BayREN Supports Local Businesses with Energy Efficiency Upgrades


In the bustling heart of downtown San Rafael in Marin County stands Thai Food Express, serving beloved dishes such as red curry, drunken noodles, and papaya salad. Open since 1990, Thai Food Express has consistently remained a crowd favorite. 

Recently, the restaurant has embraced a new flavor of improvements: energy efficiency upgrades made through the BayREN Business program.  

BayREN Business aims to help small businesses across the Bay Area reduce their energy consumption and carbon footprint. The program provides incentives for energy efficiency LED lighting, refrigeration, and more.

Participating contractors make the process simple, easy, and convenient. Contractors help businesses identify the best upgrades to save energy and cut costs.   

Thai Restaurant owner

Chatchai Phanphanit, owner of Thai Food Express, took advantage of the new BayREN Business program, launched in June 2023. Through the program, Phanphanit upgraded an aging walk-in freezer motor and controller.

“I was very satisfied with the services offered through BayREN Business and team,” Phanphanit said.  “This program saves you money and that’s a good thing.”    

Since the launch, 40 businesses across the nine Bay Area counties have completed upgrades. The estimated annual savings from these upgrades is 914,473 kilowatt-hours (kWh), equivalent to powering 91 houses for an entire year. Most upgrades so far have involved lighting and refrigeration; however, the upgrades are tailored to the business’ needs. 

Businesses that have utilized the program include restaurants, auto shops, retail stores, beauty salons and more. By leveraging the BayREN Business program, businesses like Thai Food Express not only enhance their energy efficiency and reduce costs but also contribute to a more sustainable community and environment.  

To learn more about the BayREN Business program and submit an interest form, visit