Energy costs $0 for Wareham marina after going solar

Jan 7, 2018

A winter upgrade will spell big savings for Zecco Marina this summer.

The marina, which has operated as a boatyard at 2 Warr Avenue since 1935, had a solar array capable of generating roughly 200,000-kilowatt hours of electricity annually installed.

The result? Zecco Marina’s energy bill is $0.

“This facility is now 100 percent powered by solar,” said Gregory Wirsen, executive vice president of Green Seal Environmental, Inc. “All electrical use is covered by renewable energy.”

Green Seal Environmental designed and installed the 491 solar panels out of sight on top of two warehouses at the marina. Based on Cape Cod, the company has set up similar systems for businesses in Kingston, South Dennis and Plymouth over the years.

The system cost $384,000 to install. Wirsen said federal tax incentives, which include a 30 percent tax credit worth $115,000, made the project economically beneficial for Zecco Marina. He estimated the system will pay for itself in four and a half years.

Over the next 25 years, Wirsen said Zecco Marina will save a total of $640,500. Wirsen noted the marina's annual savings will be approximately $29,000 per year.

Another important aspect, said Wirsen, is the environmental impact.

When boats dock at the marina, plugging into the marina’s electrical system to run air conditioners, power washers, lights and more, all of that energy will be renewable.

“That’s the big takeaway,” said Wirsen.

The marina’s owner, Tony Zecco, said he started researching solar two years ago. Zecco has owned the marina since 1999 and has been working on revamping it since then. Zecco said the solar system was the last step in the rebuild.

Overall, the marina has 66 moorings, 130 boat slips and six transient slips. In winter, there are between 250 to 275 boats stored and maintained on the site.

The marina is one of the first to adopt solar in New England. Wirsen estimated that 3 to 4 percent of marinas in the northeast are run entirely on solar energy. That should give Zecco Marina an economic advantage, he said.

“You made a commitment to the environment, you got your money back and now you can be more competitive in other areas,” said Wirsen.