Crews from Abundant Energy Inc. began hanging solar panels on the largest privately owned solar panel array in Martin County and quite possibly the largest to date in all of South Florida. The solar energy array will be used to power most of the privately owned office spaces in the Sawgrass Business Park on Indian Street in Stuart, FL in order to attract quality tenants who will benefit from working in a green office complex and potentially have zero a energy bill.
The largest solar energy array in Martin County began construction a little over 4 weeks ago after the town was able to quickly issue permits to the solar energy contractor, Abundant Energy Inc. (www.abundantenergy.com) Though South Florida solar energy companies have been making little headway in the commercial energymarket with the exception of a few small projects, the first panels at the Sawgrass Business Park were installed this week. The Sawgrass Business Park is unlike anything Florida has seen before and is quite possibly the largest privately owned solar energy array in South Florida. “In Florida there is nothing like it, FPL just opened their Desoto Plant and Kennedy is coming online shortly, but as far as private investments this is definitely the biggest,” says Justin Hoysradt, VP of Sales at Abundant Energy, “This is just the tip of the iceberg, we are hiring and have hired and trained six new full time installers for this project alone, not to mention we have a few more projects that are slightly smaller plus a healthy pipeline of residential projects, we have chosen not to participate in the recession.” The Sawgrass array will consist of over 550 solar photovoltaic electricity generating panels, offering enough clean energy to power 20 homes, and is specially designed for high wind speeds in South Florida.
Multiple investors which own the majority of the units in the Sawgrass Business Park made this project possible when they made the decision to install the array in late April of 2009. The project experienced slight delays with association approvals, securing some bank financing as well as additional guidance regarding the process for making application for a Federal Stimulus Grant. Fortunately Abundant Energy was able to leap each of these hurdles efficiently and professionally. The biggest issue was financing, “Even though this is a large project, the recovery was too quick for most banks to have an appetite for it, most banks are looking for projects over $20 Million in this industry, fortunately we were able to finance a portion of it ourselves to get the project moving.” says Hoysradt “it would have been a great opportunity for a bank to get its name out there in a positive way.” This project will fit the criteria for the investors to recuperate 30% of their initial investment within 90 days of completion with a grant issued by the Federal Government created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. In addition to Federal stimulus money, the project also qualifies for funds from the Florida Solar Energy Rebate program.
Aside from solar energy incentives and stimulus money the investors are also looking to attract tenants for their units of which many are currently vacant. The offer of discounted utility bills and being able to work in an all “green” office park should attract quality tenants looking to build a strong, sustainable business in the Stuart area. Commercial Real Estate Broker, Derrick Christenson who is the listing agent for the properties says, “We have been getting a lot interest, business leases are ending and owners are aggressively seeking better pricing as well as better benefits for their business. You don’t get a much better benefit than great prices and solar power, the office is perfect for Green businesses.”