Loan Helps McQuade’s Ace Hardware Cut Costs and Protect the Environment with Solar Panel | Where is


WEST – A soon to be operational rooftop solar array at McQuade’s Ace Hardware is expected to save more than $ 1 million in electricity costs over 20 years. The owners of the store say the electricity project, combined with a refurbishment of the facility, ushers in a new era for the family business.

Good timing, relationships between local business owners and a loan too good to be turned down from Rhode Infrastructure Bank all came together to make the project possible, said Mark McQuade, general manager of the store, in an interview on Tuesday. .

While he had received a handful of offers and proposals for rooftop solar installations over the years, McQuade said it wasn’t until Bob Anderson of Charlestown-based Anderson Energy Solutions spoke up. with him the idea began to become clearer. Anderson provides energy consulting and energy brokerage services and is a client of McQuade.

“He’s a local guy and a client – someone who is easy to trust and have a relationship with because I already knew him,” said Mark McQuade.

Anderson, McQuade said, put the project out for tender and ultimately connected McQuade and the store to Centrica Business Solutions. The company installed the system and worked on a distribution agreement with National Grid, which manages the electrical grid that will be fed by the roof system. The system should be operational next week.

“Centrica has other plans in town so I can check with locals for background and references,” said Mark McQuade.

The top-to-bottom renovation of the store, which included new floors, a new ceiling, new lighting, new shelves and a new store layout, also included the removal of the old suspended ceiling and roof improvements, which previously would not have been able to support a solar panel, said store owner Tom McQuade, Mark’s father.

“The renovation marked a new era for the store and it is part of the new era,” said Tom McQuade, standing next to the solar panels on the roof.

Tom and Mark’s father-son duo and Mark’s wife Alison, the store manager, form the team that runs the store, which opened in 1975 on Main Street, next to McQuade’s Marketplace, which belongs to Tom’s brother. , Michael. The hardware store has been in its current location on Franklin Street in Mill Pond Plaza since the late 1980s.

“With all electric cars and air conditioners and other uses of electricity, it’s good to help reduce stress on the grid,” said Mark McQuade. “It makes sense to plug in this roof, which was literally just soaking in the sun. Now, with this technology, we can harness it,” said Mark McQuade.

The store used nearly $ 500,000 in clean energy financing assessed by the commercial property of the Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank to cover the cost of 200.2 kilowatts of solar panels that are expected to reduce 2,683 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions. carbon or CO2. Carbon emissions trapped in the atmosphere cause global warming and climate change.

Mark McQuade said he hopes other business owners will consider similar projects.

“I would encourage any business that has an open roof like this to investigate,” McQuade said.

The financing provided to the store by the infrastructure bank is one of five valued clean energy loans for commercial property totaling $ 20 million issued by the bank in fiscal year 2021. The financing, according to a Bank press release, supported the implementation of energy efficiency and solar projects in commercial properties that will reduce carbon emissions by more than 14,000 metric tons, the equivalent of annual energy consumption of over 1,700 single-family homes.

“The Infrastructure Bank is delighted to help make these solar energy construction, water conservation and energy efficiency projects a reality through our C-PACE program,” said Jeffrey R. Diehl, CEO of the bank, in a press release. “As Rhode Island commercial building owners are looking to improve their properties to make them more efficient, C-PACE is a great tool that can provide up to 100% project financing. This means that there are no upfront costs and that no personal guarantees are needed to make these projects a reality. Reimbursement is made through a property appraisal, and generally the energy savings resulting from these improvements outweigh the payment. “

The bank also provided $ 538,244 in C-PACE funding to enable St. Francis de Sales Parish in North Kingstown to build a 249.5 kilowatt ground-based solar installation that will reduce 3,319 tonnes of CO2 emissions and save money. $ 1,273,642 in electricity costs over the forecast period. 20 year useful life of the project.

In addition, the bank provided $ 715,000 in C-PACE financing to enable South County Investments in South Kingstown to install measures such as water conservation, LED lighting, heating upgrades, ventilation and air conditioning, insulation and a 33 kilowatt solar system that will reduce 1,210 watts. tons of CO2 emissions and save $ 613,677 in energy costs over the expected useful life of the project.

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