DaVita® Stories

Playa DaVita Goes Solar

 

Sometimes, a project comes along that inspires you to create something more important than the sum of its parts – something that gives your work meaning.  I’ve been lucky enough to have had a few such projects in my career, but none of them required quite as much passion and endurance as the Solar Project, at DaVita’s El Segundo, CA corporate business office known as the Playa.  Spurred on by DaVita’s sustainability team (Village Green) and  DaVita’s Real Estate, Construction & Facility Maintenance team, (Team Genesis), our little team just never gave up.

After nearly four years, the Playa Solar Project has finally become a reality. Of course, the work to replace the roof and install the solar panels took only 10 weeks.  The majority of that four years was all about the shared determination and willpower to make this happen.  The project was formerly dubbed by several teammates as “The project Mike Biczo just won’t let die.”  I take that as a compliment.

In early 2014, I began the task of project managing the remodel of the DaVita Playa building; the work started in mid-2015 and was completed in early 2016.  While we accomplished a great deal during the remodel, the one missing piece was the addition of solar-capabilities. With the many potential environmental and fiscal benefits a solar panel system can offer, the project was quickly approved and ready to start, but immediately hit a snag when the landlord determined that the roof had to be replaced before solar panels could be installed.  That drove the cost up and we had to put the solar project on hold.

After multiple attempts in 2016 and 2017 to move the project forward, it seemed like it just wasn’t meant to be.

After the passage of almost three years, I reached out to the vendor and asked for a look at the current data and a new cost proposal.  Fortunately, over the course of the three years the technology had continued to improve. Data showed that we could now generate even more solar power, from the same size system, and for less money. This improved the Return on Investment (ROI) from 4.3 years to 3.6 years including the new roof.  It was a victory!

On June 21st, 2018 (the first day of summer), the Playa activated the solar modules which represent the largest solar array in DaVita.  The below shows just how valuable and efficient the Playa Solar System is projected to be:

  • The 253 kilowatt rooftop system, comprised of (734) 345 watt modules, will provide the Playa with at least 60 percent of its annual electricity.
  • Capable of producing 404,776 kilowatt hours of electricity annually
    • The savings in energy is the equivalent of (based on EPA calculator):
      • NOT driving a standard passenger car 29.5 times around the world (equivalent to 738,336 miles)
      • NOT consuming 33,897 gallons of gasoline
      • Taking 64.5 standard passenger cars off the road for one year
      • 45.2 average homes’ electricity for one year

I’m so thankful for the endless passion, support and encouragement of our Village Green team, and of my partners on this journey, Casey Stock, (Village Green) and Jeffrey Wilzbacher, (Team Genesis), who kept me energized and focused on getting this project done.  It is our hope that the solar program at the Playa will demonstrate how much value and efficiency sustainability initiatives could bring to the Village.

Michael Biczo

Michael Biczo

Michael Biczo is the Senior Manager of Facilities Services at the Playa DaVita in El Segundo, CA He has been with the Village for 8 ½ years. He is passionate about project management and led the Playa remodel as well as the Solar Project.