Solar Power, Chain Restaurants and power by numbers

Solar Panels have several advantages but sometimes the incentives in place to help you get a start are not enough, but that didn’t stop Chipotle, a mexican fast-food chain-restaurant in America.

In April 2010, Chipotle announced that they would install solar panels on 75 restaurant rooftops across the country. John Berger overseeing the project, CEO of Standard Renewable Energy a Houston based company, said, œBy applying solar [panels], each individual restaurant will be decreasing its reliance on the local grid and fossil fuels and supplementing it with clean, renewable energy.

Of course they will reduce their dependence on the grid however, this decision has to be made carefully because of the difference in electricity consumption, available solar rebates and access to direct sunlight at each store. Out of approximately 800 restaurants that Chipotle has in the United States only 75 are getting solar panels which speaks volumes about how the criteria mentioned above forces some stores to have more merit than others.

While the cost of the scheme was not released, the company estimates the project will pay for itself after two years, a pretty bold claim to make given the current financial situation and the price of retail electricity in the United States. Such bold statements only suggest that power by numbers can work and that they are they way forward!

Written by Prateek Chourdia

MEngSc – Photovoltaics and Solar Energy, UNSW

Solar Energy Analyst

Solar Choice