US sees largest industrial high rise solar system installed

The 1.2 megawatt photovoltaic system is located in Los Angeles, on a 120 foot purple and magenta building, owned by The Dependable Companies, and with views of the Hollywood sign. Expected to generate 1,866,148 kilowatt hours annually, the system should cover 50 percent of the building’s electricity needs each year.

Overall, 5,292 of JinkoSolar’s (NYSE: JKS) photovoltaic modules are installed on the building, which acts both as a storage warehouse to the owner and as its headquarters. It took around 150 days to complete construction work. A spokesperson for the two parties tells pv magazine that the roof of the warehouse was concrete, meaning that it had to be re-roofed and drains added before work could begin.

They added that the installation presented two main challenges. Firstly, due to the high rise nature of the building, it is subject to greater wind load and seismic load requirements. As such, global point installer, Premier Power (OTCBB: PPRW), worked with its structural engineer and Clenergy to develop a hard attachment solution that worked in conjunction with greater ballasting capacity for the racking.

"Premier Power specified load requirements including safety factors for the hard attachment solution based on stanchion and arm design. Clenergy’s engineers developed and tested a stanchion/arm design to work with their photovoltaic-ezRack SolarMatrix racking," explained the spokesperson. "Additionally, a large ballast tray was developed to provide increased ballast capacity. With a hard attachment and ballasting solution, the structural engineers developed the attachment and ballasting patterns to meet the different high wind load zone requirements across the roof area."

In order to grant Dependable with rooftop access, a racking system with "hinge and lock" features was selected. "This is the first hybrid racking system as a result of Premier Power’s engineering team and Clenergy, the racking system manufacturer, working together," added the spokesperson.

The second challenge took the form of the building’s switchgear, they went on to say. Having been installed in the 1970s, when the building was new, a Power Factor correction was needed, in order to meet the electrical utility’s requirements before the system could be connected to the grid. "This entailed the addition of Power Factor correction equipment installed at the switchgear, resulting in an increase in power of over 12 percent," continued the spokesperson.

While they could not disclose the financial amount invested in the project, they did say that support was received in the form of a commercial solar rebate from the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (LADWP), the 1603 Treasury Grant and MACRS Accelerated Depreciation.