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Aircraft supplier cuts electric bill by 80 percent switching to solar

Solar saving aircraft company 80 percent on their electric bill allowing them to hire 70 new workers.
Solar saving aircraft company 80 percent on their electric bill allowing them to hire 70 new workers.ZDS Communications

A leading global aircraft parts supplier in the southern California expects to save 80 percent on its electric bill now that it installed a 1MV (megawatt) solar system on its facilities. Unical Aviation, Inc. made the announcement in a release Thursday. The firm, whose clients include Boeing, most major airlines, UPS, Fed Ex and the U.S. military, is using the savings to increase its employment 25 percent.

Solar panels saving Unical $200,000 in first year

Unical expects to save $200,000 on utility costs in the first year alone, and millions more over the solar power system’s lifetime. The Unical Aviation solar system was installed by SolarCity.

“We went solar first and foremost for environmental reasons,” says Unical executive vice president Leonardus Karsana. “But financially, it was a no brainer. Our electricity bill rises every year and we’re consuming much more electricity because we’re growing so rapidly. We hired 70 people over the past year and now have a total of 370 employees. We also opened a new MRO, maintenance, repair and overhaul division, which requires the purchase of a lot of machinery and is consuming a lot of electricity.”

Environmentally, the new solar array will prevent more than 27 million pounds of carbon emissions from entering the atmosphere over its lifetime, which is equivalent to planting about 1 million trees or taking more than 2,300 gasoline-powered cars off the road, based on 20 year contract lifetime, based on calculations from the Environmental Protection Agency.

“Everyone is going to switch to solar, especially in sun-drenched states,” Karsana said. “It’s just a matter of time.”

Unical Aviation was founded in 1990 and it provides aircraft and engine parts for daily and heavy maintenance checks, component repair management, structural parts and equipment. In addition, it supports total care services for consumable, expendables and component power-by-the-hour programs for aircraft operators.

SolarCity is a publicly traded solar firm that is based in California and has operations in 14 states. SolarCity provides renewable solar electricity directly to homeowners, businesses and government organizations for less than they spend on their utility bills. In most cases, there is no up-front cost to the customer because SolarCity designs and installs the system and sells the electricity to the homeowner or business for less than they are paying their electric utility.

One day, the roof of every industrial warehouse across the Southland will gleam with solar panels generating electricity from the most affordable source in the world—the sun,” Jim Cahill, SolarCity’s regional vice president for Southern California, said in the release. “Innovators like Unical Aviation are leading the way to that inevitable future, which will bring economic and environmental benefits that our state and nation still so sorely need.”

Solar is a no drainer

In every city there are acres and acres of roofs on industrial buildings that could be filled with solar panels. If these bare roofs became mini-solar farms, it would reduce millions of tons of carbon pollution from our atmosphere and save the businesses in those buildings lots of money. Perhaps Unical Aviation will become a trend setter showing businesses how they can cut their electric bill and invest the savings to grow their own business not the electric company.

During the past year we have seen how costly severe weather events are. Major storms have cost taxpayers billions of dollars in clean up and damage repair from storms from tornadoes, floods, wild fires, and severe cold and snow. These storms are made worse due to climate change. Solar saves the electric consumer money, but the solar also reduces greenhouse gas, the leading cause of the warming that is disrupting our weather patterns. It is, as Unical Aviation’s CEO said, a no brainer.

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