Just north of San Francisco lies Marin County, home to the only solar-powered pizzeria chain in the United States, Stefano’s Solar Powered Pizzeria. Stefano’s uses solar panels to generate the majority, if not all, of the electricity used in each store. In fact, solar power provides 100% of the electricity used to run Stefano’s Mill Valley location. In light of their green efforts, the Marin County Board of Supervisors has accredited Stefano’s Solar Powered Pizzeria as a Marin Green business. In order to become a Marin Green Business, the company must pledge to stay green and identify ways to conserve resources, conserve energy, reduce waste, and prevent pollution. More information can be found at www.marincounty.org/Business/Sustainability/Green-Program.
Stefano’s Solar Powered Pizza, http://www.stefanossolarpizza.com
Stefano’s solar panels were installed in June 2004 for $111,000 after rebates. Rebates can be given from the government for installing solar panels depending on equipment efficiencies, according to government criteria (http://www.solarrebates.com/). Having accreditations like Marin Green Business will also merit more rebates and savings. After installing their solar panels, the pizzeria experienced a drastic change in their PG&E bill, dropping from just under $1000 a month to a mere $6.75 a month. The panels’ payback period should be about 8 to 9 years and are guaranteed to last 25 years. Imagine dropping your PG&E bill by over 99 percent! The restaurants are still able to maintain their product quality and competitive prices using the solar panels.
Stefano’s Solar Powered Pizza made the wiser choice by installing the panels and the benefits have taken full bloom. The government has realized the importance of renewable energy sources and is doing its part to make them more affordable and practical. There has been a lot of talk about using renewable energy sources; unfortunately a lot of it has been just talk. Stefano’s has put their money where their mouth is, and set a fabulous example for more businesses to do the same. Who’s next? Stay tuned!