Project Profiles

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Eaton installed three PV systems at its facilities in 2012 as part of its corporate sustainability initiative. The installation at its Beaver, Pennsylvania, circuit breaker manufacturing plant is the largest of the three systems and is currently the largest solar installation in western Pennsylvania.

Eaton developed the Beaver project in collaboration with Tangent Energy Solutions of Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, which arranged financing through a PPA. Eaton selected Tangent based on its experience with complex, large industrial energy systems, and Tangent is responsible for monitoring and maintaining Eaton’s solar assets over the lifetime of the installation. Eaton’s Power System Engineering team was responsible for system design, while Eaton’s Project Operations team executed the turnkey construction in compliance with local utility requirements.

At the Beaver facility, in addition to working closely with the community and the local utility, the Eaton teams exercised knowledge of local utility codes and requirements to ensure approval by local AHJs. For example, the utility required metering upgrades at the plant prior to installing the PV system. Eaton team members transitioned the facility from two separately metered utility feeds to a single net meter to satisfy the utility’s requirements.

The team installed the array in an unused parking lot located approximately 1,500 feet from the circuit breaker manufacturing plant. Installers used driven piles in conjunction with a ground-mount racking system manufactured by RBI Solar, allowing quick and efficient installation. The PV system required overhead and underground power cables to connect to the facility’s utility service. The utility permitted overhead transmission cables, but the cable installation required coordination with and approval from the utility because it owned the existing parking lot lighting. The utility also required an underground connection with a new medium-voltage line to route the power cables across the street to the facility.

The Eaton inverters are aggregated in a 480 Vac panelboard before connecting to a 480 Vac/2,300 Vac step-up transformer. The medium-voltage side of the transformer is connected to a 450 A, 5 kV Eaton medium-voltage switch prior to connecting the PV array to the facility. The medium-voltage cables run under the street to the overhead power lines. The feeder cables then transition to conduit routed through the building to the point of common coupling. The PV system connects to the existing utility service conductors through a new Eaton DHP medium-voltage vacuum circuit breaker.

For demonstration purposes, the team also installed an operational Eaton 1,000 kW inverter at the Beaver site. The utility-scale inverter design features a single close-coupled, direct-bussed connection to a pad-mounted step-up transformer. The direct connection enables a skidless inverter station configuration that reduces installation time and increases overall system efficiency. The arrays that feed three of the Eaton 250 kW inverters each have a recombiner that the team can switch to run the 1 MW demonstration inverter.

“Eaton received tremendous support and cooperation from the local utility, the township and nearby residents throughout the project. The PV installation at the Beaver plant demonstrates Eaton’s commitment to sustainability and the extensive capabilities of our photovoltaic services and solutions.”

Toni L. Fidanzato, Eaton Project Operations

Overview

DESIGNERS: Dave States, William Vilcheck and Jaska Tarkka, Eaton Electrical Engineering Services & Systems, eaton.com

PROJECT MANAGER: Toni L. Fidanzato, Eaton Project Operations

DATE COMMISSIONED: December 2012

INSTALLATION TIME FRAME: 4 months

LOCATION: Beaver, PA, 40.7°N

SOLAR RESOURCE: 4.2 kWh/m2/day

ASHRAE DESIGN TEMPERATURES: 88°F 2% average high, -4°F extreme minimum

ARRAY CAPACITY: 1.33 MWdc

ANNUAL AC PRODUCTION: 1,642 MWh

Equipment Specifications

MODULES: 5,544 Motech MTPVp-240-MSB, 240 W STC, +5/-3%, 8.1 Imp, 29.8 Vmp, 8.6 Isc, 37.3 Voc

INVERTERS: 3-phase 2,300 Vac service point of connection, five Eaton Power Xpert Solar 250, 250 kW, 600 Vdc maximum input, 300–500 Vdc MPPT range

ARRAY: 14 modules per source circuit (3,360 W, 8.1 Imp, 417.2 Vmp, 8.6 Isc, 522.2 Voc), 5–20 source circuits per combiner, 75–87 source circuits per inverter, 1.33 MWdc array total

ARRAY INSTALLATION: Ground mount, RBI Solar GM-I racking, 180° azimuth, 20° tilt

SOURCE-CIRCUIT COMBINERS: 45 Eaton ESC1´24FRS Switched Combiners (35 at 200 A, 10 at 400 A), 15 A fuses

ARRAY RECOMBINERS: One Eaton AC12200R Array Combiner (200 A), two SolarBOS RC-05/6-400-N3 ReCombiners (400 A)

SYSTEM MONITORING: Custom monitoring, customer specified

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This custom home, constructed by Prull Custom Builders, is located in a neighborhood with strict homeowner association rules that limit the visibility of solar arrays and exclude ground-mount PV installations. To complicate matters, the home design includes a rooftop deck that provides stunning views, but limits the amount of roof space available for modules. PPC Solar worked closely with the project’s architects to design a visually attractive array composed of roof- and awning-mounted modules installed on the dwelling’s attached garage and workshop.

Using Google SketchUp, PPC Solar created a model of the home, including the rooftop deck and the proposed solar array. The model views corresponded to the eye-level height of the homeowner to verify that the array would not obstruct the mountain views. The designer then dropped the model into Google Earth to show the nearby terrain.

PPC Solar placed the roof attachments, and a local roofing company sealed them as part of the new roof construction, maintaining the roof’s warranty. PPC Solar installed six of the array’s 24 Kyocera modules on the front of the garage and workshop.

Installers located the Fronius inverter outside, adjacent to the main fused disconnect for the 400 A utility service. The inverter’s ac output circuit runs underground to the garage where the main distribution panel is located. PPC Solar made the  utility point of connection on the load side of the panel.

“Taking care of the aesthetic aspects of the array from the beginning really helped us plan the actual installation. Once we knew how it needed to look, the installation went very smoothly. The homeowners and architects are very pleased with the end result.”

Daniel Weinman, PPC Solar

Overview

DESIGNER: Daniel Weinman, president and CEO, PPC Solar, ppcsolar.com

LEAD INSTALLER: Chris Lopez, PPC Solar

DATE COMMISSIONED: August 2011

INSTALLATION TIME FRAME: 6 days

LOCATION: Santa Fe, NM, 35°N

SOLAR RESOURCE: 5.8 kWh/m2/day

ASHRAE DESIGN TEMPERATURES: 88°F 2% average high, -9°F extreme minimum

ARRAY CAPACITY: 5 kWdc

ANNUAL AC PRODUCTION: 7,995 kWh

Equipment Specifications

MODULES: 24 Kyocera KD210GX-LPU, 210 W STC, +5/-0 W, 7.9 Imp, 26.6 Vmp, 8.58 Isc, 33.2 Voc

INVERTER: Single-phase 240 Vac service, one Fronius IG Plus 5.0-1 UNI, 5 kW, 600 Vdc maximum input, 230–500 Vdc MPPT range

ARRAY: 12 modules per source circuit (2,520 W, 7.9 Imp, 319.2 Vmp, 8.58 Isc, 398.4 Voc), two source circuits total (5,040 W, 15.8 Imp, 319.2 Vmp, 17.2 Isc, 398.4 Voc)

ARRAY INSTALLATION: Membrane roof, low-slope roof and awning mounts, Unirac SolarMount racking, 180° azimuth, 35° tilt

SYSTEM MONITORING: Fronius Personal Display

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In June 2012, Stellar Energy commissioned a 960 kW roof-mounted PV system that provides clean energy for James Cameron’s Lightstorm Entertainment production studio. The Lightstorm team wanted to make a significant statement by powering 100% of the filming and production of the Avatar movie sequels with solar energy. Installed at the MBS Media Campus in Manhattan Beach, California, the system required close cooperation between Lightstorm; the property owner, the Carlyle Group; and the property manager, Raleigh Studios.

Stellar Energy worked with Lightstorm Entertainment to determine the amount of energy the Avatar franchise would consume over a 5-year production period based on the facility’s historical energy consumption, which included the energy used to produce the first film. Stellar Energy designed the system, which utilizes 3,692 Yingli Solar 260 W modules and three Solectria SGI central inverters, to generate a projected 1,667 MWh annually. The system will allow the filmmakers to achieve their goal of producing 100% solar-powered Avatar sequels.

The 212,481-square-foot array is distributed over three buildings. The barrel roofs presented a design challenge requiring Stellar Energy to develop a unique penetrating racking system that fans over the roof surfaces. The adjustable racking system conforms to the curve of the buildings’ roofs and minimizes the impact of the roof surfaces’ varying heights.

The custom-designed racking system was economical and easy to install. The majority of the system utilizes self-tapping Tek screws that do not require pilot holes—the tip of the screw drills a hole before the threads engage with the mating structural member. Stellar Energy minimized the number of required mounting penetrations by connecting two rows of racking using long C-channel beams. Instead of the typical two rows of penetrations (front and rear) for each row of modules, the system that Stellar Energy developed has three rows of penetrations (front, center and rear) for every two rows of modules. This design resulted in a 25% reduction in the total number of roof penetrations.

Working at a busy studio that was in full production during the PV system installation required accommodating the client’s security, privacy and noise restriction policies to minimize disruption. To eliminate any unwanted noise on the roof, installation crews would stop and start on different roof sections as the studio directed. The racking system’s design helped meet the client’s requirement to avoid noise pollution inside the studio.

An additional design complication was the limited ground space available for the three Solectria central inverters. To maintain the studio’s limited parking spaces, Stellar Energy installed one inverter on each of the three roofs.  Make sure to check out Stellar Energy’s video of the project, which includes an interview with James Cameron, at stellarenergy.com/case-studies/commercial-solar/item/lightstorm-entertainment.html.

“The Lightstorm Entertainment project presented us with multiple engineering challenges. There was not a racking system on the market that could accommodate the slopes of the buildings’ barrel roofs. Stellar Energy designed and fabricated a custom racking system with angular beam connections that allowed multiple small arrays to pivot around the roof surface.”

—Chris Pettigrew, Stellar Energy

Overview

DESIGNER: Chris Pettigrew, senior commercial PV designer, Stellar Energy, stellarenergy.com

LEAD INSTALLERS: Jim Nash, project manager, Stellar Energy; Steve Foster, project manager, CSI Electrical Contractors, csielectric.com

DATE COMMISSIONED: June 13, 2012

INSTALLATION TIME FRAME: 113 days

LOCATION: Manhattan Beach, CA, 33.9°N

SOLAR RESOURCE: 5.6 kWh/m2/day

ASHRAE DESIGN TEMPERATURES: 78.8°F 2% average high, 39.2°F extreme minimum

ARRAY CAPACITY: 960 kWdc

ANNUAL AC PRODUCTION: 1,667 MWh

Equipment Specifications

MODULES: 3,692 Yingli Solar YL260C-30b, 260 W STC, +5/-0 W, 8.46 Imp, 30.8 Vmp, 8.91 Isc, 38.6 Voc

INVERTERS: 3-phase 277/480 Vac service, two Solectria SGI 266 (266 kW, 625 Vdc maximum input, 300–500 Vdc MPPT range), one Solectria SGI 300 (300 kW, 625 Vdc maximum input, 300–500 Vdc MPPT range), one roof-mounted inverter per each of three buildings 

ARRAY: 13 modules per source circuit (3,380 W, 8.46 Imp, 400.4 Vmp, 8.91 Isc, 501.8 Voc), 9–12 source circuits per combiner; eight combiners each for SGI 266 inverters, nine combiners for SGI 300 inverter; 960 kWdc array total

ARRAY INSTALLATION: Penetrating roof mount, 3-ply Class A built-up roof, custom racking system, 180° azimuth, 15° tilt

ARRAY COMBINERS: 25 Bentek Solar Basic 200 A, 15 A fuses

SYSTEM MONITORING: DECK Monitoring with weather station

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The germ of the idea for the Solar Battle of the Bands first came to Johan “Respect the Roof” Alfsen in 2010. After booking a San Francisco gig for his band, Wave Array, that coincided with Intersolar, Alfsen discovered that he was not the only solar professional with a passion for music. He subsequently reached out to industry colleagues to explore options for organizing a networking event featuring live music.

Together with Christie “Rise & Shine” McCarthy, Alfsen founded and produced the first-ever Solar Battle of the Bands (SBOB) in 2011, which is now held annually on the Wednesday of Intersolar NA. Decidedly under the radar in its first year, the SBOB was nevertheless a huge success, blowing the doors off a 500-person–capacity venue. In 2012, the event moved to the capacious (1,200-person capacity) and stylish Mezzanine, a San Francisco venue housed in a historic two-story warehouse, featuring a full bar, a large stage and—most importantly—a professional sound reinforcement system.

The first band to take the stage at the 2013 SBOB was a veteran act, The Voltaics, representing SMA America. Alternately fronted by blues pianist Warren Davis and vocalist Andrea Stapp Holland, The Voltaics leaned heavily on the classic rock genre: “Ain’t Messin’ Round” (Gary Clark Jr.), “Run To You” (Bryan Adams), “Rumor Has It” (Adele), “Gimme All Your Lovin’” (ZZ Top) and “Photograph” (Def Leppard).

The second set featured newcomers Reverend Ray & the Everlasting Incentives representing South Bend, Indiana–based Inovateus Solar. Dressed for success, the rookie act professionally executed a diverse set list: “Taking Care of Business” (Bachman Turner Overdrive), “Fire” (Jimi Hendrix), “Bust a Move” (Young MC) and “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” (The Rolling Stones).

The third act was The Soulmetrics, representing SolarCity. Winners of the inaugural SBOB competition and hungry to reclaim the title, The Soulmetrics presented a popular and up-to-date set list: “Lonely Boy” (The Black Keys), “Little Talks” (Of Monsters and Men), “The Edge of Glory” (Lady Gaga), “(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To” (Weezer) and “Little Lion Man” (Mumford & Sons).

The winners of SBOB Round 3 by audience vote, The Killa Watts, representing Sungevity, took the stage fourth. Showcasing the talents of Colleen “Amazing Pipes” George and Jeff “Slappa da Bass” Cleland—not to mention a five-piece horn section—The Killa Watts aced a funky, butt-bouncing set that was part Motown, part Memphis, part Super Freak and two parts San Francisco Soul: “Dance to the Music” (Sly and the Family Stone), “I Want You Back” (The Jackson 5), “Rock Steady” (Aretha Franklin), “Give It To Me Baby” (Rick James) and “Thank You” (Sly and the Family Stone).

Defending champions Zep the Band closed the show with their patented Zep Groove. Featuring the competition’s only eight-string fan-fret guitar, Zep Solar’s house band put its signature touch on an eclectic set: “Fire” (Jimi Hendrix), “Walking on the Moon” (The Police), “Chameleon” (Herbie Hancock) > “Good Foot” (James Brown) and “Subterranean Homesick Blues” (a funk arrangement including pieces from Bob Dylan and Red Hot Chili Peppers).

“A lot of bands like to fight; it’s in their nature. And when we fight nature, we’re fighting ourselves. That’s why nature demands the Solar Battle of the Bands, man.”

—Governor Jerry Brown* 

*yeah, this is an intentional misappropriation

Overview

LEAD DESIGNER: Johan Alfsen, director of training, Quick Mount PV, quickmountpv.com; see also christiemccarthy.com

CO-PRODUCER: Christie McCarthy, director of marketing, Creotecc, creotecc.us; also christiemccarthy.com

TERRAWATT SPONSOR: Motech Industries

MEGAWATT SPONSORS: AEE Solar, Burndy, Inovateus Solar, SMA America, SunEarth

DATE COMMISSIONED: July 10, 2013

LOCATION: Mezzanine, San Francisco, CA, 37.8°N

SOLAR RESOURCE: Five bands with special amps that go up to 11

The Champions

THE KILLA WATTS (SUNGEVITY):

Andrew Adelman – drums
Chris Connolly – vocals
Colleen George – vocals
Fernando Felix – congas, percussion
Jeff Cleland – bass
Joss Jaffe – guitar
Kelcey Gavar – vocals
Krystian Muroya – trumpet
Misha Balmer – baritone sax
Noah Ginsburg – keyboards
Samuel Hernandez – trombone
Stephanie Smith – flute
Travis Richardson – alto sax
Wyatt Roy – tenor sax

The Contenders

THE VOLTAICS (SMA America):
Andrea Stapp Holland – vocals
Brandi Leathers – vocals
Jurgen Krehnke – guitar
Roy Dynger – bass
Warren Davis – keyboard, vocals
Will Weisbecker – drums
Zhimmithee Banks – vocals

REV. RAY & THE EVERLASTING INCENTIVES (INOVATEUS SOLAR):
Connor O’Sullivan – bass
Elliott Peck – acoustic guitar, vocals
Miki Mihailovic – guitar, vocals
Nathan Vogel – cowbell
Nick Kovach – harmonica, vocals
T.J. Kanczuzewski – keyboards, vocals
Tyler Kanczuzewski – drums

THE SOULMETRICS (SOLARCITY):
Brian Cilenti – guitar, vocals
Cameron Brigham – bass
Carl Moren – keyboard, trombone
Katherine Van Zalen – vocals, guitar
Lizzie Caldwell – tenor sax
Nate Walker – vocals, guitar
Nick Duffy – drums
Rodrigo Calvo-Leni – trumpet

ZEP THE BAND (ZEP SOLAR):
Christina Manansala – vocals
Daniel East – vocals
Daniel Flanigan – guitar, ukulele, vocals
David Therien – drums
Jack West – custom guitar, vocals
Liz Mead – vocals
Mike Miskovsky – guitar, bass, vocals
River Broussard – guitar, vocals
Sarah Hill – vocals

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The Village of Oak Park, Illinois, in partnership with Solar Service, commissioned one of the largest municipally owned PV systems in the state in April 2012. The 99.5 kW array is installed on the sixth floor of the Avenue Parking Garage and will offset approximately 20% of the garage’s energy consumption, which includes electric vehicle charging stations.

Due to the array’s location, Solar Service gave heightened design consideration to public safety and protecting the array from damage. The designers considered pole mounts and cantilevered carport type racking systems, but the moment reactions of these rack designs would have required structural reinforcement of the garage. Ultimately, the team chose a canopy racking system using a custom galvanized steel frame.

The 50-ton steel rack is anchored to the elevated structural support columns, which keeps the racking system’s posts away from vehicles and snowplows. The aesthetics of the array played a large role in the final design, which blends nicely with the existing structure. Solar Service designed two gaps into the array to allow for expansion and contraction, and to provide access points for maintenance.

The system has a distributed design with 12 string inverters located in a conditioned space within the garage. This approach streamlines the system installation, facilitates future maintenance, and provides the desired inverter-direct monitoring granularity. Due to the size constraints of the main fused switch and bus, the system is interconnected to the supply side of the switch, which allows for up to 400 A, well below the combined inverter ac output.

“For commercial system designs, we prefer at least two inverters so that performance can be compared and production issues easily assessed via remote or on-site monitoring. The SMA America Sunny Boy inverters were a great fit for this application.”

—Garrison Riegel, Solar Service

Overview

DESIGNER: Garrison Riegel, senior system designer, Solar Service, solarserviceinc.com

LEAD INSTALLER: Matt Bart, foreman, Solar Service

DATE COMMISSIONED: April 27, 2012

INSTALLATION TIME FRAME: 50 days

LOCATION: Oak Park, IL, 41.8°N

SOLAR RESOURCE: 4.1 kWh/m2/day

ASHRAE DESIGN TEMPERATURES: 91°F 2% average high, -11°F extreme minimum

ARRAY CAPACITY: 99.5 kWdc

ANNUAL AC PRODUCTION: 110 MWh

Equipment Specifications

MODULES: 390 SolarWorld Sunmodule SW 255 mono, 255 W STC, +5/-0 W, 8.15 Imp, 31.4 Vmp, 8.66 Isc, 37.8 Voc

INVERTERS: 3-phase 277/480 Vac service, six SMA America SB 8000-US (8 kW, 600 Vdc maximum input, 300–480 Vdc MPPT range), six SMA America SB 6000-US (6 kW, 600 Vdc maximum input, 250–480 Vdc MPPT range), single-phase inverter output balanced across 3-phase service

ARRAY: 13 modules per source circuit (3,315 W, 8.15 Imp, 408.2 Vmp, 8.66 Isc, 491.4 Voc), three source circuits per SB 8000-US inverter (9,945 W, 24.45 Imp, 408.2 Vmp, 25.98 Isc, 491.4 Voc), two source circuits per SB 6000-US inverter (6,630 W, 16.3 Imp, 408.2 Vmp, 17.32 Isc, 491.4 Voc)

ARRAY INSTALLATION: Custom steel canopy, IronRidge XRS rails, 180° azimuth, 5° tilt

ARRAY COMBINERS: 12 SolarBOS Compact Combiners, 15 A fuses

SYSTEM MONITORING: DECK Monitoring with weather station and cell temperature sensors, inverter-direct monitoring via SMA Sunny Portal

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The San Miguel Power Association (SMPA) Community Solar Farm allows SMPA members to purchase modules installed in the system and receive credit on their monthly power bill for the energy that the modules generate. The innovative project was a collaborative effort. Clean Energy Collective (CEC) pioneered a community solar model that facilitates member ownership of collectively owned medium-scale solar generation facilities, and functioned as the project developer. Martifer Solar acted as the primary contractor and was responsible for construction financing and product procurement. Sunsense Solar led the design, engineering and construction efforts for the project.

The remote 9.27-acre site presented several challenges. The gently rolling landscape would have required major, and costly, excavation to create level array pads. To minimize site preparation costs, a “table wave” strategy was employed with varying subarray sizes that allowed the array to follow the site’s contours smoothly. Large areas of bedrock and layers of gypsum required precise alignment and ramming of anchor piles. With repeated wear and tear during construction, the gypsum layer over much of the site turned to a fine dust that complicated working conditions. The team left sagebrush ground cover on-site to stabilize the soil.

The project utilizes two Hanwha SolarOne module models that were  manufactured in different locations (China and South Korea) and that have slightly different dimensions and electrical specifications. These differences required specific module and array grouping for source-circuit sizing and racking. Final array tables range from 4-by-7 to 4-by-13 module layouts.

The designers selected an AE Solar Energy PowerStation 1000NX for power conditioning. The skid-mounted station includes two 500 kW inverters and a 1,000 kVA transformer that steps down the utility’s 25 kV service to 480 Vac. A 15 kVA service-center transformer feeds a 100 A 120/240 Vac single-phase 3-wire switchboard. The PowerStation also includes two metering cabinets, two communications cabinets and a 2,000 A switchboard with two 800 A backfeed breakers. A weather station is mounted to the shade structure that covers the inverters, transformers and switchgear.

Sunsense Solar worked with AE Solar Energy to make adjustments to the skid layout to accommodate the monitoring and metering equipment that SMPA and CEC require. CEC’s proprietary RemoteMeter system automatically calculates monthly credits for project members and integrates with the utility’s existing billing system.

The remoteness of the site required special attention to mobilization, staging, security and scheduling, as well as adequate secure storage for a large inventory of PV components, spare parts, tools and machinery. The diverse group of contractors and organizations that participated in the project included subcontractors, electrical inspectors, county officials, the Colorado Department of Transportation and the utility. Meeting schedules and milestones became a prime consideration for on-time project completion.

“In spite of 100-plus-degree heat to below-zero temperatures, dry desert wind to rain and snow, the construction crew brought the project home in a timely fashion. In the face of these adverse conditions, the crew maintained a safe and secure site and an amazing attention to detail.”

—Scott Ely, president, Sunsense Solar

Overview

PROJECT DEVELOPER: Clean Energy Collective, cleanenergycollective.com

PRIMARY CONTRACTOR: Martifer Solar, martifersolar.com

DESIGNER: Jeff Lauckhart, lead PV designer, Sunsense Solar, sunsensesolar.com

LEAD INSTALLERS: Mark Item, project manager, Sunsense Solar; Levi Heinold, site supervisor, Mountain Power Company

DATE COMMISSIONED: December 2012

INSTALLATION TIME FRAME: 120 days

LOCATION: Paradox Valley, CO, 38.5°N

SOLAR RESOURCE: 6.0 kWh/m2/day

HIGH/LOW DESIGN TEMPERATURES: 100°F/-23°F

ARRAY CAPACITY: 1.1 MWdc

ANNUAL AC PRODUCTION: 1,731 MWh

Equipment Specifications

MODULES: 4,784 total; 1,170 Hanwha SolarOne HSL60P-PA-0-235K, 235 W STC, +5/-0 W, 7.89 Imp, 29.8 Vmp, 8.51 Isc, 37.1 Voc; 3,614 Hanwha SolarOne SF220-30-1P235L, 235 W STC, +5/-0 W, 7.81 Imp, 30.1 Vmp, 8.44 Isc, 36.8 Voc

INVERTERS: AE Solar Energy PowerStation 1000NX: two AE 500NX-HE inverters (500 kW, ±600 Vdc maximum input, ±330–±600 Vdc operating range), 1,000 kVA 25 kV/480 V transformer, 15 kVA service-center transformer

ARRAY: Bipolar; 13 modules per source circuit (for Hanwha SolarOne SF220 model: 3,055 W, 7.81 Imp, 391.3 Vmp, 8.44 Isc, 478.4 Voc); 13–19 source circuits per combiner; 368 source circuits total; array total (1.12 MW, 1,429 Imp, ±391.3 Vmp, 1,562 Isc, ±478.4 Voc)

ARRAY INSTALLATION: Ground mount, driven piles, S:Flex racking, 180° azimuth, 35° tilt 

ARRAY STRING COMBINERS: 24 SolarBOS Disconnecting Combiners, 15 A fuses

SYSTEM MONITORING: Clean Energy Collective proprietary wireless monitoring, San Miguel Power Association wireless metering

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In the fall of 2012, Power-One teamed up with ProVision Solar to beta test the new Power-One Aurora MICRO system. ProVision Solar had an ideal candidate: a retired US Navy lieutenant commander who was eager to be the first in his state to have Power-One microinverters installed at his residence. The beta site is located in a coastal environment on Hawaii’s Big Island.

The 32-module array is split across two roof surfaces, one facing east and one west. The array is mounted flush to the corrugated metal roofing with stainless steel headless hanger bolts that are fastened to the roof system’s purlins. Up to 15 Aurora microinverters can be wired in parallel per branch circuit. Power-One’s ac trunk cables are installed along the racking system, and drop cables connect the microinverters to one of three ac branch circuits. Homerun wiring was laid in PVC conduit due to the site’s corrosive coastal environment.

One challenge with this beta installation was integrating Power-One’s Conversion Data Device (CDD) datalogger with the system. The CDD can support data input from a maximum of 30 modules, which meant the system required two units. One major benefit of the Power-One microinverter system is that data communication between the microinverters and the datalogger is wireless. However, the site’s metal roof interfered with communications. Relocating the CDD’s antenna closer to the array increased the signal strength between the micros and the datalogger and solved the issue. During beta testing, ProVision worked with Power-One to make improvements to the monitoring system’s graphical display.

“We are very excited to be leading the charge here in the Aloha State with Power-One micros. We have installed seven additional Aurora MICRO systems to date.”

—Marco Mangelsdorf,  ProVision Solar 

Overview

DESIGNER: Marco Mangelsdorf, president, ProVision Solar, provision-solar.com

LEAD INSTALLER: Matt Kleinfelder, crew chief, ProVision Solar

DATE COMMISSIONED: November 2012

INSTALLATION TIME FRAME: 4 days

LOCATION: Hilo, HI, 19°N

SOLAR RESOURCE: 4.8 kWh/m2/day

HIGH/LOW DESIGN TEMPERATURES: per Solar ABCs solar reference map: 84°F/59°F

ARRAY CAPACITY: 7.8 kWdc

ANNUAL AC PRODUCTION: 9,490 kWh

Equipment Specifications

MODULES: 32 SunPower SPR-245NE-WHT-D, 245 W, +5/-3%, 6.05 Imp, 40.5 Vmp, 6.43 Isc, 48.8 Voc

INVERTERS: Single-phase, 240 Vac service; 32 Power-One Aurora MICRO-0.25-I-OUTD-US-208/240, 250 W, 65 Vdc maximum input, 25–60 Vdc full power MPPT range, 15 inverters per ac branch circuit maximum

ARRAY: One microinverter per module, three ac branch circuits, 7.8 kWdc total

ARRAY INSTALLATION: Metal corrugated roofing, flush mount, Professional Solar Products racking; 18 modules at 90° azimuth, 10° tilt; 14 modules at 270° azimuth, 10° tilt

SYSTEM MONITORING: Power-One Aurora Vision wireless data monitoring with EasyView web portal

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Cathartes Private Investments and Nexamp teamed up to develop, build, finance and operate the 4.5 MWdc Westford Solar Park. The installation is located on a portion of a 115-acre industrial site, 27 miles northwest of Boston. The project was conceived in 2009 to take advantage of the then-new Massachusetts Solar Carve-Out Program, which required retail electricity suppliers to include solar generation in their Massachusetts retail power sales starting in 2010.

As one of the first multimegawatt ground-mounted projects in Massachusetts, the Westford Solar Park faced several developmental challenges, including interconnection requirements and local permitting processes. When the team submitted the initial interconnection application in December 2009, it recognized the importance of expediting the lengthy permitting process in parallel with the utility work. The team proactively engaged local municipal authorities early in the development phase, including the conservation commission, the planning board and the building, electrical and fire departments. As a result, the project was as far along in the development cycle as possible when the interconnection agreement was finally executed in the fall of 2011.

The design process involved collaboration between the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) team, the asset management team and the project finance team to balance low up-front cost, minimum operational costs and maximum performance based on the unique features of the site. The site has forested wetlands, which limit the acreage that is free from shading and available for construction. In addition, the former quarry has varying subsurface fill conditions that do not provide the homogenous support necessary for a driven-pile system. As such, the optimal design was a ballasted ground-mounted system.

In the spring of 2011, Nexamp began to complete the work necessary to reconfigure portions of the 1800-era quarry into array pads. The site required filling, grading, compacting and slope stabilization to achieve long-term stability while reliably managing storm water. After completing the two array pads, the crew installed underground conduits and inverter pads prior to overlaying the array areas with the geotextile fabric required to provide structural support, workability during construction and long-term weed inhibition. A 2-inch layer of compacted, crushed stone completed the overlay prior to installing the arrays.

Nexamp constructed the solar project in phases using an assembly-line process whereby site work continued in areas behind active installation sites. The first phase passed AHJ inspections in January 2012 and came online in March after a delay due to infrastructure upgrades that the local utility required to interconnect the project. The second phase came online in September 2012.

The project’s point of interconnection is at the utility’s 22.9 kV transmission lines. To accomplish this, the team connected each of the four inverter banks through dedicated 3-phase, 2,000 A, 480 V switchgear and one 1,000 kVA, 23 kV/480 V pad-mounted step-up transformer. Power transmission cabling is routed underground and overhead approximately one-half mile to the point of common coupling. The utility meters the production of each inverter bank individually.

“The Westford Solar Park characterizes the successful integration of responsible land reuse, cost-effective solar design and implementation, community involvement and financing with local partners.”

Will Thompson, SVP, Nexamp

Overview

DESIGN AND INSTALLATION FIRM: Nexamp, nexamp.com
DATE COMMISSIONED: Phase 1 (3.3 MW), January 2012; Phase 2 (1.2 MW), September 2012
INSTALLATION TIME FRAME: 12 months
LOCATION: Westford, MA, 42.3°N
SOLAR RESOURCE: 4.3 kWh/m2/day
HIGH/LOW DESIGN TEMPERATURES: per Solar ABCs solar reference map: 90°F/0°F
ARRAY CAPACITY: 4.5 MWdc
ANNUAL AC PRODUCTION: 5,190 MWh

Equipment Specifications

MODULES: 15,785 Suntech STP290-24/Vd, +5/-0%, 8.15 Imp, 35.6 Vmp, 8.42 Isc, 45.0 Voc
INVERTERS: 3-phase, 277/480 Vac service; 12 Advanced Energy PVP250kW, 250 kW, 600 Vdc maximum input, 295–595 MPPT range; two Solectria Renewables SGI 500, 500 kW, 625 Vdc maximum input, 300–500 Vdc MPPT range; inverters interconnected at 22.9 kV via 1,000 kVA, 23 kV/480 V Delta Wye pad-mounted transformers
ARRAY: 11 modules per source circuit typical (3,190 W, 8.15 Imp, 391.6 Vmp, 8.42 Isc, 495 Voc), 15 source circuits per combiner (for AE PVP250kW inverters: 47.9 kW, 122.3 Imp, 391.6 Vmp, 126.3 Isc, 495 Voc), six combiners per inverter (287.1 kW, 733.8 Imp, 391.6 Vmp, 757.8 Isc, 495 Voc)
ARRAY INSTALLATION: Ballasted ground mount, PanelClaw Panda Bear racking, 180° azimuth, 20° tilt (Phase 1), 10° tilt (Phase 2)
ARRAY STRING COMBINERS: Phase 1: 79 Cooper Crouse-Hinds Disconnecting Solar Combiner, 15 A fuses; Phase 2: 28 Teal Electronics TEALsolar Disconnecting Configurable Combiner Box, 15 A fuses
SYSTEM MONITORING: Deck Monitoring, four individual data acquisition systems with modem and Columbia weather station monitoring module temperature, ambient temperature and irradiance

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In December 2012, LightWave Solar commissioned a ground-mounted PV system at the University School of Nashville’s (USN) Athletic Campus. Potential sites for the array were constrained by a Tennessee Valley Authority easement for high-voltage electrical lines and an extensive irrigation system for the campus’s athletic fields. The array’s location within a flood plain added further complications.

To resolve permitting issues related to the flood plain, LightWave Solar worked closely with the Metro Nashville Codes Enforcement agency. The agency required the modules and power conditioning equipment to be installed 12 inches above the 100-year flood elevation. To meet these requirements, LightWave Solar specified an elevated array structure utilizing Unirac’s U-LA racking system.

The array’s location resulted in a 900-foot ac transmission distance to the point of interconnection. A REFUsol 024K-UL inverter was chosen due in part to its 3-phase 480 Vac output. The string inverter’s high-output voltage, coupled with the use of direct-burial ac cabling, minimized the cost of the ac transmission run. USN’s Athletic Campus grounds-keeping staff provided the excavation and trenching for the array installation.

USN plans to monitor system data in various science programs, and the project team was concerned about the lack of readily accessible Internet access for system monitoring. They used a cellular modem fed via direct-burial Cat 5 cable from the inverter to provide Internet connectivity.

“The staff at USN was wonderful to work with. The campus was in full use when the installation took place, and Bret Mash at USN was a huge help with on-site coordination during this busy time on campus.”

John Tickle, LightWave Solar

Overview

DESIGNERS: JP Plumlee, solar sales consultant, and Dan Stroh, PV design engineer, LightWave Solar, lightwavesolar.com
PROJECT MANAGER: John Tickle, project manager, LightWave Solar
LEAD INSTALLER: Chris Jader, lead solar technician, LightWave Solar
DATE COMMISSIONED: December 12, 2012
INSTALLATION TIME FRAME: 10 days
LOCATION: Nashville, TN, 36.2°N
SOLAR RESOURCE: 4.9 kWh/m2/day
HIGH/LOW DESIGN TEMPERATURES: per Solar ABCs solar reference map: 93°F/5°F
ARRAY CAPACITY: 24 kWdc
ANNUAL AC PRODUCTION: 30,015 kWh

Equipment Specifications

MODULES: 100 Canadian Solar CS6P-240P, 240 W STC, +5/-0 W, 8.03 Imp, 29.9 Vmp, 8.59 Isc, 37.0 Voc
INVERTER: 3-phase, 277/480 Vac service; one REFUsol 024K-UL, 23.2 kW, 500 Vdc maximum input, 125–450 Vdc MPPT range
ARRAY: 10 modules per source circuit (2,400 W, 8.03 Imp, 299 Vmp, 8.59 Isc, 370 Voc), 10 source circuits total (24 kW, 80.3 Imp, 299 Vmp, 85.9 Isc, 370 Voc)
ARRAY INSTALLATION: Ground mount, Unirac U-LA racking, 149° azimuth, 25° tilt
ARRAY STRING COMBINER: Inverter integrated, 15 A fuses
SYSTEM MONITORING: Inverter-integrated datalogger, REFUsol REFUlog monitoring platform

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Mariani Packing Company wanted to install a solar electric system at its Vacaville, California, packing facility because it is fiscally sound and environmentally responsible. Now instead of just relying on the sun for plums, apricots, blueberries, apples and other fruit, the company also harvests clean, green electricity.

groSolar partnered with MP2 Capital and SunEdison to design and construct the system. One of the biggest design challenges was fitting the PV array, working around easements, underground utilities, drainage ditches and property line constraints. Blue Oak Energy provided electrical engineering services. Thompson Technology Industries (TTI) designed the single axis tracking system, which resulted in a 12% increase in energy production over a 30° fixed tilt system.

Installed on seven acres of land owned by Mariani, the 1.1 MW grid-tied PV system is expected to supply about 23% of the facility’s electrical needs. The system cost nothing to Mariani, which purchases its solar electricity under a solar power services agreement at longterm predictable rates equal to or less than retail prices.

"The fast installation and our financing partners' quick acceptance were proof of the quality of groSolar's design/build construction management approach, which resulted in the lowest cost and highest quality. We chose TTI, for example, for their durable product, competitive price and ability to drive down our installation costs. The SunSeeker Tracking System not only has robust design and construction, but also was quick and efficient to install."

Jeff Wolfe, CEO, groSolar

 

Overview

DESIGNER: Brian Browning, commercial project engineer, groSolar, groSolar.com
PROJECT MANAGER: Frank Griffin, VP of construction, groSolar
DATE COMMISSIONED:December 3, 2008
INSTALLATION TIMEFRAME: 90 days
LOCATION: Vacaville, CA, 38.3º N
AVERAGE SOLAR RESOURCE: 5.5 kWh/m2/day
RECORD LOW/AVERAGE HIGH TEMPERATURE: 16º F / 96º F
ARRAY CAPACITY: 1.11 MW
STC AVERAGE ANNUAL AC PRODUCTION: 1,795 MWh

Equipment Specifications

MODULES: 5,835 Evergreen Solar ES-190, 190 W STC, +2.5%/-2%, 7.12 Imp, 26.7 Vmp, 8.05 Isc, 32.8 Voc
INVERTERS: 3-phase, 480 Vac system, 4 SMA Sunny Central SC 250U, 250 kW each, 600 Vdc maximum input, 300–600 Vdc MPPT range.
ARRAY: Four 1,440–1,470 module subarrays: 15 modules per string (2,850 W, 7.12 Imp, 400.5 Vmp, 8.05 Isc, 492.0 Voc), 96–98 strings per inverter (273.6–279.3 kW, 683.5–697.8 Imp, 400.5 Vmp, 772.8–788.9 Isc, 492.0 Voc)
ARRAY INSTALLATION: SunSeeker Single-Axis Tracker system from Thompson Technology Industries, 68 rows with five tracking drive motors.
ARRAY COMBINER: 64 ReadyWatt combiner boxes
SYSTEM MONITORING: SunEdison Energy and Environmental Data System (SEEDS)

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