MBL-Energy is now pre-certified for solar carport installs at California schools

MBL Energy carport

MBL-Energy has received the first California Division of State Architects (DSA) pre-check certification issued under the newly released 2016 CBC compliance. This certification will enable MBL-Energy to quickly move forward on the design and construction of parking canopies for California public schools and other public works by reducing the permitting approval time from up to one year down to five weeks, potentially saving schools thousands of dollars in energy costs during the process.

MBL-Energy says this certification came through because it was the first to pass cyclical testing and meeting the rigorous project and safety requirements set forth by DSA. An integral component of the new and existing DSA pre-check certification is the approval of MBL-Energy’s patented UL-certified Beacon Clip, an enhanced solar module attachment. Developed by MBL-Energy CEO Robert Laubach, the UL-certified Beacon clip uses proprietary technology that enables a more efficient and safe installation process on solar arrays. With a higher safety rating than required by the DSA, the Beacon Clip is ideal for carports on school campuses and related public work structures.

“Earning the first pre-check certification in California from the DSA based on the current and new guidelines is the culmination of months of planning, hard work and coordination between MBL engineers, third party testers and inspectors,” Laubach said. “The use of our Beacon Clip was an important safety factor in securing approval of both our earlier pre-check certification and the certification under the new DSA guidelines. The pre-check certification enables us to streamline the design and construction of carports for school districts and other public work structures and can result in significant utility bill savings.”

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The DSA oversees construction projects on California K–14 campuses by providing plan review and approval, and construction oversight of projects, in response to applications from California school and community college districts. DSA updates project pre-check qualifications based on current building code applications to meet standards agreed upon by a number of internal and external partners.

“Solar developers that receive DSA PC approval basically have structural permits, resulting in a significantly shorter project permit approval time than a non-certified project,” said Inspector of Record representative Fred Wasinger. “I have worked with MBL-Energy for 10 years on numerous projects of various sizes and scopes. Their depth of understanding of DSA is something that sets them apart from other contractors, and they consistently provide unparalleled and exacting work to our school districts.”

To date, MBL-Energy has successfully completed 350 MW of solar projects across California, of which 180 were DSA projects. This includes recently announced projects across six schools in the Santa Rita Union School District in Salinas, California, that integrates one megawatt of solar PV with 1.1 MWh of Sharp’s SmartStorage energy storage systems to form solar plus storage microgrids, and with the Fontana Unified School District (FUSD) in San Bernardino County.

— Solar Builder magazine

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