EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

June 25, 2012

'Largest solar powered ballet shoe factory' now in Lawrence

LAWRENCE — With 1,092 solar panels on the roof generating 273,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity, Richard Bass of the Cardinal Shoe Corp. likes to brag that he now has "the largest solar powered ballet shoe factory on the planet."

Of course, he admits, it may be the only solar-powered ballet shoe factory in the world.

Over the last several weeks, an electrical contractor working for Dynamic Solar of Wayne, Pa., has been placing the panels on the roof of the two-story mill building overlooking Pemberton Park on North Canal Street.

Bass said that when the project is done, sometime in the next few weeks, it will provide all the power needs for his ballet shoe manufacturing plant as well as the 30 tenants that make up the rest of the 160,000-square-foot building that he bought with his father, Harry Bass, in 1979.

"It will pay for itself in four years," said Richard Bass, standing on the roof of the building Thursday as the sun beat down on the shiny, new panels. He said a combination of factors made the project financially feasible: Dynamic Solar is leasing the space on his roof in exchange for discounted electric rates. Dynamic Solar, meanwhile, has made use of federal tax credits as well as Massachusetts' renewable energy credits program.

The result will be that the electricity bills for Bass' building will be cut in half.

Without getting into specifics, he said it would save "tens of thousands of dollars." As he saves money, he won't have to charge his tenants high electricity bills, either.

David Deutsch, vice president of business development and project finance for Dynamic Solar, explained that the Solar Renewable Energy Credits, or SREC program, run by the state of Massachusetts is highly advantageous to solar installers and array operators.

The way it works, he said, is that for every 1,000 kilowatt hours of energy created by the solar array, his company will earn an SREC. Each SREC can be bought and sold on the open market, and currently they are worth about $500 each.

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