(Dec. 21, 2012) Bahia Marina, on the bay at 22nd Street, is a business that caters to commercial and recreational fishermen, which is why owner Shawn Harman is environmentally conscious.
Bahia Marina is listed on the Department of Natural Resources’ Web site (www.dnr.state.md.us) as a “Certified Maryland Clean Marina.” These marinas meet the rigorous pollution prevention standards established by the Maryland Clean Marina Committee and the Department of Natural Resources. The operators have voluntarily adopted measures to control pollution associated with marina operations and stand as notable examples of the conservation ethic – individual responsibility for healthy land and water, according to the Web site.
Some of the examples of Bahia Marina’s Clean Marina practices listed on the site include oil recycling, using a marine sewage pump-out station, water conservation, having fish cleaning area where waste is bagged for proper disposal, and an in-ground sand and gravel filtration system to clean boat washing and storm water.
Fish Tales, the restaurant Harman owns adjacent to Bahia Marina, uses biodegradable cups made of corn starch, he said. Fryer oil is also recycled.
Harman said it was a “natural progression for us” to install solar panels.
“We’re in the fishing business so it makes sense not to pollute,” he said. “We’ve always been green.”
Michael Panco and Brandon Caprarola, owners of Ocean City-based Ultra Solar and Wind Solutions LLC, recently announced the first commercial installation of a 23.97 kW Solar Photovoltaic System at Bahia Marina.
“Other places in town have solar hot water, but this is the first time any business has done a solar electric install,” said Panco, chief operations officer and co-founder of Ultra Solar and Wind Solutions.
The system includes 94 Motech Americas 255-Watt Solar Panels with 94 Enphase Energy M215 Micro Inverters.
Installation began Dec. 1 and was completed in five days. The setup is rated to withstand wind speeds up to 128 miles per hour.
“Everything about it worked. We have a flat concrete roof that never has any shade so it can get optimal exposure,” Harman said. “We’re happy with how quickly the system went in. I’m impressed with the way it looks.”
The system will produce 26,881 kilowatts of electricity annually, which will be used to reduce the marina’s current electric consumption by approximately 13 percent, according to Ultra Solar and Wind Solutions. Energy bills will be lower and income will be generated from selling electricity.
“In the winter (when the business is closed), when the sun is out we’re making electric, which I can then sell, and in the summer it slows the meter down,” Harman said.
Every 1,000 kilowatt-hours generated will equal one Solar Renewable Energy Credit. The SREC’s can currently be sold on the open market for approximately $200, which will add up to more than $5,000 per year of income.
“They say money doesn’t grow on trees, but it grows on solar panels,” Panco joked.
Harman will receive a number of incentives for the system, including a $1,438 Commercial Clean Energy Grant providedby the state. Bahia Marina will also benefit from a 30 percent federal tax credit for the total installation price.
Harman said he paid about $100,000 out of pocket, but within the first year he will get approximately $50,000 back.
Harman said he calculated that the project will pay for itself in 3.6 years.
Bahia Marina’s carbon footprint will also be reduced. Over the life of the system, 551 tons of carbon dioxide will be removed from the marina’s output, equivalent to driving 1,102,000 miles in a car. 551 tons of carbon dioxide is also equivalent to 56,202 gallons of gasoline, planting 12,838 trees, recycling 1,741 tons of waste instead of taking it to landfills and displacing CO2 emissions from the annual electric use of 62 homes.
“The programs offered make it affordable to do it,” Harman said. “I did it because it’s environmentally friendly, we’re not polluting the environment, and economically, it just makes sense.”
Harman said he has received positive feedback from the community and inquiries from other business owners.
“The general public is happy that we’re more green, but like I said, we’ve always been green,” he said. “We’re the first commercial operation in Ocean City to do it and I think others will follow.”
Panco said the local economy benefited from the project as a number of regional companies were used, including Motech Americas of Newark, Del., which manufactured the Solar PV Panels. Solardock, also of Newark, manufactured the Flat Roof Ballasted Solar Racking.
“The goal was to [use] American
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Ultra Solar and Wind LLC, which was founded in 2010, specializes in the sale and installation of solar and wind products for residential, commercial, industrial and agricultural clients. Services include Solar PV (electric), Solar Thermal/Water and Silent/Bird Friendly Wind Systems.
For more information, visit www.ultrasolarandwind.com.