Sunfinity Renewable Energy installed a 56.9-kWdc solar system atop AMP Studios, a Dallas, Texas-based digital media company. AMP has hosted productions for clients like the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders and hip-hop duo Salt-N-Peppa. The company provides support facilities, equipment and staffing for media production from photography to audio recording to video filming.
In discussing the possibility of going solar, the idea of using the panels for “double duty” came up, and the team at AMP Companies also realized that its 144-panel solar system would provide another bonus: increased noise abatement from outdoor sources like rainstorms, furthering their goal of having one of the quietest studios in the North Texas region.
“We’re always searching for outside-the-box ways to improve our facilities, and we wondered if the solar panels would provide additional sound buffering,” said owner Sandy Abernethy.
Ian Loomer, VP of AMP, added: “Sunfinity was incredibly helpful in actually bringing in test panels so we could test the audio ‘proof of concept’ that we wanted. There is clearly less noticeable sound during heavy rains when the panels are in place. We consider it a win all the way around.”
John Billingsley, Sunfinity’s chairman and CEO, confirmed that engineers were able to design the rooftop system with panels strategically placed over the specific studio areas (the total building comprises 20,000 square feet).
“We project AMP will offset about 50% of their total electricity consumption,” he said. “The levelized cost of energy over time should be one cent per-kilowatt-hour, and the simple payback on the cost of the system is just five years, for a system that can easily last three decades or more.”
Abernethy has had an interest in solar energy for more than four decades and has extended green practices such as purchasing renewable energy, green spaces and composting to his business.
“Despite the uncertainties of the Covid-19 crisis, we wanted to be sure to take advantage of currently available incentives,” he said. “We were able to combine the federal tax credit with a local utility incentive and bundle that with depreciation to save more than two-thirds of the original cost of the solar system. When we showed the numbers to our CPA, he said it was a no-brainer.”
The new solar array was installed during May and early June of 2020 and will be in service as the studios resume normal operations over the summer. Other recent Sunfinity commercial installations include Lakeside Chevrolet in Rockwall, Texas, and solar-topped car canopies for a new U-Haul facility in Queen Creek, Arizona; a solar system for the newly remodeled headquarters of Scott+Reid general contractors in Addison and solar for the newly constructed headquarters for American Airlines Credit Union.