Vince's adds solar panels

Restaurant is first in city to be sun-powered

Wendy Leung, Staff Writer

RANCHO CUCAMONGA - Vince's Spaghetti in this city has a reputation for serving oversized plates of spaghetti that are piping hot, steeped in family tradition and also very green. In an earth-friendly move, Buzz Cuccia, owner of Vince's here, has installed solar panels on the roof of his restaurant, at 8241 Foothill Blvd.

Half the popular eatery's energy consumption will now come from the sun. "With the cost of oil and electricity going up, people are always asking, `What are they going to do about it?' " Cuccia said. "Well, who's `they'? `They' is us." The Prius-driving pasta proprietor is the first in the city to bring solar energy to a business. According to city records, there are 17 residential units in the city with solar panels. The initial cost for the Westlake Village- based Solar Electrical Systems to install the panels was $200,000, but after rebates and tax credits, Cuccia said he paid less than $80,000. Cuccia expects to recover the cost through savings in his electricity bills after five years. The restaurant, which seats 350 people, consumes a lot of energy, especially during the summer when it runs five air conditioners.

"We don't know if we're the cause of global warming, but we certainly contributed to it," Cuccia said. "We probably can't stop it, but we can at least try."