A Welsh technology center completed in January integrates UniRac’s SolarMount Mounting System into an 11,000-square-foot “Solar Wall,” the largest installation of its kind in Europe. It is the latest example of large-scale PV building integration using products designed and manufactured by UniRac, of Albuquerque, New Mexico.St. Asaph, North Wales – March 30, 2004 [SolarAccess.com] At peak hours, the Solar Wall generates 85 kW of electricity from 2,400 Shell Solar CIS thin film modules. The array curves from the roofline to the ground, forming the southern facade of the building. It also channels rainwater into an ornamental pool, for use by the center’s building and grounds. SolarMount solved two problems faced by the Solar Wall’s designers, according to Bruce Cross, managing director of the Energy Equipment Testing Service (EETS), which engineered the Solar Wall. It allowed clear ventilation behind the panels, minimizing operating temperatures and thus maximizing output. SolarMount’s bottom mounting clips also mounted PV modules from behind, giving the array a smooth external finish. SolarMount extruded aluminum rails needed to be curved to meet the unique design requirement. Following consultation with UniRac, EETS designed an even bend into the rails. “The process of cold rolling involved passing sections through a set of rollers to give an even radius, within 3 millimeters on a 3 meter radius,” explained Cross. The process was successful, resulting in no distortion of the mounting slots or rail sections. The technology center is located in St. Asaph, North Wales, one of several “Techniums” created by the Welsh Development Agency to promote innovative technologies through university-business cooperation. UniRac devotes its entire business to the manufacture of PV module racks for every type of array and all makes and models of modules. Custom-designed building-integrated PV mounting solutions are a significant part of its business.