation is that it will be the first among many. Instead of only selling electric vehicles, they’re going to partner with Stellar Solar to sell new EV owners, renewable energy at their homes and businesses, too. You can go to them to get an electric Volkswagen, but you can also get your EV charging station installed in the garage, get solar on the roof, and energy storage, too!
For many customers, this will render the “long tailpipe” argument moot by powering cars with California sunshine instead of fossil fuels. The impact of those future sales will be amazing.
Featured image: Capistrano Volkswagen/Mazda owner Miles Brandon and Stellar Solar CEO with the Volkswagen ID.4. Image provided by Stellar Solar and Capistrano Volkswagen Mazda (press release).
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