Thursday, August 11, 2016

Solar FlexRack to Exhibit at Solar Power International 2016

Youngstown OH, August 11th, 2016- Solar FlexRack™, a division of Northern States Metals and an innovative leader in photovoltaic mounting solutions, is joining a robust list of more than 600 exhibitors at Solar Power International, September 12–15 in Las Vegas, NV.

See the Products
Solar FlexRack’s latest products will be on display at Solar Power International 2016 in the North Hall, Booth #923. Feature products include the G3-x Series FlexRack Series B Cast in Place (CIP), and the FlexRack Turnkey TDP Trackers™.

G3-X Series – The smartest, most cost-effective racking solution with nearly 1.5 GW installed.

FlexRack Series B CIP - The latest, most cost-effective and easily installed Cast-in-Place (CIP) Ballasted ground mount system for PV solar on landfills, brownfields and water-saturated terrain where no, or little soil penetration is allowed.

FlexRack TurnkeyTDP Trackers™  - The only true tracker solution provided with full design, installation, and commissioning services.

To acquaint attendees with the company’s best-in-class Tracker, Racking and Project Services, Solar FlexRack’s world-class team of engineers, field services reps, project managers and executive leadership will be available throughout the show to discuss the features, benefits, and the world-class service that’s synonymous with the name Solar FlexRack.

Schedule an Appointment
To be sure Solar FlexRack’s team has an opportunity to fully discuss your project, or provide detailed information about their tracker and racking products and project services, please schedule an appointment now.

About Solar Power International
One of Trade Show Executive’s Fastest Top 50 honorees for 2014 and 2015, as well as a Gold 100 Show for six years and a TSNN Top 250 trade show, Solar Power International brings together the entire solar industry — from innovative start-ups to well-established solar providers — and more than 15,000 attendees to share insights, innovations, and information.  Registration for SPI 2016 is now open. Discounts are available for members of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and the Solar Electric Power Alliance (SEPA).  

About Solar FlexRack

Solar FlexRack, a division of Northern States Metals, is an integrated solar company that offers custom-designed, fixed tilt ground mount and single-axis tracking systems in the commercial and utility scale, solar mounting industry.  Solar FlexRack also offers full turnkey packages, including engineering, geotechnical, pullout testing, field, layout, and installation services to address the actual site conditions of an installation, providing a full scope of services from design to delivery and installation.  Solar FlexRack has completed more than 1 GW of solar racking installations in 32 states across America and five countries globally.  More information on Solar FlexRack can be found at www.solarflexrack.com

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Clean Footprint Recognized for Providing Jobs and Clean Energy in Maryland, Massachusetts, and Florida

The Solar Power World Top 500 Solar Contractors List includes Cape Canaveral-based solar firm, which scaled to the rank of #107 in 2016 from #477 in 2015 

CAPE CANAVERAL, FL—Solar power is a booming business worldwide, but national installer Clean Footprint is among the companies recently named to an annual and well-recognized list of North America’s top solar contractors. Clean Footprint achieved a rank of #107 out of 500 solar companies, an impressive increase from the rank of #477 in 2015. The firm is also ranked #35 in the segmented list of 2016 Top Solar Contractors who primarily work in the commercial market, another notable increase in ranking from #157 in 2015’s list.

The Top 500 Solar Contractors List is developed by Solar Power World magazine to recognize the work completed by solar contractors across the U.S. and Canada. The companies on the list are growing the economy, providing jobs and offering electricity consumers a choice about how they get their power. The list was released July 26.

 “The companies on this year’s list exude solar-business brilliance, and they deserve to be recognized not only for being great companies but also for how their work positively impacts the environment,” said Kathie Zipp, managing editor of Solar Power World. Solar energy is a renewable resource with great potential to significantly reduce our nation’s greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association, a national solar industry association.

 Clean Footprint installed 8.40 MW of solar in 2015. The company, as a developer, owner and operator of distributed solar arrays, specializes in providing complete solar financing solutions for commercial property owners and was ranked as an applicant for this award according to their influence in the North American industry in 2015.

 Clean Footprint works amid a burgeoning business market. The U.S. solar market is expected to grow 119% this year, according to global research firm GTM Research. While a majority of solar electricity is produced at large, utility-scale solar power plants, the greatest numbers of solar jobs are located with companies like Clean Footprint—firms doing the work to bring clean energy to the public.

 “No one can deny that local companies are supporting the growth of the solar industry and the economy as a whole,” Zipp said. “Our Top Solar Contractors are the face of the industry—meeting homeowners and business leaders on doorsteps every day.”

About Solar Power World 
 Solar Power World (SPW) is the leading online and print resource for news and information regarding solar installation, development and technology. Since 2011, SPW has helped solar contractors—including installers, developers and EPCs in all markets—grow their businesses and do their jobs better. SPW is published by WTWH Media in Cleveland, Ohio.

About Clean Footprint 
Located in Central Florida, Clean Footprint is fully engaged in solar development, financing, EPC, solar monitoring, and the operation and maintenance of mid-sized commercial solar projects and tax-exempt organizations like municipalities, schools and churches. Clean Footprint works together with solar developers to bring solar PV projects to fruition that are reliable, cost effective, and sustainable. For more information, visit http://clean-footprint.com or phone (321) 613-4424.

Case Study: Solar Frontier CIS modules installed on two Indiana utility-scale projects

Located just 30 minutes apart are two of the largest solar power generation plants in their respective counties of Indiana. They make up almost 10% of the total install capacity of the state which was reported at 150 MW in 2015.

Installed with over 84,000 Solar Frontier CIS modules, the two solar power plants were developed by Cypress Creek Renewables (CCR), a national solar energy provider. CCR partners with local communities and utilities to build regional solar farms, thus increasing access to clean energy that is available at or below market costs. The solar projects were both constructed by Vaughn Industries, based in northwestern Ohio. Vaughn, a regional electrical contractor with over 50 years of experience, has installed over 200 MW of solar power projects.

Read the entire Case Study now!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Solar FlexRack Announces Webinar: Insider’s Secrets To Reducing Project Costs Through Racking Services and Solutions

Youngstown OH, May 9, 2016- Solar FlexRack™, a division of Northern States Metals and an innovative leader in photovoltaic mounting solutions, announced today an upcoming webinar the company is presenting on Solar Power World in partnership with Bombard Renewable Energy.

The webinar will be held on Thursday, May 19th, 2016 at 11:30 am EST, 8:30am PST. It is slated to be one hour in length and is titled, “Insider’sSecrets To Reducing Project Costs Through Racking Services and Solutions.”

About the Webinar
Utility-scale and commercial solar project installations can pose unique challenges and the devil is always in the details. During this webinar a leading EPC, Bombard Renewable Energy discusses how they resolved racking and installation challenges. Additionally, the webinar will highlight milestone solar installations and walk through aspects of each, including a 17 MW project that effectively addressed irregular terrain and the protection of a regional endangered species.

Attendees will also gain insight on:

·       How to reduce risks and save money on PV foundation design
·       How this EPC expert dealt with challenging site conditions (including sloping terrain, ground clearance issues, etc.)
·       How services can increase your capabilities and cut costs (value engineering, project management, etc.)

Speakers include: Bo Balzar, Operations Manager for Bombard Renewable Energy, Steve Daniel, Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Solar FlexRack, Brian M. Flood, P.E., Director of Engineering, Solar FlexRack, and Kelly Pickerel, Associate Editor and Moderator for Solar Power World.


About Solar FlexRack
Solar FlexRack, a division of Northern States Metals, is an integrated solar company that offers custom-designed, fixed tilt ground mount and single-axis tracking systems in the commercial and utility scale, solar mounting industry.  Solar FlexRack also offers full turnkey packages, including engineering, geotechnical, pullout testing, field, layout, and installation services to address the actual site conditions of an installation, providing a full scope of services from design to delivery and installation.  Solar FlexRack has completed more than 1 GW of solar racking installations in 32 states across America and five countries globally.  More information on Solar FlexRack can be found at www.solarflexrack.com

For Solar FlexRack media inquiries, please contact:
Jill Hansen 
HansenRE
Tel: +1 925-997-5956

Ryan Petruska
Solar FlexRack
Tel: 330-799-1855

Monday, April 4, 2016

Solar Installers - Get 10% Off Your Next Order

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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Pennsylvania’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard

Pennsylvania has a robust renewable energy market and is part of one of the largest mandated solar photovoltaic markets in the United States, along with the surrounding states of Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey and New York. Each of these states also has large solar photovoltaic requirements in their Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard (AEPS).
The Roots of Pennsylvania Solar
In 2004, the Pennsylvania General Assembly passed a law, AEPS Act 213, which required that an annually increasing percentage of electricity sold to retail customers in Pennsylvania come from alternative energy sources. The law requires that 18 percent of electricity sold at retail in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to be generated by alternative energy sources by 2021. This includes a “Solar Share” of 0.5%, which equates to 863 MW from solar photovoltaic (PV) energy.
Alternative Energy Credits (AECs)
The AEPS program requires that retail energy suppliers utilize Alternative Energy Credits (AECs) for demonstrating compliance with the standard. An AEC is created each time a qualified alternative energy facility produces 1000 kWh of electricity. The AEC is then be sold or traded separately from the power. This makes it easy for individuals and businesses to finance and invest in clean, emission free solar power.
Pennsylvania Solar Industry Facts
  • Pennsylvania is one of the largest solar employers in the nation as home to more than 471 solar businesses.
  • Throughout the value chain, 2800 people are employed.
  • 10MW of solar electric capacity was installed in 2014 in Pennsylvania
  • With 249MW of solar energy currently installed in Pennsylvania, there’s enough solar power installed to power 29,000 homes.
  • Recognizing the value and potential of solar photovoltaics (PV) to provide reliable, emissions-free, distributed electricity, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s state government is clearly leading by example with nearly 30% of its electricity needs coming from renewable energy sources.
Miller Bros. Solar (MBS) is a chosen leader in operations and maintenance (O&M) solutions due to the company’s project expertise, full construction capabilities, and 160+ pieces of heavy equipment. MBS is one of the few electrical contractors that can simultaneously self-perform multiple utility scale solar projects while exceeding client expectations, controlling costs and adhering to timelines and customer schedules.
Miller Bros. Solar provides O&M services for solar projects in the following states: Connecticut, Delaware, Ohio, Georgia, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia.
For more information, visit http://millerbrossolar.com or call 610-832-1000.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Is Rooftop Solar Catching Fire – Literally?

In May of 2015, a rooftop solar fire was ignited by the solar panels on the roof of an Apple-owned facility in Mesa, Arizona. That begs to question, with growing demand for green energy, what are the real risks of solar installation catching fire on a rooftop?
Utility scale and commercial rooftop solar power is becoming more prevalent as the United States and individual corporations look to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels. Rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) farms consisting of solar panels are an excellent way to introduce clean, renewable energy and utilize unused rooftop space; however, these renewable power plants introduce new challenges to solar manufacturers, system engineers, O&M companies, and fire fighters.
Research conducted two years ago indicated that rooftop solar-caused fires are very rare. A German study found approximately 75 instances out of some 1.3 million installations, while a study in the United States found only 7 instances in the entire country. While rare, the potential for a rooftop solar fire still exists and with the number of renewable energy systems growing daily, the risk grows exponentially.
What Can Cause Rooftop Solar Fires
It all starts with the components of both the solar array and the roof. Mounting solar panels and system components on the roof of a building can affect the combustibility of the overall roof system. Here’s what can happen:
In a combiner box, numerous wires from PV panels are connected. It is here that there is considerable voltage before the current is converted from DC to AC at the inverter. Electrical arcs near the combiner box can cause the PV panels to ignite as the backings of some panels are constructed of highly combustible plastic. Once the electrical arcs ignite the roof assembly, the fire can quickly spread under the solar panels and potentially across the entire rooftop.
How System Engineers Avoid Rooftop Solar Fires
When designing a solar array, there are several factors that can help prevent fires and/or can limit fire spread if ignition occurs:
  • Using a complete system that has been tested to simulate actual field conditions.
  • Avoiding installation of PV system on an older rooftop and choosing roof assemblies that limit potential fuel contribution in the event of a fire.
  • Investigating the need to coat the roof in expanded or extruded polystyrene insulation or multi-ply roof covers.
  • Securing mineral wool or other fire-resistant compressible insulation between wood nailers, covered by steel flashing.
  • Evaluating the underside of the PV panel for the least combustible material usage.
  • Utilizing PV panels that have passed fire tests that include testing with the proposed roof assembly.
How O&M Providers Avoid Rooftop Solar Fires
Once a solar array is installed, it’s up to a Solar Operations and Maintenance (O&M) service company to keep the system safely performing at optimal levels. To do this, the O&M Company will need to perform regular, scheduledpreventative maintenance, provide emergency services, monitor the system and audit its solar energy production.
Visual Inspection
Attention to every detail is critical in the operation and maintenance of a solar power plant. Something as simple as a regular visual inspection can prevent the system from being damaged by rodents and other pests, which could compromise wiring or insulation.
Repairs & Replacement
As manufacturers are taking steps to reduce the potential for fire by improving upon the electrical components, it is also important for O&M companies to keep up with these developments, as well as new code requirements. Repairs or replacements as recommended by the original equipment manufacturers (OEM) and governing bodies should be conducted in a timely manner. While some of these issues may be warranty related and some may simply be upgrades or more advanced technology – others can be critical at preventing system failure, fire or other safety hazard. Some examples are:
Micro-Inverters
Some solar panels now have micro-inverters on each PV panel, which convert voltage from DC to AC. While this can be expensive to implement in a solar power plant, it will reduce the change of a fire igniting on a rooftop PV solar array.
Arc Fault Detectors
Arc faults are caused by air gaps between electrical conductors. The most common causes are faulty manufacturing, installer error, or aging, degraded connectors. Electrical current flowing across this type of loose connection produces sparks which could cause a fire.
An arc fault current interrupter (AFCI) senses the DC current coming into inverters in smaller arrays or into combiner boxes in commercial and utility-scale systems. The increased electrical noise of an arc fault will trigger a system shutdown before it causes a fire.
These devices can be added to a solar installation by an O&M service company for a cost of anywhere from $25 and $100 to each inverter string. While the 2011 National Electrical Code (NEC) requires AFCIs in rooftop solar arrays, states are allowed to implement NEC requirements at their own pace.
Monitoring Systems
To further protect against the potential for arc faults, the O&M Company managing the installation should be monitoring for signs of future arc-fault failures and preventative maintenance should be conducted to prevent fires.
Preparedness In Case of Rooftop Solar Fire
Regardless of the materials used in the construction of a PV panel, system, or the roof, its mere presence changes the dynamic of a fire involving a roof assembly. Fire fighters and other emergency first responder personnel need to understand and be prepared with adequate training with these unfamiliar hazards. Instruction is needed on structural fire fighting in buildings and structures involving solar power systems that utilize solar panels to generate thermal and/or electrical energy. Some of the training needed involves:
  • Ventilation – Firefighters need to be aware that they may be limited in where they can cut and it can take longer to cut ventilation holes in roofs with solar panels covering the surface.
  • Electrocution – When high-pressure water is trained on the roof, there is the potential for electrocution. Additionally, opening holes in the ceiling or attic space from the inside of a building may put firefighters in contact with metal conduit that is no longer grounded due to partial roof collapse or heat damage and therefore dangerous to touch.
  • Roof Collapse – Due to the additional weight on a roof, solar panels may increase the risk of roof collapse.
  • Exiting Roof – With the presence of rooftop-mounted PV arrays, it may limit the areas in which firefighters can exit the roof.
In conclusion, as rooftop solar arrays continue to proliferate, the solar industry and those involved in emergency response need to be keenly aware of the risks, the challenges and the new technology developments as they continue to collaborate to keep safety at the forefront of renewable energy generation.
Miller Bros. Solar (MBS) is a chosen leader in operations and maintenance (O&M) solutions due to the company’s project expertise, full construction capabilities, and 160+ pieces of heavy equipment. MBS is one of the few electrical contractors that can simultaneously self-perform multiple utility scale solar projects while exceeding client expectations, controlling costs and adhering to timelines and customer schedules.
Miller Bros. Solar provides O&M services for solar projects in the following states: Connecticut, Delaware, Ohio, Georgia, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia.
For more information, visit http://millerbrossolar.com or call 610-832-1000.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Solar News – Obama’s Climate Action Plan

On Wednesday, September 16th, 2015, the United States Department of Energy announced that researchers developing new solar power technology would receive more than $100 million in grants from the federal government as part of the Obama administrations Climate Action Plan. These grants are to fund research in finding ways to reduce the cost of solar power and expand access to low-carbon energy.
Of the grants announced Wednesday, $32 million will be used on 14 projects researching how to improve the performance and efficiency of concentrating solar power plants. Some of these projects include:
  • Using mirrors to concentrate reflected sunlight on a central point and then storing that energy in molten salt.
  • A new thermal energy storage system that would boost the amount of energy concentrated solar plants are able to store, so solar power can be used when the sun isn’t shining. This project will use new highly conductive materials to make concentrating solar plants more efficient.
  • Finding ways to improve photovoltaic performance and reliability and reduce the cost of solar photovoltaic panels, which are already rapidly becoming less expensive.
An additional $7 million is being spent on researching ways to slow solar panel deterioration over time.
Miller Bros. Solar (MBS) is a chosen leader in operations and maintenance (O&M) solutions due to the company’s project expertise, full construction capabilities, and 160+ pieces of heavy equipment. MBS is one of the few electrical contractors that can simultaneously self-perform multiple utility scale solar projects while exceeding client expectations, controlling costs and adhering to timelines and customer schedules.
Miller Bros. Solar provides O&M services for solar projects in the following states: Connecticut, Delaware, Ohio, Georgia, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia.
For more information, visit http://millerbrossolar.com or call 610-832-1000.