Vittles Family Restaurant

Vector and our structural engineering partner, Steel Truss and Supply of Redding, designed, constructed and commissioned a solar carport over the parking lot southeast of the restaurant, along Ventura Street. It is 72’ x 112’, with a full 15’ clear height enabling fire trucks, RVs, and over-the-road trucks to all pass under it easily.

Construction began in early October 2018, and by late October the foundations were complete, before the winter rainy season.


Specialty structural steel arrived and was fabbed in STS’ shop over the winter: two 12" x 20" structural steel square tube girders 56’ long, and five 24" deep by 72’ long W-beams. We erected the structural steel in January-February 2019.

We pre-assembled racks of 3 or 4 modules and their purlins in the shop, and then installed those with reachlifts and cranes in March 2019. We completed commissioning and interconnection in April 2019.

Vittles’ carport uses 272 SolarWorld 350W photovoltaic modules, made in Hillsboro, OR, mounted in 16 rows of 17 modules each at a 5 degree pitch. These feed five Fronius 12.5 and 15.0 kilowatt inverters, which in turn connect to Vittles’ existing electrical switch gear and from there to PG&E’s electrical grid. Production is about 149,000 kilowatt-hours per year, providing 100% of the restaurant’s electricity. The solar system will save Vittles over 80% on their electric bill over the next 25 years! Vittles’ owner believes that this is the first restaurant in Shasta County to generate 100% of its electricity renewably.


Vittles’ carport was designed and permitted by Vector and our partner, Steel Truss & Supply. Vittles’ owner challenged us to come up with a design aesthetic inspired by the well-known solar carport at left, which is at the Sierra-Nevada brewery in Chico. Sierra-Nevada's solar system is nationally renowned, having been the largest privately-owned solar system in the nation for several years after its ~2008 installation. It is a recognized landmark which has drawn many visitors to Chico.


Another project which foretells the future was installed at the same time: ChargePoint, the nation’s largest network of electric vehicle charging stations (EVCS), installed four EV charging stations as part of the California Energy Commission’s project to install charging stations along the entire length of I-5. Vittles does not own them nor receive any funds from their use, but they hope some of the EV owners will enjoy a meal.