Listen Up: Solar Racking for Large Ground Mounts

Utility scale solar has historically been the biggest market for solar power in the U.S. Currently, most of the largest plants are located in the southwest U.S. states where there is plenty of sunny, relatively unused land. The largest of these projects are slightly over 500 megawatts using in the neighborhood of 2 million solar panels. Thats a lot of solar panels — but also a lot of solar panel racking.

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On any large ground mounted project, most of the on-site labor relates to installing the solar panel racking (by comparison, installing the panels on the racks and wiring them together goes relatively quickly). As the solar industry strives to reduce costs, less expensive and easier to install racking becomes critical to the financial benefits of a project. The traditional galvanized pipe in concrete pier mounting structures have become a thing of the past.

One such innovation comes from Solar FlexRack. In 2009 they designed a ground mount racking system that ships compactly, then expands on-site like an accordion. The result is a drastic reduction in the amount of field labor required to bolt the racking components together. Steve Daniel, EVP of Sales and Marketing at Solar FlexRack is our guest this week on the Energy Show on Renewable Energy World. Please join me as Steve discusses the benefits of easy to install ground mount racking, and talks about the value-added services that are necessary to provide turnkey solutions to utility scale customers.

About The Energy Show

As energy costs consume more and more of our hard-earned dollars, we as consumers really start to pay attention. But we don’t have to resign ourselves to $5/gallon gas prices, $200/month electric bills and $500 heating bills. There are literally hundreds of products, tricks and techniques that we can use to dramatically reduce these costs — very affordably.

The Energy Show on Renewable Energy World is a weekly 20-minute podcast that provides tips and advice to reduce your home and business energy consumption. Every week we’ll cover topics that will help cut your energy bill, explain new products and technologies in plain English, and cut through the hype so that you can make smart and cost-effective energy choices. 

About Your Host

Barry Cinnamon is a long-time advocate of renewable energy and is a widely recognized solar power expert. In 2001 he founded Akeena Solar — which grew to become the largest national residential solar installer by the middle of the last decade with over 10,000 rooftop customers coast to coast. He partnered with Westinghouse to create Westinghouse Solar in 2010, and sold the company in 2012.

His pioneering work on reducing costs of rooftop solar power systems include Andalay, the first solar panel with integrated racking, grounding and wiring; the first UL listed AC solar panel; and the first fully “plug and play” AC solar panel. His current efforts are focused on reducing the soft costs for solar power systems, which cause system prices in the U.S. to be double those of Germany.

Although Barry may be known for his outspoken work in the solar industry, he has hands-on experience with a wide range of energy saving technologies.  He’s been doing residential energy audits since the punch card days, developed one of the first ground-source heat pumps in the early ‘80s, and always abides by the Laws of Thermodynamics.

Lead image: Green microphone via Shutterstock

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