An American Story: Firearms Shop Shoots Holes in Electric Bill with Solar


All sorts of American businesses are deciding to go solar as they realize the cost savings they will achieve. Even so, most people would not associate solar with the firearms industry. The general conception is that owners of these stores are ultra-conservative, and would want nothing to do with solar. However, this belies the fact that solar simply makes good business sense. 

I cannot say whether or not the owners of The Shootist, in Murrieta, California, had the environment on their mind when they decided to go solar. They were, however, frustrated with their ever-rising electric bill from Southern California Edison, and engaged Ambassador Energy to install a PV system on the roof of their ranch.

The system was mounted on an unusual “7V” metal roof and is comprised of 42 panels with a rating of 327 Wdc per panel, equating to a 13.7 kW solar system. The owners, Randy and Sue Archbold, were anxious to offset the bulk of their electricity bill, so the system was designed accordingly and in compliance with the available shade-free space on their roof. The installation crew was entirely made up of U.S. military veterans — a growing portion of the solar workforce.

“Most installations are fairly straightforward, whether on the roof or ground,” said Kelly Smith, president of Ambassador Energy. “We are accustomed to, and welcome, complex installations, as we cut our construction teeth years ago as general contractors. We love a challenge and had a great time engaging our military veteran crew to tackle the task. The Archbolds were terrific to work with, and their ranch was a joy to work on. Our military-veteran crew members know of The Shootist store in Murrieta, and loved the ability to work through the challenge of a hot metal roof during a blisteringly hot week in SoCal. Only a crew who has experienced the heat of Afghanistan could work in those conditions without complaining. Our veteran installers are amazing!”

Ambassador Energy successfully completed the installation and the Archbolds have gained permission to operate from Southern California Edison. They are still connected to the grid, but are buying only about 15% of their energy from the utility. They report that they are enjoying the savings and energy independence provided by generating the other 85% from their own solar system.

“I love this American story,” continued Smith. “We have a patriotic client, a military-veteran crew, cost savings, and energy independence, resulting in a reduction of dependence on foreign resources. What’s not to love?”