Happy 5th Birthday to the Solar Panels at Street Dixon Rick Architecture
Standing in front of the bright red awning that graces the front door at Street Dixon Rick Architecture, one can't even see the solar panels that have silently and boldly produced electricity for the firm for the past five years.
And that's the beauty of them. You can hardly see them, and they work quietly with virtually no maintenance at all. After five summers, five winters and every type of weather in between, they just keep working away. The Tennessee-based architecture firm has powered computers, printers, heating and cooling for the past five years with a significant boost of energy generated from the sun and channeled through the array of 72 solar panels first "fired up" in 2007.
Over the last five years, the system has produced 74,723 kilowatt-hours of clean electricity, and the savings amount to approximately $15,700. Street Dixon Rick Architecture receives a premium of 12 cents on top of the current base rate under TVA's Generation Partners program.
"On sunny weekends, it's clear that the panels we installed are providing energy back to NES," said Steve Rick, AIA, LEED AP, Firm Principal with Street Dixon Rick Architecture, PLC. He points to the meters at the back of the building, where one meter reports energy generated rather than energy consumed.
Street Dixon Rick Architecture was the first in the state to participate as a commercial partner in the Tennessee Clean Energy Technology grant program and the first to provide energy back to NES through the Generation Partners program.
"As one of our first customers, Street Dixon Rick is a solar pioneer," said Steve Johnson, President of LightWave Solar. "They chose to install panels before most others in the state. We owe a big part of our success to folks like them."
Was it worth the investment? Rick says, yes. "We have had a number of visitors curious about the way the system works - from fourth graders to engineering students. Home owners and business owners have dropped by during the Solar Tours sponsored by LightWave Solar. It's been a great investment."
There's no doubt that the commitment has inspired employees as well. Architect Carly Wansing, who joined the firm six years ago, and her husband, Ed, installed solar panels at their home and were featured on the cover of the national magazine, Solar Today. Street Dixon Rick Architecture has been awarded two Green Star Awards from the Middle Tennessee Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council. Carly and Ed Wansing also received a Green Star Award for their individual commitment.
But they didn't install the panels for the accolades. They installed them to inspire others and provide a first-hand accounting to clients potentially considering them for their own buildings, whether commercial or residential.
Street Dixon Rick has designed a total of six LEED certified buildings, all on college campuses - five at Vanderbilt University and one at Juniata College in Pennsylvania.
So, Happy Birthday Street Dixon Rick Architecture Solar Panels -- and keep on providing green energy to the grid on the sunny days to come.