Optimus Solar Opens New Net Zero Mount Dora Headquarters

 
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We are thrilled to announce that Optimus Solar has moved into our new headquarters in Mount Dora. The building, located at 1107 Robie Avenue just outside of the historic downtown area, was previously used as a warehouse. We have been working hard to convert the space into a Net Zero building and will have all of the renovations, including solar and three ChargePoint EV charging stations, installed and completed by mid-June. We are thrilled to be able to operate out of a Net Zero space in Mount Dora. We love doing business in Lake County and enjoy many of the amenities that Mount Dora has to offer. As we transition into our new Net Zero office building, it provides a good opportunity to share the powerful financial benefits to a commercial solar owner, and the multiplier benefits to the Florida community at large.

For system owners, solar provides a rate of return superior to many other investment products and allows them to ‘bet on themselves’ rather than 3rd-party investments.  For tenants, it allows a reduced overall cost of rent, and the PR benefits of doing business in a green building. The solar energy system we are installing on our building is large enough to offset the electrical use of Optimus Solar as well as our co-tenant in the building.  The 16.8kW system will give an owner rate of return of about 14% per year for the 30-year life of the system and will have an ROI of five years. The City of Mount Dora is a very friendly environment for solar energy customers, with an easy-to-work-with electric department. 

 Solar Energy is not only environmentally friendly, when planned and implemented properly, it retains funds in the Florida economy, providing a multiplier effect for households and businesses.   For an example, our system uses $10,000 in Florida-manufactured solar equipment and $12,400 of local labor, including electrical, installation, and engineering. 

 We look forward to welcoming guests, partners, employees and clients at the new location, and working with our growing commercial client-base to ensure owners are maximizing their long-term investment opportunities, while realizing powerful tax credits today.

UPDATE: Net Zero Housing Project Breaks Ground in Mount Dora

Architectural rendering of completed net zero units.

Architectural rendering of completed net zero units.

The project broke ground on April 29th and is on schedule to be completed later this year.

The project broke ground on April 29th and is on schedule to be completed later this year.

The Optimus Solar team is excited to announce that we have broken ground on our Net Zero housing project! Located on Parrotte Court and within walking distance of the restaurants and parks of historic downtown Mount Dora, these two units are the first 100% solar-powered rental units in Mount Dora. Fully equipped with electric vehicle charging, home automation and available to rent as “all-in” homes, these units remove the normal hassles of monthly bill paying, deposits, grass cutting, etc. 

As Mount Dora continues to experience economic growth and municipal expansion, and as more young professionals move to the area, we hope that this project will be a prototype that successfully matches the housing market to the modern job market, which is more fluid, mobile, and environmentally conscious than ever before. 

Hegstrom Homes began construction on these custom units last week. They will be powered by SolarTech Universal solar panels, manufactured in Florida.  When paired with a fully electric vehicle, these homes will provide 100% of their electricity and 100% of their resident’s fuel from the sun, saving the average person more than $2,400 per year!*  

Construction is expected to take 6 months.

*Savings based on $100 per month in gas savings and $100 per month in electricity savings.

Solar Farms: The Conservation Question

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At Optimus Solar, we field a lot of questions about the solar industry. One question we hear often is “what is your take on the expansion of solar farms in Florida?” While that’s quite open-ended, it is intellectually interesting and practically applicable to consider the implications of land use, power production, power consumption, and conservation. So, what do we think about solar farms?  

We first like to emphasize that Optimus Solar is committed to the sustainability of our communities, Florida, the US and the world through conservation of lands critical to our well-being, clean air and natural beauty.  In fact, we donate a portion of every solar job to Conservation Florida, a quality organization dedicated to the conservation of Florida lands.

When talking about solar farms, land conservation and land use are naturally at the center of the discussion. Land in Florida is still relatively inexpensive. Utilities are able to purchase large swaths to build massive solar farms. Just last year, Florida Power and Light (FPL) purchased nearly 1300 acres outside of Palm Beach for a new solar farm. FPL currently has 14 solar plants, generating 930 megawatts of electricity. Their aim is to produce 4,000 megawatts over the next decade. That’s going to require a lot of land. 

This is great in terms of adding clean renewable power to the grid while also reducing the need for land reserved for fuel pipelines and nuclear waste storage. However, when one looks at what can be achieved with our current footprint and infrastructure, and the negative impacts large solar farms have on land conservation, the answer to the question becomes more complicated.  If preservation of forested land is one of our goals, then solar farms may not be the best answer. 

Forbes recently released an article showing the power of rooftop solar potential in the US, as well as Florida, specifically. There is enough currently-built, solar-eligible rooftop space to provide 75% of all residential power consumption. This is a powerful statistic. Using what we already have, on the same footprint we already occupy, we can functionally produce ¾ of the power we consume.  

Of course, this requires capital, investment, entrepreneurial spirit and effort, but so does importing things such as natural gas, nuclear raw materials, petroleum, etc.  As vehicles rapidly transition to electric, it will also become necessary to produce more power to fuel these vehicles, with solar being the natural option given its production as close to the source of consumption as possible. Rooftop solar makes the most sense when looking at the big picture. If our goal is to preserve the ecological benefits of renewable energy sources, rooftop solar beats out solar farms, plain and simple.