Largest landfill solar project in Maryland completed by EDF Renewables, Solar FlexRack

solar flexrack landfill maryland

Led by national engineering, procurement and construction firm EDF Renewables Distributed Solutions, this 18.1 MW dc facility, known as the Annapolis Renewable Energy Park, is located in Anne Arundel County, Maryland and is the largest solar project on a closed landfill in the state. The project is owned by a subsidiary of Building Energy, was developed by BQ Energy, a company specializing in landfill and brownfield renewable energy projects, and used Solar FlexRack racking to complete the job.

The Annapolis Renewable Energy Park is remarkable for its size and complexity. The enormous facility spans 80 acres and was completed in mid-2018. The solar energy park will generate enough clean energy to power more than 12 percent of the city’s homes annually. In addition to gaining the reassurance of fixed, lower-cost clean energy for its clients and partners, the city is estimated to receive more than $250,000 annually by leasing the property to Building Energy.

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Building a renewable energy project on top of a capped landfill is an intricate project, and the expertise of racking provider Solar FlexRack proved invaluable for EDF Renewables. Unable to drill piles into the landfill’s protective membrane cap, Solar FlexRack utilized B3P-X pre-cast fixed tilt racking foundations for the more than 54,000 solar panels.

“Solar FlexRack’s expertise in this important niche market makes the company a perfect partner for landfill projects,” said Jamie Resor, CEO, EDF Renewables Distributed Solutions. “We are pleased to work with a firm that can provide the precise, high-quality product required to execute our vision for the Annapolis Renewable Energy Park.”

“EDF Renewables’ deep experience and technical capabilities make them an extraordinary leader in the field,” continued Steve Daniel, Executive Vice President of Solar FlexRack. “It was a pleasure to collaborate with them on the park, and we look forward to the next partnership opportunity.”

Solar FlexRack offers ballasted solar racking solutions for sites challenged with penetration, weight and other regulatory restrictions. The selection and quality of their products provide a wider choice for solar project engineers to design optimal performance into their solar systems.

— Solar Builder magazine

Solar industry leaders launch new initiative to automate solar project permitting

solar permitting red tape

A big issue still holding back the U.S. solar industry in areas around the country is cumbersome and inconsistent permitting and inspection processes. This is an issue we covered in-depth in “Shadow Costs,” the cover feature of our Sept./Oct. issue. With the support of industry leaders, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and The Solar Foundation are kicking off Solar Power International week by unveiling the Solar Automated Permit Processing (SolarAPP) initiative, which they say will streamline permitting and slash the cost of solar installations.

Today, the permitting and inspection process adds about $7,000 in direct and indirect costs, approximately $1.00 per watt, to a typical residential solar energy system. In addition to reducing the expense of solar installations, SolarAPP improves the efficiency of going solar by creating a rules-based, automated permitting and inspection process.

“The goal is to make solar permitting more straightforward, and more routine, while at the same time maintaining the safety and reliability that U.S. solar projects are known for,” said SEIA’s president and CEO Abigail Ross Hopper. “SolarAPP will cut unnecessary red tape, while saving Americans thousands of dollars. By making the process of going solar more efficient, both our companies and their customers win.”

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“Reforming the solar and battery permitting process is one of the most significant steps our country can take to making solar more affordable for all,” said Lynn Jurich, CEO of Sunrun. “There is a patchwork of inconsistent permitting procedures and standards across the U.S. and our customers pay the high costs of navigating this system. We have an opportunity to help the industry invest in a million more solar roofs over the next 5 years from the savings by making the permitting process faster, while ensuring safety and reliability for all.”

The following reforms are involved:

• A safety and skills training and certification program that allows residential and small commercial solar and battery storage installers to attest that their projects are compliant with applicable codes, laws, and industry practices, thus eliminating the need for a traditional multi-step permitting process;

• A simple, standardized online platform that will be provided to local governments at no cost, to “register” and automatically screen qualifying systems for local government authorities;

• A list of established equipment standards and/or certified equipment for solar and storage projects installed through the proposed process;

• The creation, or refinement, of system design standards for qualifying solar projects;

• A model instantaneous permitting regime for home and small-commercial solar and battery storage systems installed by certified installers and contractors;

• A program administrator to oversee and implement the plan, including providing technical assistance to state and local jurisdictions and utilities.

“An automated solar permitting process will reduce unnecessary costs and give Americans more freedom to choose how they meet their energy needs,” said Andrea Luecke, president and executive director at The Solar Foundation. “With this plan, we have a clear path forward to make solar installations even more affordable and widespread.”

The solar industry is working with stakeholders across the industry and government, seeking feedback on SolarAPP.

— Solar Builder magazine

Esdec enters U.S. solar market to change C&I rooftop mounting

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Esdec, a leading European solar rooftop mounting solutions provider, is making its debut in the U.S. market this week at SPI (Booth 378). With more than 1.8 GW of installed capacity and leading market share in several European countries, the company brings 14 years of solar mounting and racking innovation and experience to the U.S. solar community.

Esdec’s initial U.S. product offering is the FlatFix system, a lightweight, clickable solar mounting system for flat roofs. Featuring a 20-year warranty and UL certification, FlatFix’s innovative design enables rapid assembly, allowing commercial installers to significantly reduce installation times compared to other systems in the market.

Esdec’s Atlanta-based U.S. subsidiary will be led by Bart Leusink, a seasoned executive with more than 25 years of management and executive experience. Bart has significant experience in and familiarity with the U.S. solar market, having served for seven years as president and CEO of Renusol America.

The FlatFix system

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FlatFix’s racking components, including bonding straps, are assembled by snapping into a locked position without the need for tools. The rails click together easily and quickly to form an interconnected, solid structure. Complete module installation requires just one tool and minimal parts, while power optimizers can be attached via snap-on clips in a matter of seconds.

Using self-levelling baseplates, FlatFix is available with ballasted and hybrid attachment options. The flexible system can be oriented in a traditional south-facing direction or in a dual-tilt orientation. FlatFix’s materials and design compensate for thermal effects, reducing potential heat-induced degradation of the PV modules and protecting the integrity of the roof.

Esdec is also introducing its ClickFit product to the U.S. market. A lightweight, fully adjustable rail-based racking system, ClickFit can be used on various types of pitched residential and commercial roofs. FlatFix and ClickFit are both UL-certified Class A fire-rated, having achieved top-of-class fire mitigation for Type 1 and 2 PV modules.

— Solar Builder magazine

Sunflare debuts new lightweight PV solutiont for parking structures

sunflare carport vegas

Sunflare is a light, thin, rugged solar system that is changing the residential solar roof concept and ready to do the same for parking structures. Sunflare modules are lighter than silicon, so they can go where other solar can’t. That means there’s no need for heavy steel replacement, which is required with traditional solar. This also means there’s no dusty structure demolition and removal. The net result is minimal disruption or displacement of tenants, customers, and employees.

The additional benefit of not having to construct a new parking structure is that there’s no potential hassle with new code compliance—which sometimes requires changes to parking lots—an additional project that can be disruptive, time consuming and costly in and of itself.

Look for the solar parking retrofit presentation at Solar Power International booth 2482.

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Unlike traditional solar panels that are covered in glass, Sunflare modules are more rugged because the Sun2 cells are encapsulated between durable polymer sheets. So often you see mangled car port roofs where high profile trucks misjudge the height and crush the frame. If that happens with silicon panels on the carport, the accident is likely to damage the solar panel as well. With Sunflare, the panel will flex as the roof is bent. The damage is limited to the structure and not the energy system.

In addition, Sunflare modules have bypass diodes at every cell. When trees or other structures shade areas of a parking cover, only the cell that is shaded becomes inactive. The remainder of the panel continues to generate power.

Installation is fast and easy. With Sunflare’s mechanical attachments, modules can be added on any structure with no time wasted with racking or cumbersome staging. Installation is quick, and secure. Sunflare modules do not require chemical adhesion. That means Sunflare works on any profile of metal or any other material.

Sunflare modules have a 25-year linear production, 25-year workmanship warranty.

— Solar Builder magazine

Canadian Solar’s new BiHiKu module is a 400+ watt bifacial PV module

Canadian Solar BiHiKu

Canadian Solar is unveiling a new module at Solar Power International (booth 1604) that combines three innovative solar PV technologies in one new 400+ Watt module: the latest black silicon, poly PERC, and bifacial cell technologies. Called BiHiKu, this new poly solar module generates 400 Watts or more on the front, plus up to 30 percent additional power generation from the back side, increasing system yield and reducing the Levelized Cost of Electricity (LCOE). The company believes that BiHiKu is the first poly bifacial module exceeding 400+ Watt nominal front side power.

BiHiKu is perfect for large commercial or utility-scale solar installations, particularly where a high reflection ground or surface under the module creates high albedo, contributing to high back side yield. The product will be available in 2019 and pre-production orders are being accepted now.

“As Canadian Solar continues on the forefront of solar module innovation, we are proud to introduce BiHiKu as the next step in maximizing the lifetime value of your solar assets.” said Dr. Shawn Qu, chairman and chief executive officer of Canadian Solar. “Solar systems using BiHiKu will be able to break away from the pack and score high on low LCOE, making many seemingly impossible low PPA solar projects possible.”

— Solar Builder magazine