August 01, 2012
By its very nature, the Solar FlexRack Carport is a multi-purpose device. The completely pre-assembled Solar FlexRack forms the roof of the carport, but also holds photovoltaic panels that provide electrical power.
A newly installed project in Illinois adds a third purpose into the mix. The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 649 and NECA-IBEW Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (JATC) chose the Solar FlexRack Carport for a solar array on the grounds of its union hall in Alton, Illinois.
The two carports use 10 Solar FlexRacks to hold 203 Sharp 240-watt modules. Total power produced will be 48.72 kW (DC).
The solar carport is in two sections. The 28.56 kW section of the array will provide electricity to the IBEW Local 649’s new union hall. The 20.16 kW section of the carport array will serve the NECA-IBEW JATC training facility. The overall carport system will serve as an education and training tool for apprentice electricians.
Contractor for the project was Tick Tock Energy, Inc. of Effingham, Illinois. Craig Pals, vice president of the firm, said “We chose Solar FlexRack because of the company's reputation, the product's ease of installation (unfolding the pre-assembled rack on site as opposed to assembling many parts and pieces), and its overall engineering.
“The SolarFlex team met our project deadlines,” Pals continued, “and their service was outstanding — from conceptual layout of the carport and structural engineering, to product delivery and tech support during installation.”
Pals feels the Alton project will be just the first of many similar initiatives in the area. “A solar carport is a more ecological and efficient use of land,” he said, “and allows solar panels to be installed when rooftop placement is not desired or space is inadequate for the power needs. As one of the biggest solar arrays in the Metro St. Louis area, the Solar FlexRack is an amazing showcase for Alton and will undoubtedly inspire similar projects. It will also serve as an outstanding educational tool for Local 649's member and apprentice electricians for many years to come.”
Tick Tock Energy is an energy services company that works with clients to reduce utility costs. Through energy-efficient lighting and other technologies Tick Tock Energy helps reduce energy use, with on-site wind turbines and solar photovoltaic systems they produce renewable energy, and then ongoing management of utility costs through energy services programs.
The company combines traditional practices of energy consulting and construction contracting to simplify and speed-up the process of helping clients reduce energy use and cut operating costs.
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