Standard Solar to build, own 2.5-MW PV array for Maryland park system

Standard Solar

Standard Solar has been selected by Montgomery Parks, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), to construct, own and operate the 2.5-MW combined ground-mount arrays at South Germantown Recreational Park and Rock Creek Regional Park.

The 3,978 panel, 1.32 MW array at South Germantown Recreational Park is expected to be completed in December of this year. Rock Creek Regional Park will feature a 1.173 MW ground-mount array with 3,456 solar panels and is expected to be completed in early 2018. The system takes advantage of aggregate net metering—whereby municipal, non-profit, agricultural custom-ers can offset energy use at any of their meters with solar located remotely on a single meter—and is expected to provide power for multiple park facilities.

Both arrays are being built simultaneously and will use local contractors and labor, creating local jobs in Montgomery County.

SB Buzz Podcast: Standard Solar CEO talks trade case, Gaz Metro deal, new tech at SPI 2017

When completed, the combined arrays will produce about 3,500,000 kWh of solar electricity annually, thereby offsetting 2,877 tons of greenhouse gases yearly.

“These projects represent another great example of counties and municipalities reaching sustainability goals and enhancing their financial bottom line by taking advantage of installing solar on unused land,” said Scott Wiater, president & CEO, Standard Solar. “We applaud Montgomery County and MNCPPC for their unwavering commitment to sustainability and these projects.”

Standard Solar financed the projects through a long-term power purchase agreement and will own, operate and maintain the systems.

— Solar Builder magazine

Creative installations: Three solar project designs with aesthetics in mind

With the right customer, a new PV system can be more than just a way to reduce an electric bill and even become an aesthetic calling card. As we prep our Project of the Year issue, we thought we’d share a few of these concepts.

New Hope Community Church

Palomar Solar PV design

Installed in Chula Vista, Calif., this is believed to be the first design of its kind. Palomar Solar came up with the idea to use black on white panels for the design of the cross and black on black panels to frame it. The church was very excited and did not reveal what we were up to too the rest of the congregation including the Pastor until the install was completed. Palomar used LG modules, SolarEdge inverters and Everest mounting systems to complete the job.

Guido & Companies

Freedom Solar Power

Freedom Solar Power recently designed and installed a one-of-a-kind project for Guido & Companies Inc. that uses solar panels to spell out the word “GUIDO” on the building’s rooftop and doubles as creative aerial advertising.

Guido Construction Company and Guido Building Materials Company are located right next to the San Antonio International Airport, so people flying into or out of the airport get a prime view of the company’s large solar panel “billboard.”

The 85-kW project is comprised of 260 SunPower modules, will meet than 60 percent of Guido’s energy needs, and will pay for itself in less than 4.6 years.

There were significant space issues that made installation very technical, according to Freedom Solar’s lead designer Josh Meade. The roof’s tilt changes on the left and right sides of the building, which required two separate arrays on the main part of the rooftop project where the word “GUIDO” appears. Freedom Solar also had to install a third array on the other side of the building to increase the number of panels and reach the desired kilowatt-energy production.


The project features 327-watt high-efficiency solar panels SunPower, which are the most efficient available today and unmatched in reliability with an expected useful life of more than 40 years. Freedom Solar is a SunPower Master Dealer, the only company with that distinction in Texas.

The Solar Labyrinth

solar labyrinth

solar labyrinth project

solar labyrinth PV

Solar Labyrinth was commissioned by Dr. Allan Berger of Bright Eyes and Bushy Tails Veterinary Hospital in Iowa City, Iowa, and designed and fabricated by Anthony Castronovo. The project was an outgrowth of a 40-kW solar installation on the roof of the building. The goal of the project was to design a creative solar sculpture that would add to the visual presence of solar power at the site while also creative an exciting work of public art. The ancient Greek myth of the Minotaur became a focus of discussion and the Labyrinth form was the resulting physical embodiment of this ancient story. Each of the 14 panels on the interior of the structure have a different animal surrounded by a sine wave pattern to reference the path of the sun. A Minotaur sculpture will eventually be added to the center of the labyrinth to complete the project.

— Solar Builder magazine

Maine’s largest solar array now operational

The largest solar array in the state of Maine is now fully operational at the Madison Business Gateway.

Madison Electric Works (MEW) is a municipality-owned utility in Madison, Maine that serves 2,500 residential, commercial and industrial customers located in Madison and three neighboring towns. MEW contracted with IGS Solar, a turn-key commercial and residential solar provider, in an effort to help the utility integrate solar energy while helping to better control long-term energy costs for their customers. IGS Solar financed, and will own and operate the system. MEW will purchase 100% of the power generated through a long-term Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with IGS Solar, which will allow them to utilize on-site generated renewable electricity.

IGS Solar

The system is built on 20+ acres of land, utilizes 16,074 330W panels, and is sized at 4.6MW (AC) which is large enough to power roughly 7,000 homes. The array meets approximately 20% of MEW’s annual needs. Advanced Solar Products designed and managed the installation while sub-contracting with Cianbro. The project was originally developed by Clear Energy, which was then secured by IGS Solar through a public bid process.

According to Calvin Ames, general manager of MEW, the project has met all of their objectives. “It was a priority for us to enlist Maine-based companies where possible, which meant nearly all of the labor involved in the installation was performed by highly skilled individuals living right here in the Pine Tree State. Completion of this solar array allows MEW to continue to contain costs for our residential, commercial, and industrial customers, while also using renewable energy. It’s a win-win,” he said.

MEW will have the opportunity to purchase the system before the end of the 25-year PPA term, if desired.

According to Patrick Smith, vice president of IGS Solar, this is the first project the solar provider has completed in the state. “Opportunities for solar in Maine continue to grow. Working with MEW and the local team to help control area customers’ energy costs using this renewable energy source has been a great success. We look forward to being a long-standing sustainability partner to MEW well into the future.”

— Solar Builder magazine

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, GRID Alternatives partner on grid-tied solar system

Where other industries tried to divide and conquer, the solar industry has made friends. Standing Rock Sioux Tribe member Stephanie Yellow Hammer and her family will benefit from clean, free energy from the sun thanks to a solar electric system installed on her home last week. The project, a partnership between the tribe and national nonprofit GRID Alternatives, is the first grid-tied solar electric system to be installed on the Standing Rock reservation. It was supported by equipment donations from Jinko Solar and Enphase Energy.

Fronius Grid Alternatives

“This project is a great example of what we can do as a nation to implement renewable energies into our communities,” said Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II.

“Our vision and mission is to have more energy independence and less reliance on fossil fuels,” said Fawn Wasin Zi, Acting Energy & Mineral Project Manager for the Tribe’s Reservation Land Management Department. “With the recent NO DAPL protests that have been happening, Standing Rock is really at the forefront of showing other tribes that we’re not going to stand for this anymore and this is what we’re going to do about it.”

Eight volunteers from the community, including two students from the local tribal college, helped install the 6 kW-AC ground mount system. In addition to on-site training, GRID provided a safety orientation and classroom curriculum for the group on how solar works and the economic and environmental benefits of solar.

“Solar power is the future of energy that’s better for the environment,” said Donnie Blevins, Jr., one of the students. “I came out this week to learn about solar so hopefully I’ll be able to install in the future.”

“The reason why I came is for the environment, said Valerie Antelope, a community volunteer. “That’s what I’m fighting for right now is to protect our water, protect our air and our land, do what my dad told me to do, save our environment.”

The solar electric systems is expected to reduce Ms. Yellow Hammer’s electricity bills by 80%. “For us as a one-income family, it’s really going to help us out financially with reduced energy costs. I hope in the future more tribal enrolled members look at solar for their home sites.”

— Solar Builder magazine

West Hills Construction to develop 20-MW of rooftop solar tracker projects

West Hills Construction, a fourth-generation family owned design/build general construction firm, is developing up to 20 MW of commercial and industrial rooftop solar projects utilizing Edisun’s rooftop tracking technology, PV Booster. The first project developed under this partnership is a 1 MW solar array installed on 368,000 square feet of a 528,000 square foot cold storage industrial building in Oxnard, Calif. The project utilizes more than 2,900 trackers, making it the world’s largest rooftop tracker installation.

Edsiun Microgrids_Chiquita_WestHills_Installation

PV Booster is the only dual-axis rooftop solar tracker specifically designed to meet the needs of C&I building owners and solar developers. By tracking the sun throughout the day, Edisun says PV Booster increases energy production by 30 percent and enhances project economics by 20 percent when compared to conventional fixed-tilt installations.

“The West Hills team is dedicated to finding and implementing technologies that meet our impeccable standards for craftsmanship while improving our customers’ bottom lines,” said Rusty Wood, vice president, West Hills Construction, Inc. “Over the last decade we have explored numerous solutions that promise to optimize rooftop solar at the commercial and industrial scale. PV Booster is the only technology actually able to accomplish this objective, and we’re excited to share it with our customers.”


“Partnering with a visionary company such as West Hills, which has built more than 10 million square feet of real estate and is an expert in construction and solar installation, is the first of many exciting growth milestones for Edisun,” said Bill Gross, chief executive officer, Edisun Microgrids, Inc. and founder, Idealab. “PV Booster’s technology fundamentally improves the economics of rooftop solar for developers, installers, building owners, and tenants, which aligns with our core mission to revolutionize the economics of solar. We believe this increase in the value of solar projects, such as Chiquita’s Oxnard installation, will be the catalyst for the widespread adoption of solar in the C&I sector.”

Project commissioning is expected in Fall 2017.

— Solar Builder magazine