Happy 9th Birthday to the Solar Panels at Street Dixon Rick Architecture

Published April 8, 2016

As LightWave Solar approaches the 10 year mark, we are looking back at our first commercial customer, Street Dixon Rick Architecture in Nashville, Tennessee.

SDR solar

Standing in front of Street Dixon Rick Architecture, one can’t even see the solar panels that have silently and boldly produced electricity for the firm for the past nine years.

And that’s the beauty of them. They work quietly with virtually no maintenance at all. After nine summers, nine winters and every type of weather in between, they just keep working away. The Tennessee-based architecture firm has powered their office for the past nine years with a significant boost of energy generated from the sun and channeled through the array of 72 solar panels first “fired up” in 2007.

Over the last nine years, the system has produced 129,000 kilowatt-hours of clean electricity, and the savings amount to approximately $29,000. Street Dixon Rick Architecture receives a premium on top of the current base rate under their TVA’s Green Power Providers contract.

“On sunny weekends, it’s clear that the panels we installed are providing energy back to NES,” said Steve Rick, AIA, LEED AP, Firm Principal with Street Dixon Rick Architecture, PLC. He points to the meters at the back of the building, where one meter reports energy generated rather than energy consumed.

Street Dixon Rick Architecture was the first in the state to participate as a commercial partner in the Tennessee Clean Energy Technology grant program and the first to provide energy back to NES through TVA’s Generation Partners program.

“As one of our first customers, Street Dixon Rick is a solar pioneer,” said Steve Johnson, President of LightWave Solar. “They chose to install panels before most others in the state. We owe a big part of our success to folks like them.”

LightWave Solar President Steve Johnson stands with solar panels at Street Dixon Rick
LightWave Solar President Steve Johnson stands with solar panels at Street Dixon Rick

Was it worth the investment? Rick says, yes. “We have had a number of visitors curious about the way the system works – from fourth graders to engineering students. It’s been a great investment, and as a testament, I added 30 solar panels to my home last year.”

There’s no doubt that the commitment has inspired employees as well. Architect Carly Wansing, who joined the firm ten years ago, and her husband, Ed, installed solar panels at their home and were featured on the cover of the national magazine, Solar Today. Street Dixon Rick Architecture has been awarded two Green Star Awards from the Middle Tennessee Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council. Carly and Ed Wansing also received a Green Star Award for their individual commitment.

But they didn’t install the panels for the accolades. They installed them to inspire others and provide a first-hand accounting to clients potentially considering them for their own buildings, whether commercial or residential.

Street Dixon Rick has designed seven LEED certified buildings to date, including five at Vanderbilt University and one for Metro Nashville Public Schools (Norman Binkley Elementary). The firm is currently working to achieve LEED Gold status for a project at Sewanee: University of the South, as well as for Steve Rick’s solar-powered residence.

Happy Birthday Street Dixon Rick Architecture Solar Panels, and keep on providing green energy to the grid on the sunny days to come!