31kW Monthly Production 5,087kWh
Modules 153 GE Inverters 1 Xantrex
Pitch 20° Roof Type

California Metals, Inc. operates a diversified full-service recycling and metal sales operation in El Cajon, CA. Founded in 1978, the organization specializes in recycling scrap metals, recycling and re-marketing IT surplus, and the sale of new metals.

The first commercial solar power installation in the city of El Cajon, their solar PV system is consistent with the company’s mission of helping the community-at-large transition to a sustainable model of commerce.

Since the energy crisis of 2001, California Metals has been affected by the rising cost of electricity from SDG&E (local utility), and they were looking for a way to reduce their electric bill without causing a significant affect to their company’s cash flow. When the company started operations in the early 80s, electricity rates were $.03 per kWh, and by 2004 those rates had increased by over 600%.

This first project was such a success that California Metals decided to install a second 30kW  system on their metal processing yard at their second facility. This brought the combined solar PV size to around 60 kW.

The California Metals plant consists of multiple buildings with different roof types and pitches. No single roof was large enough to provide all of the required energy usage, so Borrego Solar designed and installed a solar electric system that would work within the limited space available, and still virtually eliminate California Metal’s electric bills. Every available unshaded part of the roof area was used in order to fit a total of 225 solar modules.

One of the available areas was an old foam roof in poor condition, so the Borrego Solar engineering and construction teams designed a ballasted (non-penetrating) system to minimize wear and tear and preclude any possibility of leakage.

Monthly Production: 5,087 kWh

Annual Production: 61,044 kWh

30 Year Production: 1,703,128 kWh

One of the main benefits of solar electric systems is that they produce electricity during daylight hours, when utility rates are at their peak. Therefore, the extra energy produced by California Metals’ solar power installation yields a credit at the peak rates. This has enabled them to zero out their energy bill, even though they physically use more energy than the PV system produces.

On their first installations, California Metals received a 50% rebate from the state of California, a 10% Federal tax credit, 7.5% California state tax credit, and accelerated depreciation. By taking advantage of these government incentives they were able to finance their system so that their monthly energy bill savings and tax savings were almost the same as their monthly loan payments.

California Metals' second 30 kW installation takes advantage of the California Solar Initiative (CSI) performance based incentive (PBI), which pays for kWh production over 5 years.

Carbon Dioxide Offset (annually): 83,630 lbs

Carbon Dioxide Offset (30 years): 2,333,285 lbs

Equivalent to the effect of
removing 9 passenger vehicles from the road

Equivalent to the effect of planting 21 acres of trees

Nitrogen Oxide Emissions Offset
(30 years): 2,248 lbs

Sulfur Oxide Emissions Offset
(30 years): 4,871 lbs