Case study: Climb Nashville cuts electric bills with solar & LEDs
Climb Nashville is Nashville’s premier indoor rock climbing facility with locations in East and West Nashville. Climb Nashville offers day passes, memberships, yoga and fitness classes, group events, outdoor trips, youth climbing, retail and more. In 2003 Lance Brock, his wife Carrie, and their partner, Drew Sloss, opened the first Climb Nashville facility in Sylvan Heights. In 2014 they moved to a 17,000 square foot building on Charlotte Avenue, opened a gym in East Nashville, and now the company is planning to open facilities in Murfreesboro and Bentonville, Arkansas, next year.
As part of their expansion, Climb Nashville enlisted the help of local energy efficiency company, Power of Clean Energy (PCE) to gain better control of their electric costs. In fact, PCE explained how Climb could easily combine energy efficiency upgrades, solar electric generation and a local Pathway Lending loan to see a great return on investment without an upfront expense.
“We showed Climb how switching all of their light bulbs to LEDs at the West facility would reduce consumption by 20%,” explains Kevin Johnson, Energy Advisor with PCE. “Those savings help Climb pay for the solar system, and the combined technologies will cut their electric bills in half,” Johnson says.
LightWave Solar installed a 50kW solar system – 151 solar panels – on top of Climb Nashville West. The solar panels are expected to generate more than $6,500 annually as part of TVA’s Green Power Providers program (GPP). Under the 2017 GPP program, Climb will sell all of their solar electricity to the utility at the escalating GSA-1 rate (currently about 11 cents/kWh) for 20 years.
“I realized that solar was more affordable than I thought it would be,” says Lance Brock, co-owner of Climb Nashville. “I compared the savings of both upgrades with the cost, and decided it was a smart move, especially with the financing available through Pathway Lending,” he says.
Pathway Lending is a Tennessee lender that offers a 5 year, 2% interest loan for businesses doing energy efficiency and solar energy projects. Climb Nashville’s energy investment will pay for itself in 5 years, and Climb will reap the savings for decades to come – about $12,000 each year! These savings will “climb” as electric rates rise.
In addition to electric bill savings, Climb’s energy upgrades will reduce significant amounts of air pollution and carbon emissions. Over 25 years the avoided carbon emissions will be the equivalent to planting 2,100 acres of trees!
“The community at Climb Nashville is conscious of health, well-being and the connection to their environment,” says Brock. “I think these investments help us be the kind of business we want to be in a city that we care very much about,” he says.
PCE completed the LED lighting upgrade in October, and LightWave Solar and Nashville Electric Service (NES) commissioned the solar system on November 17. Next time you go to Climb Nashville West for a workout or to attend a kid’s birthday party, check out the TV in the lobby that displays their live solar system performance, or view it here!
If you want to learn more about PCE, whose clients also include Griffin Technology, Christ Presbyterian Academy (CPA), and Westin Hotel in Memphis, please email Kevin Johnson.