Fleamasters Flea market in Fort Myers, FL, is now using solar power instead of electricity to operate its business, and as a result will save around $16 million over the next 30 years. The market has paid more than $7.5 million to the local utility company during its 26 years in business, according to Andy Steele, owner of the market. Requiring an initial investment of $4 million, the system is expected to pay for itself in seven to eight years.
Manufacturer Solectria provided inverters for a 1.2MW solar PV installation by SolarOne Financial LLC in Florida. SolarOne has created a unique financing model to help commercial businesses, such as Fleamasters, take advantage of solar power, save electricity costs and benefit from federal tax credits and bonus depreciation, Steele told PV-Tech.
Annually, Fleamasters Market is expected to generate 1,680,000 kWh which is equivalent to removing 1125.6 tons of CO2, removing 136 cars, 116,041 gallons of gas, planting 840 trees or powering 14,383 light bulbs annually. The 1.2 megawatt system is composed of some 4,000 solar modules that take up about 50 percent of the roof space at the 52-acre flea market.
Fleamasters Flea Market is located at 4135 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and is open year round. The 400,000 square foot market hosts approximately 900 retail shops, offering both new and used merchandise, and is open Friday through Sunday.