DeMartini RV goes solar, big time

By Dave Brooksher

(Jan. 22, 2014)

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 the workmanship."

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...