“Not only are we saving money and it’s a great return on investment, but also we’ve discovered that our sales have increased.”
BILL CORRICK, OWNER/OPERATOR
TACO JOHN’S, FAIRFIELD, IA
Taco John’s now features a 110 kW solar array to the south and east of its 703 W. Burlington location in Fairfield, Iowa. After studying the financial case for solar energy, Owner Bill “Taco Bill” Corrick saw how significant the savings would be and decided to build an array next to the restaurant. Taco John’s in Fairfield is 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 two millions pounds of coal.
Left: Taco John’s is turning unsed land into productive revenue with a new solar installation sited on former railway land
Right: Taco John’s Owner/Operator Bill Corrick celebrates a transition to solar energy during an energizing ceremony.
The Taco John’s array is part of the Fairfield community’s ongoing success at repurposing unused industrial sites. Like the Fairfield Loop Trail, a historic freight line repurposed into 22 miles of recreational trails encircling the city, part of the land that the solar array now occupies 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 (FEDA) 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.”