NEVADA CITY, Calif. February 19, 2020 – The Nevada Theatre is a prize of Nevada City. A noble custodian of history and of the arts.

The curators of this stately building have long been committed to the preservation and continued service of the Nevada Theatre.

“Our mission is to provide this space for art for the community,” Nevada Theatre Commission President Jane Primrose said. “For us it is important that it be safe, attractive, well-equipped and at as low a cost as we can do it.”

Which brings us to the addition of solar power. California Solar Electric Company (Cal Solar) recently installed a solar array on the roof of the theatre. The use of solar power will help immensely in lowering costs by reducing the theatre’s average electricity bill of about $2,000 per month.

Photo: Akim Aginsky

“This will enable us to continue to have low costs,” Primrose said. “We’ve always been about sustainability. This a perfect way to reduce our costs over the years.”

“Going solar has actually been a goal for the theatre for well over 10 years, and I personally began running numbers for them as far back as 2008,” Cal Solar Commercial Sales & Design Manager Martin Webb said. “The combination of steadily increasing PG&E rates and lower costs for solar, coupled with new special financing for nonprofits meant that the time was finally right for a 2020 solar install.”

“We have been wanting to do this forever,” Primrose said. “Until all these entities lined up to make this more possible and the cost of solar went down … We looked at it before and this was the first time we could do it.”

Along with lowering costs and making the Nevada Theatre sustainable, preserving the integrity and the aesthetics of the building is of paramount importance.

Truth be told, the roof itself isn’t historical. The theatre has a newer gray metal roof.

“And frankly you can barely see the panels because the building is so high,” Facility Manager Tom Taylor said. “They sit on the roof at the same pitch, so the visual impact is minimal. We are all collectively committed to the preservation of the building for future generations.”

“As one of the only commercial SunPower dealers in the region, Cal Solar was able to install the most efficient and most reliable solar panels available in order to be able to produce enough clean power off the limited roof space to eliminate their annual PG&E bill,” Webb said. “Now, the Nevada Theatre not only improved their bottom line and fixed their costs by saving annually in utility bills, while at the same time creating clean, quiet energy, but they also keep that money in the local economy, allowing them to support local jobs and local businesses.”

“Technology is constantly being improved,” Taylor said. “Cal Solar is very proactive in staying on top of latest and best equipment available, which is always evolving. And working with Cal Solar was great. They are very professional, very thorough, efficient, clean, meticulous and open about everything they are doing. Cal Solar is a first-rate organization. And the impact on neighbors was minimal. The whole thing was seamless for us. I couldn’t ask for a better team. And when they get all harnessed up for roof work, they all look like ninjas!”

“Martin is wonderful,” Primrose said. “We had a couple bids. Cal Solar was both the best value and extremely knowledgeable. We trusted that they could do this job right. We were very impressed with them. And I would absolutely recommend them. They are very responsive. In terms of the contracting and their coming out and meeting with the board, and their presentation, they are very informative and responsive.”

“We’re honored to partner with such an important cultural hub,” Webb said. “And we are grateful to the Nevada Theatre and the city of Nevada City for supporting this step forward in retrofitting older historic buildings to be part of the new energy solution.”

“We’re so excited. It also fits into our mission. Because we can go ahead and continue to do all the wonderful things we want to do and we don’t have to increase the cost … thank God,” Primrose said. “It was like putting a glove on a hand. It was a perfect fit.”