One of the top 100 largest car dealerships in the United States installed a 1,734-module solar roof system, offsetting 50% of the site’s high energy use and reducing CO2 emissions by 128 tons — roughly equivalent to the annual COemitted by 25 cars.

Arlington Toyota installed a SolarEdge DC-optimized solar array on the rooftop of its 2.9 acre building in Palatine, Ill. In the first five months of operation, the system generated 256,930 kilowatt-hours of clean, renewable energy.

The solar installation was built and financed by Solar One of Sherman, Texas, which will recoup its investment once Arlington Toyota becomes entitled to several incentives, including Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SRECs), rebates from the state of Illinois, and Federal Investment Tax Credit. The DC-optimized solution was chosen due to its ability to maximize energy production — key to making the project an attractive investment prospect.

“SRECs become payable upon certain production targets being achieved, which means it is in the interests of both Solar One and Arlington Toyota that the technology we install will produce the most energy possible,” says Aaron Wilson, CEO, Solar One. “We started talking to SolarEdge about four years ago, and once we realized what the technology could do, we were all in from that point. SolarEdge is now an important part of our identity, and it has enabled us to offer something unique in the market.”

Energy Efficiency

The scope of the installation at the Arlington Toyota site includes five SolarEdge 100 kilowatt inverters and SolarEdge Power Optimizers, which are attached to each pair of modules to enable independent operation. This increases energy production by mitigating the effects of soiling and shading that can limit production in traditional inverter systems. It also increases space utilization by allowing modules to be installed almost anywhere on the roof, including around obstructions, bringing further production gains.

The SolarEdge solution was chosen for its ability to maximize energy production, increase space utilization, and minimize maintenance costs.

The SolarEdge solution was chosen for its ability to maximize energy production, increase space utilization, and minimize maintenance costs.

SolarEdge Power Optimizers can also be remotely monitored for production information and fault detection. In the unlikely event of a technical problem, Solar One will be sent an automatic notification pinpointing the exact location of the suspected fault, enabling repairs to be conducted swiftly and easily. This will result in significantly reduced maintenance costs over the lifetime of the project, contributing to an attractive expected ROI of seven years.

“Following the success of the Arlington Toyota project, we have since funded projects for several other similar sized businesses in the U.S.,” says Wilson. “Our solution means that customers can install solar with no upfront cost and enjoy 100% of the benefits and the energy it generates.”

Innovative Funding

The project was made possible by funding solution provided by installer Solar One.

“For some time, we have been trying to bring the benefits of solar energy to large private companies and smaller public ones. The up-front investment required has been a hurdle we were finally able to overcome with this project,” said Wilson.

Gary Vicari, president of Arlington Toyota, said with the SolarEdge solution and the funding arrangement provided by Solar One, the dealership has been able to harness the benefits of solar energy with almost zero cost.

“At Arlington Toyota, we pride ourselves on doing the right thing for our customers, the environment, and for the quality of life for local people. As part of that, we have undertaken a number of renewable energy projects — the largest of which is the solar installation," he said. "The solar installation is a tremendous asset to our business, our image, and to our electricity bill, which is now 50% reduced from what it used to be before we installed the system.”