Fairfield restaurant switching to solar energy

Taco John?s will soon get part of its energy from the sun. The Fairfield restaurant is installing a 110 kW solar array to the south and east of its 703 W. Burlington Ave. location. The array, which will be built by Ideal Energy, will provide around 65 percent of the restaurant?s electricity needs. Construction is underway.

After studying the financial case for solar energy, owner Bill Corrick saw how significant the savings would be and decided to build an array next to the restaurant. Taco John?s in Fairfield will be the first Taco John?s out of 400 nationwide, and one of very few quick service restaurants worldwide, to use solar energy.

?There are a lot of positive things we can do,? Corrick said.

Over the next 25 years the array will provide significant energy cost savings while preventing around 1,905 metrics tons of CO2 from being released into the atmosphere ? the equivalent of over 2 millions pounds of coal.

The Taco John?s array is part of Fairfield?s ongoing success at repurposing unused industrial sites. Like the Fairfield Loop Trail, part of the land that will be used for the solar array was once a railroad grade. The old Rock Island Line used to run east of Taco John?s.

The Rock Island Line connected Fairfield to Washington and Eldon in 1871 and carried freight and passengers to Fairfield for over a 100 years. In 1980, the line was closed, and in 1982, most of the track was removed.

In 2014, the Fairfield Economic Development Association removed another stretch of track to the east of Taco John?s. Taco John?s bought the property from FEDA soon afterward. When the array is complete, a rail line that once carried coal will be generating clean solar energy.

Corrick said, ?It makes good sense financially for Taco John?s customers by reducing operating costs, as well as globally for everyone by producing clean energy.?