A new Taco Bell restaurant is slated to become the first entirely solar-powered store in the 6,000-unit chain, according to Grover Moss, the franchisee who owns the Moreno Valley, Calif., store and 11 other units.
The solar-powered store, on which the company broke ground in November 2011, features a 200-foot-long roof covered with 155 solar panels over the unit's entire drive-thru line. Moss said in local news reports that he leased an acre in the middle of a shopping center to build the store at a cost of more than $1 million. Most Taco Bells typically cost $300,000 to $400,000 less, he said. "The driving force was the high cost of energy, bills ranging from $3,000 to $6,000 a month per store," Moss noted. By harnessing the sun's power, he expects to realize savings of up to 70 percent.