Emerald Glen Reduces Utility Reliance by 40% with Solar Energy

Sabrina Lopez
August 21, 2018
3 min read

When Patrick Tonna started drawing up the construction plans for his Emerald Glen Memory Care-Plus building in Mesa, solar, surprisingly, wasn’t part of his initial design. But after seeing how solar dramatically reduced operating expenses for his properties in California, Tonna realized that going solar also had to be part of his plans here in the Valley of the Sun.

“With the current federal incentives available, and after seeing firsthand how solar added value to my California properties, I would have been stupid not to add it to Emerald Glen,” he stated. “If my calculations are correct, going solar should cut my electric bill by more than 40%, which will amount to huge savings for my bottom line.”

Emerald Glen, a community focused on providing memory care patients with security and attention to cognitive and medical needs, completed construction on a new 42.84-kilowatt solar array earlier this year. The new rooftop PV system is estimated to produce more than 74,000-kilowatt hours of clean, solar electricity annually equivalent to offsetting more than 60,000 pounds of coal burned, or 136,000 miles driven in the average car. 

As the owner and CEO of Emerald Glen Memory Care-Plus and the Deputy Director of Engineering and Facilities at the Norman Y. Mineta San Jose airport, Tonna is a savvy businessman and engineer who understands the importance of picking only the best and most reliable partners. His search for a solar partner spanned across California and Arizona and included careful evaluation of national and regional candidates. Credibility, reputation, a robust product portfolio, and strong warranty options topped his list of must-haves. Based on these merits, Tonna awarded Sun Valley Solar Solutions the contract for work at Emerald Glen in August 2017. 

“Recommendations from previous Sun Valley Solar customers played a big part in my decision process,” he stated. “It was very important for me to hear what others had to say about them, and it was all very positive. Sun Valley Solar is a reputable company with an impressive list of commercial clients across the state and more than a decade of successful growth at their back.”

Tonna was also impressed with the way Sun Valley Solar worked hard to design the panel layout to match his specific criteria best. With the aesthetics of his new facility being top of mind, the coordination between Sun Valley Solar and his team was of critical importance to the overall success of the project. 

The final design incorporates more than 120 panels arranged carefully to maximize sunlight capture while avoiding critical roof structures and being minimally visible at street level. The layout was also designed symmetrically, which Tonna – a frequent traveler – happily points out is noticeable from an airplane’s view. 

“I’m very happy with how the panels work with the skylights and solar tubes,” Tonna said. “The roof line’s integrity wasn’t compromised, and the building still looks like I envisioned. You don’t get that kind of luxury in existing buildings.”

Designing a new building with solar in the plans didn’t come without challenges. Multiple delays on the side of the building contractor and utility extended the project’s completion date by a couple of months.

“Sun Valley Solar’s employees were very patient when the project took longer than we expected due to unforeseen outside forces,” Tonna said. “They kept me informed every step of the way, made a frustrating experience with the building contractor and utility a better situation, and ultimately lived up to their reputation.”

With three other properties near Tonna’s Emerald Glen Memory Care-Plus building, he’s looking forward to exploring a solar solution for them with Sun Valley Solar Solutions.

Suppose you want to learn how solar can help your business with its energy and financial goals. In that case, we invite you to schedule a consultation with a member of our commercial solar team.