Stapp pins hopes on solar, hail reduction

The huge grid for solar and hail outside Stapp Interstate Toyota. (iPOWER)

With a noontime ribbon-cutting, Stapp Interstate Toyota showed off its iPOWER/VPS Solar Integrated Hail Canopies, one of the first of its kind in the country.

What a sight it is – 53,000 square feet of hail-shielding fabric and solar panels for protection from the weather while providing 100 percent of the dealership’s energy use.

Hailstorms and their pounding of automobiles through the years have been a scourge on what otherwise were pleasant solid summer sales results for dealerships in the Denver metro area, northern and northeastern Colorado.

The large coverings will protect more than 300 cars and trucks, the majority of the dealership’s vehicle inventory. Stapp Interstate Toyota operates at the I-25 Frontage Road between Frederick and Longmont.

The canopies are comprised of powder-coated steel structures, bifacial solar panels and HailShield Ultra HDPE (high-density polyethylene) mesh fabric.

Microgrid equipment permits local energy control capability; it can disconnect from traditional grid, operate autonomously and maintain more regular load demands.

At ribbon-cutting are, from left, Diane Dandeneau of iPOWER; Tim Jackson of Colorado Automobile Dealers Association; Mayor Tracie Crites of Frederick; Brion Stapp of the dealership; Jayson Crouch of Toyota Financial Services; Ben Pyle, general manager of Denver Region/Toyota Motor Sales, and Wade White, senior vice president of VPS. (iPOWER)

The launch of interest in the solar/hail protection, according to iPOWER Alliance, of Lyons, was completion of a 37,000-square-foot solar carport with advanced microgrid and load controls at Ehrlich Toyota in Greeley.

Other dealerships have expressed interest in iPOWER’s projects, said Diane Dandeneau, CEO.  “We have begun installation at Co’s BMW and Mini at the Crossroads Automotive Complex near Loveland., up the road north from Stapp’s store.

The Stapp dealership goes back almost 50 years, when Bob and Amy Stapp and son Art opened Longmont Toyota in 1974.

When Art and Debbi Stapp and sons Brion and Clint moved the growing business to its current location, the I-25 Frontage Road, it was renamed Stapp Interstate Toyota.