UniFirst Completes Rooftop Solar Panel Projects

Posted April 26, 2024 at 1:47 pm

UniFirst Corp., Wilmington, MA, recently partnered with HOLT Renewables to finalize three rooftop solar power systems at UniFirst industrial laundry facilities in Austin and San Antonio, TX, and Stockton, CA. Combined, the solar-power systems boast over 2,000 high-efficiency solar panels, promising substantial long-term benefits including clean energy, reduced emissions and significant lifetime utility savings.

“UniFirst takes pride in our ongoing commitment to environmental sustainability as we aim to serve our customers and support the communities in which we operate,” said Matthew Croatti, UniFirst senior vice president. “By investing in solar energy and other sustainable initiatives, UniFirst is actively reducing our environmental impact and carbon footprint as well as benefiting from long-term energy cost reductions.”

In its pursuit of achieving its sustainability goals, UniFirst leaned on San Antonio-based HOLT Renewables for its expertise and understanding of Austin Energy’s solar incentives to successfully implement solar at UniFirst’s industrial laundry facility in Austin. This new rooftop solar array is 256.80 kWdc with an expected greenhouse gas reduction of 262,000 kg of CO2 in the first year, or the equivalent of 31,900,700 smartphones being charged. The solar project is expected to provide utility savings over $69,000 in year one and over $1 million of lifetime savings.

UniFirst also tapped HOLT Renewables to install a 337.92 kWdc rooftop array at their industrial laundry facility in Stockton, CA. The 337.92 kWdc solar array is expected to save more than $90,000 in utility bill costs in its first year of production and seven-figure energy cost savings over the course of its projected lifetime.

The first solar power installation took place in 2020 when HOLT Renewables installed a 232.5 kWdc rooftop array at UniFirst’s industrial laundry facility in San Antonio. The decision to start with San Antonio was due in part to available solar rebates offered in the city by CPS Energy, the nation’s largest community-owned provider of electric and natural gas services.

“HOLT Group and UniFirst are both active members of the San Antonio community and share many of the same values which has made our working relationship harmonious,” said Aaron Arriaga, commercial project developer at HOLT Renewables. The 612 solar panel system in San Antonio generated more than $25,000 in energy savings in its first year and is expected to deliver long-term benefits of over $1 million in lifetime utility cost savings.

UniFirst and HOLT Renewables participated in the Federal Investment Tax Credit, which allowed for up to 30 percent of the total cost of installation for each solar energy system. The company also leveraged commercial rebates from the local utilities involved to help reduce the total project investment. HOLT Renewables is both UniFirst’s partner in renewable energy and a holding company of HOLT Caterpillar, a UniFirst customer. UniFirst has provided uniform services to HOLT CAT for 15 years and when HOLT Renewables became a part HOLT Group in 2019, UniFirst was the first solar client under the new brand.

In addition to the solar projects, UniFirst is actively enhancing energy conservation through other companywide initiatives including LED lighting upgrades, water treatment and reuse practices, and waste-stream optimization at its facilities throughout North America. Moreover, the company is piloting electric vehicles in key markets as part of its efforts towards a sustainable future.