Local business goes solar: Bradford Staffing touts cost savings, environmental impact

Thomas Jorgensen isn’t a tree-hugging liberal trying to sell you on the benefits of going solar. The president of Bradford Staffing in Verona is a common-sense, pragmatic businessman trying to sell you on the benefits of going solar.

“When we got all done with it, for us to provide 100 percent of our power through solar, we’re looking at just less than a four-year payback. And if we can do it, there certainly has to be a lot of other companies out here that can do it,” said Jorgensen, touting a recently completed project at Bradford Staffing that is the first of its kind in Augusta County.

Altenergy Inc. in Staunton installed 40 310-watt solar panels on the roof of the Bradford Staffing location off U.S. 11 in June.

Part of the up-front costs associated with the $30,000 project are defrayed by grants and tax credits, helping account for that four-year payback for Bradford Staffing, one of the top 40 employers in Augusta County, employing 150 people on a daily basis, with more than 3,500 active employee candidates on file.

The commercial solar installation is the third of its kind in Augusta County, but Bradford Staffing’s is the first that will provide 100 percent of the electricity that will be used by the business.

“They’re looking at a four-year payback. Think about that. Think about after four years having no electric bill. That’s some significant savings for this small company. And the life of the panels is 25 years, so you’re looking at 20 years of no electric bills, in effect. That’s a pretty good deal,” said Joe Moore, the branch manager at Altenergy Inc. in Staunton, who oversaw the project at Bradford Staffing.

There is an added environmental benefit in how Bradford Staffing went about the installation on its solar project, said Linda Hershey, the president of the Greater Augusta Regional Chamber of Commerce.

“For local businesses like Altenergy and Bradford Staffing to come together to create a project that is environmental-friendly and create cost savings to Bradford Staffing, this is a great opportunity for our community,” Hershey said. “For Altenergy, this is a great opportunity for them to showcase their expertise in the field of solar energy, and we can only hope that this will spur other businesses to use this as an example and see how much cost savings are involved.”

Jorgensen hopes that Bradford Staffing can set an example with its commitment to solar for other Augusta County-area businesses to learn from and follow.

“We’d like to be a leader,” Jorgensen said. “Bradford Staffing has been around since 1967. I hope some people know us, and I hope some people know that we’re honest, and that we don’t have the money to make irrational decisions. I think when people look at it, they’re going to say, If they did it, then maybe it’s worth looking at.”

– Story by Chris Graham

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