Solar Insight: Q&A With Solar Customer Bill Weber Jr. from Gaston Electrical

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“Our 676-panel installation represents a significant investment for the company. Importantly, it comes at a time when we are investing in other parts of our business – including workforce, services, and headquarters expansion/enhancements. Simply put, we are poised for long-term success, and the addition of a renewable solar system complements our forward-thinking culture and business plan.”

-Bill Weber Jr. Gaston Electrical 

Bill Weber Jr. Gaston Electrical
Bill Weber Jr. Gaston Electrical

 

Since 1934, Gaston Electrical has provided expert electrical contracting services to the commercial, institutional, life-sciences, hospitality, and retail markets in New England. Gaston Electrical collaborates with its clients and partners to deliver innovative solutions for complex projects. Gaston’s company leadership, electricians, and technicians build trust through best-in-class services, quality workmanship, safety practices, and reliability.

Gaston Electrical just recently flipped the switch on their solar PV system. Since then, the company has seen it produce over 90,000 kWh to date, and are already seeing an impact on their energy demands and bottom line. We spoke with energy veteran and Principal of Gaston Electrical Services, Bill Weber Jr., to get his insight into the process of going solar.

Why did you make the decision to go solar?

As an electrical contractor working on some of the largest construction/development projects in the Boston area, we understand the importance of clean/renewable energy – and the amount needed to power expansive properties. On the job site, and at our headquarters, we are committed to operate in a more sustainable fashion, so we decided to start at home and utilize the resources we had, including our large, flat roof.  We always employ the most efficient practices for ourselves, and for our clients. We want to get the best performance from our equipment, and even our building.

Why did you choose Solect as your solar partner?

After extensive research and due diligence, we recognized Solect as the most knowledgeable leader in the field. We are a Massachusetts-based company, and take pride in supporting other local companies. We also understand the need for ongoing monitoring, maintenance, and inspection – Solect keeps our system operating at top performance.

How do your energy / operating costs from before you went solar compare to those after going solar?

Our installation was completed fairly recently so we are still quantifying the year-over-year benefits. However, we are impressed that we have already produced over 90,00 kWh to date. This represents a significant value – especially when generated via renewable methods.

What has been the best part of your solar experience?

The process was unique because Gaston employees completed the panel installation with input and plans designed by the Solect Team – resulting in a truly collaborative experience, and a finished product that we are all proud of.
Monitoring and transparency are two important aspects we look for in any new endeavor. With the shift to solar, it was important for us to easily track the effectiveness of the campaign in real-time, or over set periods of time. The www.solrenview.com website provides direct access to our team so we can track total kWh produced to date, and other system analytics.

Can you tell us a little bit about how going solar has changed your company from a business perspective?

Our 676-panel installation represents a significant investment for the company. Importantly, it comes at a time when we are investing in other parts of our business – including workforce, services, and headquarters expansion/enhancements. Simply put, we are poised for long-term success, and the addition of a renewable solar system complements our forward-thinking culture and business plan.

Did going solar encourage you to pursue any other “green” initiatives?

Operating in the construction and development realm, we have the pleasure of working within many different asset types. Although some buildings are not currently operating in accordance with “green” practices, many newer buildings are being constructed with the goal of achieving LEED recognition – utilizing innovative practices like green-walls, efficient HVAC systems, LED lighting, efficient lighting control systems, low-flow water systems, and onsite solar field/solar roof systems. Seeing these practices in real world situations definitely influenced our migration to solar – and in turn, we share this experience with our project partners and other property owners.

What advice do you have for business or property owners looking to go solar?

We recommend that other companies identify their goals for solar conversion and review important considerations prior to engaging a provider – are they interested in reducing costs, supplementing other forms of energy, or rolling out a larger “green” initiative? Once this step is complete, it is paramount to partner with a knowledgeable and professional group like Solect. Solar is still a “new” technology for most people so there is a large consumer education component involved. Our Solect partners clearly explained the process, costs, maintenance, and benefits.

Is there anything else about your “solar story” that you would like to share?

Norwood, MA has a wealth of commercial property located along the Route 1 corridor. Despite so much existing development, there are few companies in the region that have harnessed the power of solar. As an electrical contractor and local business owner with a rich history, we are proud to be a leader in solar adoption.