Environmentally Sensitive, Historically Significant
Executives at British Motor Car Distributors wanted to green their business and cut electricity costs, but were concerned a solar installation could impact its historic location. The building that houses the company’s showroom on Van Ness Avenue was designed by renowned architect Bernard Maybeck, who also conceived the city’s Palace of Fine Arts. British Motors carefully sought an experienced solar design and installation partner for the architecturally-sensitive project. SolarCity, which had recently completed San Jose’s largest commercial solar installation on eBay’s headquarters, and had been tapped to custom-design and install a solar system on Grace Cathedral, another San Francisco landmark, soon rose to the top in British Motors’ search for a partner. “As the occupants of an historic San Francisco building, we have a responsibility to maintain its aesthetic,” said Jeff Qvale, president of British Motors. “SolarCity’s experience stood out—they earned our trust very early in the project.”
Green Can be Beautiful
The dramatic SolarCity design became the largest commercial solar installation in San Francisco, and earned special commendation from Mayor Gavin Newsom.
The project spans two rooftop carports comprised of 1,606 solar panels and should generate enough electricity to power 80 San Francisco homes. Over its lifetime, British Motors’ solar installation is expected to offset an estimated 14 million pounds of carbon dioxide, the equivalent of planting nearly seven thousand trees.
“We wanted to do something positive for future generations, and what better way to do it than to adopt clean power,” said Qvale. “SolarCity designed functional solar arrays that enhance our buildings aesthetically, protect our inventory and provide most of the electricity we need to run our business.”