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The new Camping World store in Junction, City, Ore., built in conjunction with FreedomRoads retailer Guaranty RV Centers, is using solar energy to help power the 22,000-square-foot facility.
The Register-Guard, Eugene, reported that attached to the roof are photovoltaic panels, capable of generating 60,000 kilowatt hours of electricity a year.
The Camping World RV accessories store ranks as the largest solar generator in Lane County and the second largest in Oregon. The state’s largest, capable of generating 100,000 kilowatt hours a year, is at Kettle Chips, a snack-food maker in Salem.
Camping World will be able to supply more than 30% of the energy that it uses at the store, according to Emerald People’s Utility District.
The solar system is a boon for Camping World, as well as for the power supply system, company and utility officials said.
“Producing electricity on site will relieve congestion on the power supply system and will provide power with zero emissions for years to come,” said Patti Chappel, president of the EPUD board of directors.
The Nill family, founders of the Guaranty RV dealership, built the store and leases it to Camping World.
“It seemed like a good opportunity at the time of construction to include a solar project,” said Eric Nill, Guaranty’s chief information officer. “Aside from being the right thing to do from a responsibility standpoint, it also made good business sense.”
The solar technology required a significant upfront cost – more than $400,000 – Nill said. But he regards it as a long-term investment. The solar panels have an expected life of more than 50 years.
Tax credits from the state and federal government also help make solar generators more affordable. Nill said he’s hoping the system will pay for itself in about five years.