Solar Carport Pulls Double Duty for Dental Lab

Solar photovoltaic module manufacturer RWE Schott Solar (RSS) worked recently with Ericson Solar of Placerville, California to complete a 52 kW solar array at a dental laboratory based in Chico, California.

Engineered by RSS and installed by Ericson Solar, the system at the Chromeworks facility uses a unique design that incorporates two distinct arrays into one 52 kW system. Two sections make up the rooftop array, using 80 ASE 300 Series modules. The modules on the south facing section are parallel to the roof. A mounting system on the north facing section raises the remaining modules to face south as well. An additional 96 modules make up the roof section of the freestanding parking lot carport, creating shaded parking while generating clean, renewable energy. “With our exposed parking lot, our employee’s cars were literally baking in the sun,” said Jerry Robinson, president at Chromeworks. “We had considered building a shade structure out there, but as a standalone project, we couldn’t make the financing work the way we would like it to.” Chromeworks worked with Ericson Solar to calculate out the cost effective size of a system to be installed. By installing the panels as part of a shaded carport, the facility was able to take advantage of the PG&E solar power rebate to meet both their shading needs and their power needs. “We estimated how big a system would need to be in order for it to be cost effective, and it was clear the available roof space was not only too small, but half of it faced north, which really cuts into a PV module’s efficiency,” said Matt Ericson, president of Ericson Solar Ericson Solar suggested a carport to carry a little more than half of what the system would need and RSS engineered the system for them. Simple payback on the system should be about six years as it covers 80 to 85 percent of Chromeworks electrical needs every year.