published Saturday, August 27th, 2011

Government grants set up pet hospital in energy seller

Federico walks across solar panels on the roof of Riverview Animal Hospital in Chattanooga on Monday. Plans to install the solar panels actually helped dictate the style of the animal hospital's roof when it was originally constructed.
Federico walks across solar panels on the roof of Riverview Animal Hospital in Chattanooga on Monday. Plans to install the solar panels actually helped dictate the style of the animal hospital's roof when it was originally constructed.
Photo by Alex Washburn.

What: A 40-kilowatt solar array

Company: Riverview Animal Hospital

Location: 641 N. Market St.

How it’s green: Since they were installed at the beginning of June, the array has offset about a ton of carbon emissions weekly.

Why do it this way? The solar array’s high energy production offsets the electricity consumption of the animal hospital and generates revenue for the business by selling power back to EPB. Over the first seven weeks, the arrays harnessed $2,000 worth of energy.

What’s the cost? The total cost of the array came in around $200,000 or $5 per single watt production capability. With the help of local, state and federal grants, that cost was reduced to about $65,000 out of pocket for the business.

Advice for others considering green initiatives: Seek help and shop around. Practice Owner Tai Federico was offered a rate of $8 per single watt production capability, a rate that would have cost $120,000 extra. Finding a good deal, combined with grants from the Tennessee Solar Institute, the federal government and local environmental group Green Spaces made the project not just possible, but a good business decision.

Is environmentalism an essential part of the business and why? Federico said environmentalism is important to his customers, to him. When designing the building, he made the decision to go as green as possible and is working towards LEED certification. “Over time, I think it’s a good business decision,” he said. “The cost benefits over the life of the building far outweigh the costs.”

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