DeMartini RV is now home to the largest solar
power system in Grass Valley. The 129 kilowatt system consists of two
solar arrays and more than 500 photovoltaic panels. According to the
owner, it was designed to power 50 average homes.
"Now we don't have to worry about any more power
bills," said Tim DeMartini. "We don't know what the numbers are, the
exact dollar amount, but we're already spinning the meter backward."
DeMartini was reluctant to disclose the system's
total cost, but he estimates that it will save $3,500 or more per
month in utility bills. They'll also be able to sell excess
electricity generated back to Pacific Gas & Electric.
The system took just two weeks to install - and
they did it with a crew of only half a dozen workers. Tim shopped
around for local contractors, but wasn't certain they could finish the
installation by Jan. 1. Then, around Dec. 15, 2013, he decided to use
his own crew. "We've been putting them on motorhomes for years," he
said. "It's the same thing, only larger."
Despite the massive scale of the project, the
move to install it was somewhat sudden.
"We heard around December that they were changing
the tax laws," DeMartini said, "so we decided to put it in before 2013
ended to take advantage of the tax laws.
"The biggest issue was getting the materials
during the holidays," he added. "A lot of places closed down. That was
a horrendous challenge. We did some miracles to get it done."
To obtain all the solar panels needed for the project, DeMartini
says they emptied three warehouses. The inverters had to be
special-ordered from Chicago.
"It was kind of shocking. When we submitted the
permit application, they hadn't seen a project this large in Nevada
County," DeMartini said. The city inspector said he was impressed with
City officials say there are numerous solar
power systems installed at local homes and businesses, but DeMartini's
is the largest one in town. It might also be one of the largest in
western Nevada County.
DeMartini is also considering another project
for later this year -- building a 4,200-square foot covered work area
with solar panels covering the roof. When complete, he expects it
would increase DeMartini RV's capacity by nearly 50 percent. (The
Union Staff Writer Dave Brooksher can be contacted at
or by phone at 530-477-4230)
Epilogue... Tim DeMartini is a mixture of
genius and hard working enterprise, who knows how to figure things
out and get 'er done. We've seen it many times...