Automotive Manufacturer Magnaflow Accelerates Savings with SunPower® Helix® Solar + Storage

Commercial Case Study



As an automotive parts manufacturer, Magnaflow was spending more than $350,000 per year on electricity and was looking for a way to reduce their electric bill, while offsetting their carbon emissions.

SunPower’s Solution

HES Solar, a SunPower dealer based in San Diego, designed and installed an 803-kilowatt (kW) SunPower® Helix® solar system across Magnaflow’s rooftop and parking lot. The fully-integrated system also features a 500 kW / 900 kWh energy storage system.

Customer Benefit

Magnaflow is expected to save $357,000 in the first year of the system’s operation, thanks in part to SunPower’s intelligent storage software which can optimize savings with demand response and energy arbitrage. The investment is expected to pay for itself in just 2.8 years and return an estimated $19 million in savings over the first 30 years of operation.
commercial solar, Oceanside, solar for business, solar building

With rising utility prices, solar plus storage projects have become a sustainable and cost-effective energy alternative for business owners. The average commercial property owner can reduce overall energy costs by 75% by going solar, which improved margins and appeals to shareholders.

Ross Williams

HES Solar, President and CEO

Quick Facts

Driving Maximum Savings with Solar + Storage

Energy costs are often one of the highest operational business expenses, especially for small- to mid-sized manufacturers. An unexpected surge in electricity charges can mean the difference between investing in a critical new piece of machinery or even making payroll. For Magnaflow, an automotive manufacturer in Southern California, annual electricity bills of $350,000 or more were a strain on the business. Magnaflow manufactures components such as high-performance mufflers, catalytic converters and other parts for the automotive industry, selling direct from their web site. This on-demand business model makes manufacturing a 24/7 job—with energy needs to match—and James Mayor, VP of Industrial Technologies at Magnaflow, wanted to find out if solar could help.

After consulting with HES Solar, a SunPower Commercial Dealer, Magnaflow’s management team found out that their site was ideal for solar. With a fully- integrated SunPower® Helix® system, Magnaflow could install both a rooftop and a carport system, which would provide the added benefit of shaded parking for customers and employees. And by including Helix® Energy Storage,Magnaflow could make the most of their solar installation to save even more.

A Need For Speed: Cutting Installation Times with Helix

As a business that operates virtually constantly, Magnaflow needed to have the system installed with minimal business disruption. The modular Helix® system is prewired and preconfigured for easy installation, allowing the construction on the rooftop system to be completed in less than 90 days. Installation of the carport and energy storage systems were equally efficient and the whole system was finished just in time to maximize tax credits for 2018.

Shortening ROI with Energy Storage

The Helix system is expected to save the company more than $350,000 per year, with nearly $50,000 of that savings generated from energy storage. The direct electricity offset from the solar and demand mitigation from energy storage, help protect the company from demand charges when consumption needs spike. SunPower’s software also enables Magnaflow to participate in “energy arbitrage” – essentially buying and selling energy at different times of day, which increases their savings and shortens payback time under the time-of-use utility rate structure recently implemented by San Diego Gas & Electric.

Bottom Line: Higher Production, Made with Sunshine

Solar and energy storage rebates and incentives added up to nearly $1.8 million, including the federal Investment Tax Credit and accelerated depreciation. This reduced the total net cost enough for Magnaflow to self-finance the system, which will pay for itself in under three years.
Over the next 30 years, Magnaflow will save an estimated $19.2 million on electricity due to its decision to invest in solar + storage. The company is already reinvesting the savings into the business and has been able to increase production for virtually no incremental costs in electricity. Running their business with the sun has put Magnaflow on the road to even greater success.

SunPower commercial energy storage in Oceanside

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We are a San Diego-based, family-owned solar company. We have been an energy innovator since 2001 and can handle projects from small, rooftop solar panel additions to large-scale commercial microgrid systems. 

Our website is a great resource for your solar research. We’d also love to speak with you to answer any specific questions you have about your project. Click here to be contacted by an HES Solar representative, or simply dial us at 619-692-2015. We don’t use call centers so you’ll speak with a full-time HES Solar employee in California.

Robert Laverty

Senior Energy Consultant, Residential

Robert Laverty joined the HES team in the summer of 2018, bringing his ten years of solar design experience and his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Puget Sound with him. Robert is dedicated to finding solutions to help families produce and store electricity in order to reduce their reliance on grid power as well as help reduce their household’s carbon footprint. Robert’s experience as a newspaper editor as well as his involvement with the sustainability-focused Rocky Mountain Institute drives him to constantly seek out innovative ways to meet energy needs through renewable resources as well as helps him share those ideas with Southern California homeowners. When not at work or volunteering time with his church or community, Robert spends time with his wife and two sons or pursues his passion of fly fishing.

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