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Frederick dealership installs solar panels to cover inventory

"I think every fuse gets lit with an ignitor and I hope we're an ignitor," said owner Brion Stapp.

FREDERICK, Colorado — A car dealership in Frederick is going green in a big way.

At Stapp Interstate Toyota in Frederick, they've combined solar panels with hail cover canopies, the first dealership in the world to do so. The total cost of the project was about 2 million dollars. 

"We figured if we're going to do it, we're going to go all in," said owner Brion Stapp. "It is a big investment."

Nearly all of the dealership inventory is covered with solar panels and hail covers. Protecting cars, generating power, and offering an outdoor showroom.

"We have 720 bi-facial solar panels producing over 375 thousand kilowatts an hour on annual basis," said Stapp. "We can cover 345 cars for a total of 100 percent hail protection at our dealership."

Not only is the dealership saving about 8 thousand dollars a month on power, they are also saving money on insurance claims after devastating hail storms a few years ago. 

"Between 2018 and 2019, we had four massive hailstorms that impacted our dealership," said Stapp. 

An innovative project that they hope will be the driving force behind more environmental change in Colorado. 

"I think every fuse gets lit with an ignitor and I hope we're an ignitor for that, whether it be in the auto industry and quite frankly businesses who are willing to use their property to generate solar energy," said Stapp. 

The solar panels are hard to miss when driving by the dealership which the owner says helps bring attention and customers into the lot. 

"Being located right on I-25, we have a very nice presence that immediately impacts our customer base as they drive by and it catches their eye."

Stapp says they were able to use government rebates to help offset the cost of the project. 

"It's an incredibly expensive project to do. And I think a lot of businesses are focused on what's coming next day, next month and maybe not looking for decades to come," said Stapp.

So far, the dealership estimates it has saved more than 45 thousand dollars in power bills. 

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