A Solar Powered Ukulele Factory?
The Magic Fluke Company, LLC is a small manufacturer and retailer of ukuleles – all-American-made, and now made completely with solar power!
Dale and Phyllis Webb designed and made their first 10,000 ukuleles in their Connecticut home (which is outfitted with solar thermal) as the business first took off. The next 30,000 instruments were made in a 1,700 square foot historic service station. Finally, they bought and opened a beautiful timber-framed building in Sheffield, MA that serves as both a production facility and a uke shop. They hope to be in it for years to come, so they opted for a more permanent source of power for it – solar electricity.
Real Goods Solar installed the 10kW solar pv array on the The Magic Fluke’s roof and powered it up in February of 2011. The cost of the renewable energy system was $43,000, but much of it was offset by Massachusetts solar rebates, tax credits and SRECs (solar renewable energy certificates).
- The MassCEC rebate took $3,750 off the system cost
- The Federal Renewable Energy Tax Credit took 30% off the system cost
- Massachusetts SRECs – currently traded at $207 per 1,000 kWh produced* – will generate $23,000 over the system’s first 10 years of operation
Between these incentives, depreciation, and electricity savings (the system is expected to almost completely offset Magic Fluke’s monthly electricity bills for the next 20 years), the payback period on the Webbs’ solar energy investment is expected to be about 12 years. And the system will continue to provide electricity savings for many more years.
The Magic Fluke sources parts for their instruments locally and employs nine locals to build and sell ukuleles. They also offer music lessons and sell books and CDs. They have sold almost 55,000 instruments over the last 13 years, some of which have been played on the Ellen Degeneres and Today shows. Bette Middler has even played one on her Las Vegas stage.
To learn more about the Magic Fluke and their selection of beautiful instruments, visit MagicFluke.com.
*SREC prices vary according to market factors. This estimate is current as of December 2012.