ROI: Using solar energy to power our headquarters building was one of many ways we incorporated major green initiatives into our adaptive reuse of the former Martha Jefferson Hospital location in Charlottesville, Virginia. With 300 solar panels installed on the roof by Sigora Solar, more than 400 employees of the CFA Institute work in a building that operates on 22 percent less energy than an office of a similar size. Our 65kW system saves us $10,000 annually.
Story: Sustainability. That was the number one driving force behind our decision at the CFA Institute to go solar. I know that surprises a lot of people. They figure that because we’re a bunch of financial types and that our mission is to develop investment professionals, all our decisions are based on money and ROI. While that’s often true, we’re also a group that feels a strong sense of responsibility to the communities we serve. From the CEO and board level on down, sustainability is a corporate value.
That said, we did achieve a respectable ROI thanks to a special five-year program offered by Dominion Resources, as well as the Federal Investment Tax Credit inducement. Dominion’s program gave us a 50 percent margin on the energy we generated, helping us bring our ROI down to under four years.
Sigora Solar was a responsive partner in our effort right from the beginning. Knowing I was a financial type, they ran numbers at our first meeting to illustrate how the ROI would play out. Then they came over and laid out the grid for the solar panel, showing us exactly what we needed to meet our demand. And knowing that the Dominion program was about to end, they proactively filed the necessary paperwork to reserve our spot as a beneficiary of the plan.
The experience level of the people at Sigora Solar was a real benefit, too. The references we checked showed that they had worked with the Commonwealth of Virginia on a very large solar panel application, so we knew they could overcome any issues we might confront. We weren’t interested in being someone’s alpha or beta site.
The equipment, the program, the two-week installation timeline . . . everything Sigora Solar promised, they delivered. I wouldn’t redo or change anything. How often can you say that? Sigora exceeded our expectations. The knowledge and professionalism of their people was just outstanding.