Austin, Texas-based Freedom Solar has signed a contract with Sames Automotive Group – the oldest automobile dealer in Texas – for a new solar carport project at its dealership in Laredo.

The installation, encompassing a 28,000-square-foot carport with spaces for 110 cars, will include 1,260 SunPower P19 Series modules at 395 W each. The project will produce 765,000 kWh annually – enough to power 60 single-family homes.

“The Sames family is one of the most highly respected families in Laredo, and now they are proving to be the city’s most forward-thinking automotive dealers,” says Freedom Solar’s CEO, Bret Biggart. “We’re thrilled that they chose us to make their Laredo dealership more sustainable and energy-efficient.”

Slated for completion Nov. 1, the project is expected to save Sames Automotive $1.5 million over 25 years, as well as provide shade for customers.

“We are always conscious of trying to do things as efficiently and sustainably as possible, and energy is one of our biggest costs,” comments Harry Sames III, CEO of Sames Automotive Group, which was founded in 1910. “Ultimately, we see this investment as not only a smart, responsible business move but also a way to enhance our customers’ shopping experience by keeping them out of the oppressive Laredo heat.”

Sames Automotive is taking advantage of the federal investment tax credit to go solar. In addition, because Laredo and the Rio Grande Valley are deregulated electricity markets, solar clients can also benefit from a rebate from AEP Texas. The tiered commercial rebate is $0.70 per watt for 0-25 kW systems or $0.25 per watt for 25-200 kW systems. The residential rebate is $0.60 per watt.

“Going forward, we expect solar to grow exponentially in the valley, and we are going to be there to provide the best solar solutions, products and service,” adds Biggart. “This year, for the first time, almost two-thirds of our revenue came from Texas markets beyond our Austin center of operations. We expect that trend to continue, and the valley will be a major factor in future solar growth.”

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