Damaste Real Estate, a company with multiple downtown Macon properties, is looking to the sun to power one of its buildings. The new venture has already started to pay off.
"They wanted to be innovators and to bring this technology into Macon," said Radiance Solar CEO James Marlow.
The rooftop of a parking garage at Cherry Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. is turning wasted space into into something useful. A 25kW system comprised of 108 solar panels has been installed to provide the garage's electricity and it's already starting to pay off. Last month's electric bill decreased from $450 to just $50.
"They're seeing a significant savings for the energy that is produced by the system, and offsetting their electric bill from the normal cost," said Marlow.
Even on a cloudy day like Thursday was, energy from the sun was still being absorbed. It's captured with the panels, passed through a conduit and into a converter, then transferred to electricity provider Georgia Power.
"We began looking at this as an opportunity to make use of unused space in some of our buildings," said Aubrey Newby with Damaste Real Estate.
Damaste Real Estate is stakeholders in numerous downtown Macon properties. With the new panels, power consumption at this particular property has decreased almost 100 percent thanks to Mother Nature.
"It's just proven to be a very advantageous venture for us," said Newby.
In one year, the panels are expected to offset 23 tons of carbon dioxide from the environment. Over the first five years, Damaste Real Estate will offset more than $27,000 through Georgia Power's "Power Buyback Program." The new panels are expected to payoff for the business which is why organizations like Main Street Macon hope the trend will catch on.
"I've spoken with several properties just within the past hour who have expressed interest and want to know about the cost and how long it took to pay yourself back," said Main Street Macon Manager Mechel McKinley.
"Anybody that has an electric bill that has an available roof or ground-mounted area can take advantage of solar," said Marlow.
Under Georgia Powers "Power Buyback Program," the company purchases power generated from the solar grids at a higher rate than what the customer pays Georgia Power for the power they use off the company grid.