The company says decision a ‘no-brainer’ because power-purchase agreement requires no upfront costs.

Ballester Hermanos Inc., the food, wine, spirits, and food-service distributor, is the latest business in Puerto Rico to go solar and cut down on sky-high electricity costs.

The 874-kilowatt, roof-mounted solar array for Ballester Hermanos’ distribution warehouse is expected to save the company more than $100,000 this year in electricity costs, with savings expected to double during the next 25 years.

The local distributor is enjoying 40% savings on electricity bills but paid nothing upfront for the 25-year power-purchase agreement (PPA) with Yarotek, a Miami-based solar developer and independent power producer with regional headquarters in San Juan, and REC Solar, a national provider of comprehensive commercial solar and energy solutions. The solar installation is expected to save Ballester Hermanos millions of dollars over the life of the contract.

solar warehouseThe plant, one of Puerto Rico’s largest commercial rooftop projects to date, comprises more than 2,500 highly efficient Sun Power photovoltaic modules. The system was awarded a meaningful rebate from the Puerto Rico Green Energy Fund and qualifies for U.S. federal tax credits.

“We are always looking for ways to be socially responsible, reduce our operating expenses and increase profits, but thought that solar was out of reach,” said Alejandro Ballester, president of Ballester Hermanos. “When we learned that a PPA with Yarotek would deliver savings of more than $100,000 a year with no upfront costs, going solar became a no-brainer.”

“Businesses in Puerto Rico face much higher electricity rates than those in the rest of the U.S.,” said Ben Collinwood, director of national accounts for REC Solar. “REC Solar specializes in making solar energy affordable for businesses like Ballester Hermanos by offering end-to-end service that dramatically reduces monthly costs.”

With hurricane season potentially bringing torrential rains and winds of up to 150 miles per hour in Puerto Rico, solar providers must design and construct systems to withstand severe weather conditions. REC Solar’s experienced engineers and installers conducted comprehensive site assessments to ensure the warehouse roof and racking solution complied with Puerto Rico’s strict building codes.

“We are very excited and proud of our Ballester Hermanos facility. Initially, Yarotek targeted almost exclusively the utility-scale clean-tech segment. Today, by harvesting the abundant solar resource, Yarotek has become a proven partner in the development and financing of distributed-generation solar projects in the U.S. and Caribbean,” said Samy Esayag, CEO of Yarotek.

As a developer, system owner and equity investor, Yarotek’s contracted capacity exceeds 145 megawatts (MW), of which 16 MW are fully built and/or operational, officials said. The firm custom designs solar systems for clients and offers flexible financing options.