SunSpark to be the main solar module manufacturer for the 3 In 1 Roof solar system

3 in 1 roof solar panel

The 3 In 1 Roof solar integrated roofing system is reaming with SunSpark Technology Inc. as their module manufacturer for all introductory sales and installations.

Although their name is new in North America, it’s not new to the solar industry. SunSpark’s parent company Yiheng Science & Technology Ltd. is based out of Qinhuangdao, China, and has been in the solar panel manufacturing equipment business for more than 20 years. SunSpark’s CEO Sunny Zhang is a business woman with deep roots in the solar industry since the early 1980s.

Both companies will work in tandem to produce up to 3-MW of integrated solar roofs throughout 2019 and up to 280 MW by year ending 2024. The two companies plan on creating hundreds of direct USA and Canada manufacturing jobs.

What is the 3 In 1 Roof?

3 IN 1 ROOF systems retro-fit any residential or commercial slope roof top regardless of the structure’s load bearing capacity. Couple that fact with Class-AA fire rating (self-extinguishing), Class-AA wind rating (200+ mph resistance), Class-AA impact rating (spot-repetitive strike protection), Class-AA solar-gains (zero heat transference into attic area), lifetime roof-tile warrantee, 30-year solar cell warrantee, technology agnostic removable and upgradable solar modules. The 3 In 1 Roof is making a play to be the most efficient, easy-to-install residential solar system design.

Installations for 2019 are no longer available, but new USA and Canada orders will be assigned to 2020.

— Solar Builder magazine

Top roofing manufacturer launches GAF Energy to focus on solar products, installs

GAF Energy

Standard Industries, the world’s largest roofing and waterproofing manufacturer launched a new company to meet the growing demand for rooftop solar. This new company, GAF Energy, will drive scalable adoption of integrated and affordable rooftop solar solutions across GAF’s established distribution network. Customers will benefit from a streamlined, turnkey approach to going solar when selecting GAF Energy, from planning and financing, to installation and permitting with utilities.

“As the largest global player in roofing and waterproofing, we will reshape the way clean solar energy becomes a reality for everyone,” said David Millstone, co-CEO of Standard Industries. “We believe that roofing is real estate and we see a future with energy from every roof. GAF Energy’s offerings will empower people to put their roofs to work with technology that is attractive, accessible and affordable.”

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GAF Energy empowers roofing contractors across the U.S. with a comprehensive and economical approach to solar installations, bypassing the high-cost of customer acquisition most pure solar technology companies face today. With dedicated support teams and training for project management, design, permitting and installation of GAF Energy’s integrated solar roofs, local and regional contractors can effectively grow their businesses while meeting demand for more clean and sustainable sources of energy.

“We are best positioned to accelerate the growth of residential solar with over a century of waterproofing experience and the largest network of roofing distributors and contractors in the world. Our team is in the kitchen with the homeowner at the moment a new roof is required: the most perfect time to provide the opportunity to go green. We couldn’t be more excited to have Martin DeBono and a world class team lead the evolution of rooftop solar for years to come,” said David Winter, co-CEO of Standard Industries.

“GAF Energy capitalizes on the historic challenges facing the rooftop solar industry – acquisition and installation costs – and turns them into demonstrable strengths – making it easy for customers to say ‘yes’ to solar rooftops,” said Martin DeBono, President of GAF Energy. “Our product is smart, integrated and economical, and we hope it will mark a fundamental shift in rooftop solar adoption around the world.”

— Solar Builder magazine

SolarRoofHook continues to evolve, rebrands as QuickBOLT


In response to the housing crisis of 2008, Quickscrews launched its first ever non-woodworking division: SolarRoofHook. Its team helped lead the charge to build a new market in solar residential mounting hardware.

In 2012, the company’s received a patent for its QuickBOLT, securing ownership of the technology. Seven years later, it has gained acceptance in the industry and become one of the fastest growing solar mounting products in the nation. The QuickBOLT is installed without lifting shingles and features the innovative Microflashing technology. You can read all about it in our Residential Rooftop Report from last year.

Another update is now in store as Quickscrews International Corporation announced it is changing the name of it Solar Division from SolarRoofHook to QuickBOLT.

“We will still be providing the superior service and quality products that you’re accustomed to and we are committed to making solar more affordable for all,” the company stated.

Check out its new website:

— Solar Builder magazine

Pile On: Horne Brothers Construction explains the dramatic growth of its solar division


The Horne Brothers solar division operates more than 35 pile drivers with the Vermeer PD10 pile driver representing the majority of its fleet.

The solar division of Horne Brothers Construction is hitting its stride in today’s hot market. Based in Fayetteville, N.C., the division has expanded from around 30 employees to over 400 in just three years. The highly specialized company handles everything from driving piles and installing racking and modules to land clearing and erosion control.

“Many of the companies we work for started in the solar industry around the same time we did, and as their needs expanded, so did our services,” explains Tom Kosto, EVP of solar for Horne Brothers. “They’re working on multiple projects all over the country and by virtue, so are we.”

Keeping busy in Texas

While Horne Brothers have projects happening all over the country, Texas has been the hotbed of activity for the company over the last two years. Kosto says last summer his team was working near Sherman, Texas, constructing five new solar farms that produce approximately 75 MW. This year, Horne Brothers is working around Sherman, Greenville, Waco, Wallace, Warren and Beasley.

“We’re working our way toward Houston, and when we wrap up the last one, we’ll have completed 100 MW in 2018 in Texas alone,” Kosto adds.

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The majority of the work is being done for the same customer, Cypress Creek Renewables. As one of the nation’s leading utility and community-scale solar companies, Cypress Creek Renewables has worked on more than 250 projects and has 2.3 GW of solar facilities currently deployed across the United States. The company is responsible for developing, financing, constructing and operating each of the facilities. The relationship Horne Brothers has formed with Cypress Creek Renewables has proven to be advantageous for both companies as well as the communities where each project is being located.

“Cypress Creek Renewables continues to grow, just like we do, but the number of jobs created doesn’t stop there,” Kosto says. “Each project has a need for local labor during construction, and sustainable new revenue streams are created in every community. Solar is a huge win for everyone involved.”

Equipment driving efficiency

Texas isn’t the only place that Horne Brothers has crews working. The company’s workforce is spread out across the nation, working at 30 different solar farm sites. In 2017, Horne Brothers installed 800 MW across 5,600 acres, and at presstime was on track to do more in 2018.

To get all of the work done, Horne Brothers rely on specialized teams to perform different phases of the job. A land-clearing crew is usually the first team in on most new jobs. They are responsible for clearing brush and trees. After the perimeter is cleared, the next team comes in with dozers and graders to verify the site has proper drainage and controlled erosion. Once that phase is complete, construction of the racking can begin.

“Driving the piles can be a pretty involved process,” Kosto explains. “For example, on the average 14-MW site, we’ll have to drive approximately 4,500 piles into the ground, and the spacing between each one has to be exact. Our team has it down to a science. In fact, it’s one of the fastest phases of any job.”

The Horne Brothers solar division operates more than 35 pile drivers with the Vermeer PD10 pile driver representing the majority of its fleet.

“To be efficient at this phase of the project, we prefer to have between two and six units on any given job,” Kosto says. “The Vermeer PD10’s compact design allows us to get multiple units on a trailer, which helps cut our transportation costs and saves time.”

On the jobsite, Kosto says the Vermeer pile driver’s operator controls, auto plumb and GPS integration are essential to his pile driving team’s efficiency.

“These features make it much easier for our people to get on and off a job faster and with precision when it comes to spacing the racking. In turn, that makes our racking crew’s job go more smoothly. They don’t have to worry about pile spacings being off,” he says.

The efficiencies of Horne Brothers’ pile driving team and equipment has allowed them to pick up extra jobs in the areas where they already have crews working.

“We tend to do everything on a project, except for electrical work,” Kosto says. “But there are also a lot of solar companies that hire out different contractors to perform each part on a job. We keep the Vermeer PD10 pile drivers working on those types of projects as well. We put a lot of hours on them, and they stand up well. They are also compact and lightweight compared to other pile drivers on the market, which makes a difference when transporting them and helps to minimize ground disruption on the job.”


Divide and conquer

Breaking each solar project into phases and using separate crews to complete the work has helped Horne Brothers work efficiently.

“It’s important for each team to understand every step of building a solar farm, but each crew member doesn’t need to know how to do all of the tasks involved on a project,” Kosto says. “Using multiple crews on a job allows our people to be more focused which has helped ensure we’re delivering a quality end product for customers, cost-efficiently and as quickly as possible. This approach is a big reason why we do so much repeat business with our public utility and commercial solar customers.”

Another contributing consideration for Horne Brothers overall efficiency is the equipment manufacturers that they choose to do business with, with the dealer networks being a primary factor in those decisions.

“While solar is going strong right now in Texas, North Carolina and South Carolina, there are many other states that we have crews working in, which is why it’s so important to choose equipment that has support, wherever we go,” says Kosto. “Also, since many solar farms are installed in rural areas, we need equipment partners that can support us even in more remote parts of a state. We get that from Vermeer and its dealer network. No matter where our crews are working, we know we’ll receive a high level of service and parts support.”

Predicting the future

While the present marketplace for solar energy is bright, tariffs and the phasing out of tax credits is a significant concern for the people that make their living in solar. Kosto explained Horne Brothers has experienced 40 to 50 percent growth year after year for the last three years but is concerned that market uncertainties may impact projects in the future.

“Many of the solar farms we’re constructing today have been in the works for a year or two,” Kosto says. “For the industry to continue to grow, there needs to be stability in its future, and that means being able to keep costs in check. Our process and the equipment we use has helped us operate lean and efficiently, but material pricing could impact solar energy production costs soon, which could reduce solar energy as being as successful as it is today for energy companies.”

Kayla Breja is the senior product marketing specialist – Utility & Productivity Tools for Vermeer Corp.

— Solar Builder magazine

RPCS turns to TerraSmart ground screws on challenging Nebraska solar tracker project

RPCS Array tracker Nebraska

RPCS partnered with GenPro Energy Solutions and the City of Atkinson to build a 209-kW solar array in Nebraska on a particularly challenging site. The city formerly used the Atkinson-owned site for fill, a place where soil, trees, and debris were brought then covered with dirt. This created embedment depths up to 30 feet — three times the norm — which would need longer than normal I-beams that would add significant costs for construction and material. Moreover, loose soil and debris could cause refusal of the post for a regular piledriver.

The City of Atkinson also wanted a tracked system that could provide enough energy to offset the energy consumption of their Water Treatment Plant. Through NPPD’s Buy-Sell Solar Rider, Atkinson can create long-term cash flow for the city through the production of solar energy.

Project developer GenPro Energy Solutions, which specializes in municipal solar development throughout the Midwest, brings design and custom energy solution integration expertise to the project while RPCS helped drive a creative solution to a complex engineering issue.

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The solution was to use the DuraTrack HZ v3 single-axis solar tracker by Array Technologies, supplied by RPCS. Array’s mounting technology ensured up to a 20 to 25 percent increase in energy production over fixed-tilt systems. RPCS designs and installs Array tracker systems throughout the country, with hundreds of projects completed to date in the utility and distributed generation markets.

RPCS nebraska solar project

To overcome the embedment issue, the project features TerraSmart‘s ground screw foundation posts, a seamless solution to the challenging nature of the site’s subsurface conditions. TerraSmart and Array solar trackers were integrated for the first time on this project, a partnership forged with the help of RPCS. TerraSmart’s ground screws have a better ability to resist uplift than I-beams in loose soil and can drill into debris, reducing upfront construction costs and eliminating subsurface risks.

“This project is a great example of how teamwork, engineering, and innovative solutions can help overcome site challenges and result in the most efficient design for all parties involved. GenPro’s value engineering, Array’s superior grade tolerance, and TerraSmart’s unique foundation posts all allowed for a system that will maximize power production for the City of Atkinson,” says RPCS Sales Director Dylan Wraga. “There were underground challenges that TerraSmart’s solution was well suited to, and combined with Array’s reliable architecture this system will be producing clean power for many years to come.”

— Solar Builder magazine