This article appeared in the March 2021 issue of MiMfg Magazine. Read the full issue and find past issues online.
Harvest Solar, an energy solutions company based in Jackson, saw the winds of change starting in 2006 when they began importing wind turbines and installing them throughout the Midwest. It was just a few years later that the company shifted to solar having witnessed the benefits and efficiency of new energy technologies.
Since that time, Harvest Solar has become a well-respected name in the solar industry, installing solar energy projects for commercial applications throughout Michigan and beyond. Ken Zebarah, Jr., Director of Sales, says they take a highly customized approach in order to craft the right solutions for customers.
“We analyze our customers’ operation and energy consumption in order to make a recommendation on a solar project, including walking them through tax incentives, grant money, utility savings, environmental benefits, depreciation and more,” says Zebarah. “And if the project makes sense for their business, then our own in-house engineering, electricians and construction crews will complete the project.”
Best Part of My Job
“Seeing a wide range of different manufacturing and farming operations.”
For nearly all manufacturing operations, energy use represents one of their biggest costs, thus business owners are constantly seeking ways to become more efficient. Solar can potentially be a cost-savings opportunity as well as reducing a business’s carbon footprint. In addition, companies can take advantage of a variety of tax incentives including a federal tax credit that could be up to 26 percent and a USDA Rural Energy America Program (REAP) grant that can cover up to 25 percent of the project cost.
“Manufacturing operations happen to be an ideal candidate for solar energy because of high energy consumption, large roof space and an end-user that often cares about the environmental aspects of the product,” says Zebarah.
Having a strategic partner and doing an up-front analysis of a company’s energy output are important aspects to consider before moving forward with any solar project, says Zebarah. Going to solar should be one element in an overall energy consumption plan that aims to increase efficiency and reduce cost.
One Thing You Can’t Live Without?
“Something — anything! — to build or fix.”
Zebarah agrees that the runway for green technologies is wide open as new federal policies are heavily incentivizing solar and other alternative energy sources. In early February, the U.S. Department of Energy announced $100 million in funding for transformative clean energy research and development.
“The biggest thing that we want to relay to manufacturers is that solar energy is no longer just for environmentalists,” says Zebarah. “It is for environmentalists, capitalists and everyone in between. It is a myth that a business would need to pay more for renewable energy. Businesses now actually pay significantly less for renewable energy than traditional grid power.”
Harvest Solar is an MMA Premium Associate Member and has been an MMA member company since February 2020. Visit online: harvestsolar.com.