US (CA): Flower supplier goes green with rooftop solar panels

Baker Electric, a full-service storage, electric, and solar contractor for the Southern California area, recently completed a 65.86 kW DC rooftop solar installation for FBI Flowers in Vista. FBI Flowers was looking to up their environmental game by commissioning the solar project to harness a more natural source of energy for their 11,000-square-foot building. The solar system installed by Baker is primed to continually produce clean energy equivalent to offsetting greenhouse gas emissions from 8,822 gallons of gas consumed annually.

While much of its product is local to Southern California and northern Mexico, a portion of FBI Flowers’ steadfast flower supply is often imported from its 120 partner farms in South America and Australia. The need for refrigerated transport and storage was a factor in the decision to go solar, as reducing consumption in the main building will help lower overall costs.

“Power is a significant expense to us. We were looking for ways to lock in our costs and make them more predictable,” said Frank Biddle, president and owner of FBI Flowers.

Baker’s estimates project the solar unit will save FBI Flowers nearly $19,000 within the first year of use, and an estimated $840,217 throughout the 25-year warrantied life of the solar modules. Baker assisted with securing financing for the unit, which is funded entirely by a power purchase agreement (PPA).

Reducing costs was a driving factor for FBI Flowers, but the company had also begun working on limiting environmental impact by utilizing eco-friendly shipping containers to import and export much of its product where possible, instead of air freight and other more expensive and impactful shipping methods.

“We are at the forefront of a new system where we are using refrigerated shipping containers, which have a much lower carbon footprint,” said Biddle. “They are along the same line [as the solar unit]; they save money and save carbon.”

Baker completed the project in less than nine months, and FBI Flowers was up and running on clean energy shortly after.

“Going solar is helping businesses all over Southern California both reduce their environmental impact and improve their bottom line,” said Scott Williams, Vice President of Baker Electric. “The solar system’s $840,000 in cumulative savings will go far towards helping FBI Flowers continue to thrive over the next 25 years.”

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