Watch: EcoMen Solar constructs PV system to offset tenant loads at this New Jersey plaza

EcoMen Solar completed a 75.6 kW PV system for Poet’s Square Plaza in Freehold, N.J. The installed solar systems for this property take care of the common load as well as the tenant load for multiple buildings. In this case, there are 4 distinct systems installed on 3 of the buildings. The buildings chosen were those optimally oriented for solar energy systems. Being the systems are owned by the property owner, all incentives can be fully realized and the electrical savings directly reduce the expense structure for this property in their portfolio. EcoMen went with Silfab Solar Panels and SolarEdge inverters.

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Due to the properties stated zone, there were multiple paperwork processes and township meetings necessary to gain AHJ approval from all relevant township offices. In order to ensure the successful outcome for all parties, EcoMen Solar worked very closely with Poets Square Associates, LLC and the Township of Freehold Planning Board over the course of 11 months. Special considerations were given throughout the process to guarantee a fully functioning system that also satisfied all township obligations.

— Solar Builder magazine

Community solar insight: This industry brief cuts through the collective confusion

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The U.S. Community solar is on a steep, upward trajectory and does not show any signs of slowing down. Community or shared solar offers an opportunity for customers also referred to as subscribers, who either cannot or simply do not want to install solar at their homes or businesses, to receive credits on their clean energy bill. These type of programs enable customers to either purchase solar energy or invest in solar assets who otherwise would not be able to due to inadequate roof space, lack of a strong credit score, not owning a home, etc.

Whether you are a developer, an owner of community solar projects, or even just a participant, there are a lot of benefits to engaging in such projects. Community solar enables access to solar for all. Businesses and homeowners can have equal access to the environmental and economic benefits of solar energy in a trouble-free manner, particularly for low-to-moderate income customers, which form a large portion of the US households.

Community solar business models continue to evolve to cater to the needs of both customers subscribers, utilities, etc. Identifying the optimal model and what it takes to succeed in this budding market can be challenging and at times confusing. This industry brief aims to cut through some of this confusion by providing a bird’s-eye view over the main existing models, drivers of success, as well as considerations for investors and asset owners.

Join the pre-eminent Solar Asset Management North America 2019 conference, taking place in the high-powered and ambitious city of San Francisco on March 26-27, to get all the insights to help you navigate through the complexities associated with community solar.

— Solar Builder magazine

Five takeaways from the Solar Installer Survey from EnergySage, NABCEP

solar installer survey

Results of the fourth annual Solar Installer Survey from EnergySage and NABCEP are now available. Here are the five takeaways that most stood out to us from the responses of 870 residential and commercial installers across the country.

● Consumers demand Tesla as storage installations rise: According to installers, more than one in three solar shoppers are also interested in a home battery, resulting in more solar-plus-storage installations in 2018. However, responses also illustrate a gap between consumer brand preference and what installers stock. While over 55% of installers reported that their customers specifically request Tesla battery solutions, only 12% of solar installers surveyed actually carry and quote the Tesla Powerwall.

● Installer confidence in the industry continues to rise: Nationwide, more than half of the installers surveyed indicated that they’ve grown more confident in the solar industry in the last twelve months. At the state level, installer confidence rebounded in New York and California as governors in those states pushed for 100% renewable futures.

Don’t miss our Solar Installer Issue in March — subscribe to Solar Builder magazine (print or digital) for FREE today

● Installers choose growth over margins: For the fourth straight year, a growing majority of installers (67%) stated that gaining market share is more important to their business than increasing the gross margins of each installation. When combined with the falling price of equipment, this finding signals the solar industry is likely on a path of increased competition.

● For the third year in a row, the top challenge reported in closing sales was confusion and lower consumer confidence created by competitors. Nearly half of all installers surveyed identified this as a major obstacle. Interestingly, customer hesitation created by utility and regulatory uncertainty leap-frogged the high cost of installation to become the second most common challenge in closing sales in 2018.

● In 2017, around ten percent of installers indicated that they planned to add energy storage and electric vehicle (EV) charging to their offerings in 2018. In fact, in 2018 the percentage of installers offering energy storage increased by 6% while the percentage offering EV charging products increased 8%, nearly achieving installer plans from 2017. This year, an additional 8% and 9% of installers say they will add EV charging and energy storage, respectively, to their new product offerings in 2019.

EnergySage fielded this survey between December 17th, 2018 and January 18th, 2019. Read the full report right here.

 


roof top reportDownload the new Residential Rooftop Report to heat up your solar sales

The Residential Rooftop Report for the first quarter of 2019 is now available for download. The theme is “Heating Up Sales,” and we’ve teamed up with report sponsor Aurora Solar to examine ways for residential solar installation companies to lower customer acquisition costs, close more leads and overall run a more streamlined, efficient local solar business. Just fill out the form below to access your free report.



















— Solar Builder magazine

PV panel provider Solaria just doubled its global production capacity

Solaria

Solaria Corp., a global provider of high-performance solar panel and systems technologies, today announced that Solaria has started shipping PowerXT panels from SHINSUNG E&G’s (011930 KS) production facilities, doubling Solaria’s global production capacity.

“We’ve been seeing so much demand for our PowerXT panels that it has been a challenge to keep up,” said Solaria CEO Suvi Sharma. “We’re proud to be working with SHINSUNG E&G to meet this demand. SHINSUNG E&G is an established and highly respected leader in our industry, and has proven it shares Solaria’s commitment to manufacturing excellence.”

“Shinsung E&G is proud to be producing Solaria PowerXT panels,” said Dong-Seop Kim, President, Renewable Energy Business, SHINSUNG E&G. “The combination of Solaria’s patented technology with SHINSUNG E&G’s manufacturing expertise yields an unbeatable combination of an elegant streamlined look and industry-leading efficiency.”

Solaria’s Pure Black PowerXT solar panels, using advanced cell interconnect and module production processes, significantly boosts power generation and provides outstanding performance with unmatched aesthetic appeal.

— Solar Builder magazine

PV Pointer: Safety tips for rooftop solar panels in snow country

aceclamp

If you are installing solar panels in the northern half of the United States, there are a few winter safety precautions you need to take to prevent potentially dangerous situations.

Traditional residential asphalt shingle roofs have a high coefficient of friction that helps to hold rooftop snow accumulations in place until the snow gradually melts and is gone. However, solar panels have a smooth surface that can result in a very sudden slide of snow in quantities large enough to cause severe damage to anything or anyone below. One of the most economical ways to prevent a snow avalanche is to install a snow retention system or snow guards.

Snow guards aren’t new. Used frequently to stop snow from suddenly falling off the slick surfaces of metal roofs, snow guards are now offered in a variety of styles and types and are available for almost every kind of roofing material. The most effective snow guards consist of brackets that attach to the roof near the eave and support a bar or multiple bars running parallel to the eave across the length of the roof. Snow guards can also be installed over a walkway, doors or delicate shrubs and are available in both bar or rail types. Regardless of the style selected, the layout and specifications should be designed to meet your local snow load requirements.

Having a snow retention plan created along with the PV panel plan will help maximize rooftop space and also determine the height necessary for the snow retention system to hold back the snow sliding off the array. A trained designer will take into account the local building code snow loads, roof pitch and roofing surface materials to best plan and design the solar array placement along with the snow retention system. They’ll also consider whether your PV panels need to be installed with a railed racking system or as a rail-less system, and what the distance from the top of the PV panels to the rooftop will need to be.

Local fire code requirements for positioning the solar array on the roof should be reviewed, and you will need to allow space for emergency personnel to access the rooftop in case of a fire or other disaster. Some jurisdictions mandate a specific, clear distance between the array and the eave and valleys of adjacent roof sections, often 3 ft or more. Discuss the impacts of installing a snow rail within that distance to your customer.

Questions to consider

  1. As the solar installer, do you have a recommended snow retention system?
  2. Will it be adequate for all your homes or buildings?
  3. Will you need more than a single row installed at the eaves to hold back the snow or should the array be designed to allow an intermediate row part way up the roof?
  4. There are a number of manufacturers of snow guards. Has the snow guard manufacturer you have chosen had experience with solar arrays in high snow?

A customer’s decision to invest in a quality solar array should also determine whether a snow retention system should be part of the installation. If chosen wisely, the solar and snow retention systems will serve together for many years.

Caroll Marston is a sales engineer for AceClamp.


roof top reportDownload the new Residential Rooftop Report to heat up your solar sales

The Residential Rooftop Report for the first quarter of 2019 is now available for download. The theme is “Heating Up Sales,” and we’ve teamed up with report sponsor Aurora Solar to examine ways for residential solar installation companies to lower customer acquisition costs, close more leads and overall run a more streamlined, efficient local solar business. Just fill out the form below to access your free report.



















— Solar Builder magazine