Brockton mailing company installs 2,067-panel solar array on roof

Jim Clark, owner of the Brockton-based JLS Mailing Services, said the goal is to reduce his company's power usage to become a net zero energy business, meaning that the total amount of energy used there will become roughly equal to the renewable energy produced at the building.

Jim Clark

Jim Clark, owner of JLS Mailing Services in Brockton, decided to install a 536-kilo

Jim Clark

By This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Enterprise Staff Writer

Posted Dec. 15, 2015 at 4:10 pm Updated Dec 15, 2015 at 5:00 PM

BROCKTON – A Brockton business owner climbed a ladder on Tuesday morning and overlooked 2,067 solar panels neatly organized on the roof of his 100,000-square-foot building.

“To remain competitive in this day and age, you have to think ahead like this,” said Jim Clark, owner of JLS Mailing Services, located at the former Caldor department store on Crescent Street.

Clark said that his print mailing company, which employs nearly 50 people, is seldom thought of as environmentally friendly because of the amount of paper it uses. But Clark said it is exciting for his almost 100-year-old company to be on the cutting edge of “clean” renewable energy, while also achieving savings that will help it hire additional workers.

“For a company like ours to embrace new technology to maintain its viability, it’s pretty exciting,” Clark said.

The 536-kilowatt solar energy system at JLS Mailing Services cost $1.26 million, but the company said it would achieve a return on investment within 10 years. The project was completed about a week ago through a partnership with the Hopkinton-based Solect Energy.

The annual electric savings for JLS Mailing Services will start at $93,000, which accounts for 80 percent of the power used by the Brockton company.

JLS Mailing said it would also receive Solar Renewable Energy Credits worth at least $1.3 million over 10 years. The total estimated annual revenue and avoided cost from the project is roughly $200,000, the company stated.

Clark said the goal is to reduce his company’s power usage to become a net zero energy business, meaning that the total amount of energy used there will become roughly equal to the renewable energy produced at the building. In addition to the solar energy production, this means JLS Mailing will continue to improve its energy efficiency, through other projects like the recent installation of LED lighting, Clark said.

While cutting overhead costs was a key motivator for the project, Clark said he hopes that the solar energy system will get his employees and customers thinking about reducing their own carbon footprint, just as world leaders recently met in Paris to forge a non-binding, yet precedent-setting agreement to combat climate change.

“We took a detailed look at what we can do as a small company in the global economy,” Clark said. “The positive impact on employees is that they are now more energy conscious. .... We feel very good about this and our employees and customers are excited for us as well.”

JLS Mailing Services relocated to Brockton in 2000, Clark said. The company was founded in 1920 as the Joyce Letter Shop in Boston. Clark bought the company in 1983.

Clark said he first became interested in investing in solar energy after a solar industry representative contacted him four years ago, after seeing a satellite photo showing the company’s large roof and other ideal conditions.

“All the stars aligned for us on this particular project,” Clark said.

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