Rossi Honda Becomes First US Grid Neutral Dealership

Rossi Honda of Vineland, N.J. is the first and yet only dealer in the U.S. to achieve “Electric Grid Neutral” status.

Rossi Honda hit this milestone ahead of the approximately 17,500 automobile dealers in the country by producing as much as or more energy from renewable sources than it consumes from its local electric utility over a one-year period.

Working closely with Honda’s Environmental Leadership Program team, the independently-owned dealership was able to quantify its energy use and develop and execute a plan to become the first electric grid neutral dealer.

Honda said this is a significant achievement for a type of business that has large energy needs.

Honda explained Electric Grid Neutral buildings reduce CO2 emissions resulting from the generation of electricity by the nation’s electric grid. Rossi’s precedent-setting achievement earned it a top-level “Platinum” Honda Environmental Leadership Award, reserved for dealers who verifiably reduce their net grid electricity use to zero (Electric Grid Neutral) or achieve LEED certification. Through a combination of energy efficiency measures and on-site solar energy, the dealership reduced its annual grid electricity consumption by approximately 321,000 kilowatt-hour and annual CO2 output by approximately 341,000 pounds.

In 2012, Rossi installed a 223 kilowatt solar PV system that generated 90 percent of its total electricity consumption from solar energy.

In March 2013 Rossi replaced the metal halide lamps on its parking lot light poles with LED lamps, reducing its energy consumption by 22 percent. Following the lighting upgrade, the solar PV system now generates over 100 percent of the dealership’s annual electricity use, achieving Rossi’s goal of Electric Grid Neutral.

The local electric utility invoices Rossi Honda the difference between its electricity consumed and electricity generated by the dealer’s photovoltaic solar system. Ron Rossi, the dealership’s owner, said he saw a steep decrease in the electricity he consumed from the utility, and a corresponding steep decrease on his utility bills.

Honda added automobile dealers have unique energy use characteristics that are different from other typical commercial or industrial energy users. Abundant parking lot and interior lighting, an auto service and repair operation, and an on-site car wash are all features that contribute to high energy demand.

Honda, which launched its U.S. “Green Dealer” program in 2012, said it has developed a measurable and verifiable system to help its dealers achieve significant reductions in energy use and cut their CO2 emissions.