OCEAN CITY – A Berlin business is moving forward in taking on renewable energy to not only benefit itself but the community as well.
Ace Printing and Mailing owner Thom Gulyas said he has been investigating solar energy for his business for about three years now. He interviewed quite a few different companies to install solar panels onto his roof and settled on Flexera.
According to Flexera Vice President Benjamin Farr, the company is an engineering-based firm that specializes in energy management for commercial and residential clients.
“We view ourselves as a holistic energy management company in a sense that we do everything from energy audits to procurement, to selling renewable energy, efficiency systems, and control systems…if you want to lower or get rid of your power bill we are a one stop shop,” he said.
Ace Printing and Mailing will be the second renewable energy project in Berlin after South Moon Under. Flexera has done over 150 commercial installations in the Delmarva region since the company’s inception in 2006.
The plan for Ace Printing and Mailing is to place 27,500 kilowatts of solar nodules on the south side of the building, which will eliminate the company’s power bill altogether.
“Ace Printing [and Mailing] will be 100 percent solar power,” Farr said.
Gulyas will not only eliminate his business’s energy bill but it will also kick energy back into the Berlin community’s electric grid benefiting his neighbors.
“By having Thom’s [Gulyas] system operating during peak demand and exporting power into the Berlin grid during periods of peak demand, he is actually helping his neighbors,” Farr said. “He is reducing congestion on the grid and enabling Berlin electrical co-op to procure power from a local source rather than having to purchase it on the outside market.”
Gulyas said that with the costs commercial and residential property owners are facing in the Berlin area today it was a “no brainer” to look toward solar energy to make a difference in his monthly costs. He is estimating his new solar panel system will pay itself off in three years by what he will be saving in energy costs.
“We are spending approximately $700 a month in electric for Berlin, which is expensive,” he said. “So you can see where we will be going in a more positive direction … we will be getting paid for the power that we will be putting back onto the grid, and we are going to zero out our electric bills here as well.”
Farr added that it is common for small municipal electric cooperatives to have energy costs grow at a faster rate than for electricity in the general grid.
Gulyas said that his decision to install solar panels is not so much coming from eliminating his carbon footprint, or a “feel good thing”, but doing what he has to do save money during these economically tough times.
“Obviously, we do want to lower our carbon footprint, and obviously I do want to make this a cleaner place to live for not just me but my family as well,” he said. “But at the same time I am looking for investments that will pay back and I am looking to save money as well.”
Gulyas’s mother, Worcester County Commissioner Louise Gulyas, said that without question renewable energy is the way to go.
“We are going to have to turn to alternative methods of heat, electricity and air conditioning,” she said. “We’re just going to have to do it and to just turn a blind eye to it is just insanity.”
Farr agreed saying that if foreign resources were eliminated and if the United States were to extract every single source of oil in the country there would be enough to live off of for only three and a half years.
“This country will never be self-sufficient in oil, we just don’t have the reserves,” he said. “What we do have is plenty of sun and wind and the technology and smarts to utilize it if we choose to, and so it is very clear and important to move this country in that direction.”
Farr said that he plans on having the installation of Ace Printing and Mailing’s solar panels begin within the next six to eight weeks.
“I can’t wait to flip that switch,” Gulyas said.