November 02, 2012
ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico, September 14, 2012—Unirac, Inc., a Hilti Group Company and North America's leading provider of infrastructure for solar power systems, has provided Boston-based Fischbach & Moore with a customized flat roof RapidRac G10 PV mounting solution to optimize a 400 kW solar installation atop the soon-to-be-opened Mirebalais National Hospital, located 30 miles north of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. President Bill Clinton visited the construction site in March 2012 to view the hospital’s progress as part of the Clinton Global Initiative’s aim to boost renewable energy usage worldwide.
Haiti’s unstable power grid is exacerbated by its susceptibility to seismic activity and strong hurricanes. In addition, the country’s energy prices are among the highest in the world. Together, these variables create an urgent demand for reliable energy, as well as unique challenges for PV installations.
The 180,000-square-foot, 312-bed public hospital is a remarkable post-earthquake rebuilding effort undertaken by the global health non-profit Partners in Health and Haiti’s Ministry of Health. The installation is designed to meet the energy needs of the hospital, thus establishing its independence from an unreliable and cost-prohibitive energy source, and will allow the facility to return extra capacity back to the power grid—which will benefit Haitian citizens.
According to Stephen Hopkins, project executive at Fischbach & Moore, Unirac’s ability to deliver solutions and services correctly, efficiently and on time—especially to an underdeveloped country—was a major consideration for this project. “Part of our decision to work with Unirac on this project was because we had trust and faith in Unirac as a business partner.”
RapidRac G10’s versatility was a key benefit for the installation. Not only did it allow for the panels to be securely mounted 8 inches above the roof (for optimal heat dissipation), but it also maximized exposure with its expanded 10-degree tilt angle. “The entire installation was raised off the roof to avoid extreme heat build-up and to prevent roof flooding during the rainy season,” explains Hopkins.
RapidRac’s robust system was the ideal solution for a project featuring complex criteria such as extraordinary solar gain as well as hurricane force wind loads and seismic activity. Its ballast weights, which were specifically adjusted for the site, offer the security needed for such arduous weather patterns.
Hopkins also praises RapidRac’s ease of installation. “Because this was a community project, we had Haitian workers involved in the process. I’m glad to report that it went really well because of RapidRac’s uncomplicated installation procedure.”
“Every solar project presents new, unforeseen challenges, and this project was no exception. Our ability to offer custom hardware, as well as dedicated, professional service is what sets us apart in the mounting solutions industry. We are proud to have been a key partner in the effort to change the face of public health care in Haiti,” says Unirac CEO Peter Lorenz. “RapidRac addressed every project nuance while offering significant cost savings and an enhanced installation rate— of utmost importance for a nonprofit organization,” adds Lorenz.
Unirac is excited to bring this news to Solar Power International 2012. For more information about Unirac’s full line of innovative PV mounting solutions, please visit us at Solar Power International, Booth 2227, Sept. 10-13, 2012 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL. The solar power community welcomes President Bill Clinton, who will deliver the convention’s keynote address.
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