Solar Builder

MAR-APR 2018

Solar Builder focuses on the installation/construction of solar PV systems. We cover the latest PV technology (modules, mounting, inverters, storage, BOS) and equip installers/contractors with tips and tools to make informed purchasing decisions.

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16 M A R C H / A P R I L 2 0 1 8 MOUNTING NEW IN your pain Ease If only interconnection was as simple as the system installation sometimes. For example, the 40-acre, 5-MWac Wadesboro Solar Farm in North Carolina you see here is the result of a project that took more than a year to get approved. The big challenge was a change Duke Energy made to its interconnection poli- cies in 2016, making the process way more difficult. For this project in particular, O2 had to work closely with legal and regula- tory authorities, as well as with engineers to demonstrate why the Wadesboro Solar project should be allowed to interconnect to the electrical grid. The pitch turned into an educational opportunity and community discussion though as O2 EMC met with neighbors of the prospective site, town and county offi- cials and other local stakeholders in the summer of 2016 to present the project and answer any questions. The stakeholders started to understand the benefits. But more than the conversations, O2 EMC was committed to sourcing local workers and local equipment. North Carolina contractor E8 Energy Group was hired to manage the construction and at least 80 percent of the workforce came within a 30-mile radius of this project. Finally the case was made, and the inter- connection was approved. The Wadesboro Solar project order was placed in September 2017 with the first delivery on Oct. 4, 2017. Mounting System: Schletter G-Max For O2 EMC, working with North Carolina manufacturers was a big factor in its procurement choices. "Whenever possible we source equip- ment and labor from North Carolina," said Kelly Hendley with O2 EMC, which has worked with Schletter since 2011. "We chose the G-Max product because both pricing and ease of installation were driv- ing forces on this project." The G-Max Ground Mount System is Schletter's next generation fixed-tilt rack- ing ideally suited for utility-scale installa- tions, and has exceptional ease-of-assembly in the field. In fact, the G-Max system's installation is so simple that a single person can install the girder, head adapter and strut without assistance (see steps on the right). Schletter pre-assembles 30 percent of the components prior to shipment, which allows installers to unfold and connect the structure more easily on site. Schletter also increased adjustment capability in the field, increased spans between foundations and reduced the amount of hardware needed. A major design feature integrated into G-Max is a reduction in the purlins required to secure PV modules. Traditional mounting systems use four purlins, while G-Max requires only three without the need for additional cross bracing or cross rails. The result is a reduction of material handling by 25 percent, increased spans, reduction of foundations and consequently lower project installation costs. G-Max also comes with a 20-year limited warranty. "In a short amount of time, our contrac- tor was able to install and construct the Wadesboro Solar G-Max system hitting a key placed in-service milestone for the project," Hendley says. "We are excited to continue our partnership with Schletter on future projects and have moved on to our next G-Max installation currently under- way." The Wadesboro Solar Farm officially went online Dec. 28, 2017, and is expected to increase property tax revenue for Anson County by more than 98 percent. Chris Crowell is managing editor of Solar Builder . O2 EMC uses a simplified new racking design for a complicated project By Chris Crowell

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