solarIt seems the dominating conversation in today’s car wash industry is the use of water and waterless products. Arguably the biggest “ingredient” in a car wash is the way in which you apply and recycle water. So this story of a San Antonio car wash making the expensive switch to solar power brings up another part of the conversation often overlooked when we talk about environmental factors in the business.

Upstart Business Journal reports that the owners of Bubble Bath Car Wash in Texas are the first in their city of San Antonio to make the switch. The chain has always been mindful of its water recycling and the owner even drives an electric car. He’s wanted to switch to solar power for some time but it wasn’t until the city began offering rebates from its own utility company that it was possible. That, coupled with a 30 percent federal tax credit made the venture affordable.

“The problem was that the payback took 30 years, so it was a tough investment for a businessman to make,” owner Nick Lopez said. “But with the CPS and federal rebates, it made it affordable, very affordable. Now, we’ve got a payback that approaches three years instead of 30 years, and that makes all kinds of sense.”

Bubble Bath Car Wash opened back in 2005 and in the past 11 years, it has grown to four locations across the city. So far, they’ve converted two of those locations to solar power.