Sun Edison Solar Panel Installation - Andover, Mass.
In the spring of 2008, the installation of 528 photovoltaic panels on the roof of a manufacturing building was completed. This solar project is capable of producing 100,320 watts of direct current (DC) power, which is then inverted to approximately 85,000 wat ts of alternating current (AC) at 480 VAC.
Electrically, the installation of solar arrays is straight forward. Logistically however, they are more challenging due to location and access. As with any project, constant communication with the owner and addressing their key issues is a priority. For this particular installation, the issues and how we addressed them were:
Safety: A temporary flag line was set up ten feet from the edge of the building, and rubber matting was installed for use as walkways due to the slippery, wet, and icy conditions of early spring . A stair tower was also erected to insure safe passage on to the roof.
Restricted Access: The restricted access to the facility meant the employees working inside had to sign in at guard gates, and that all roof lifts had to be completed during off hours. This was managed with a well thought, logistical approach to the work.
Equipment Protection: The panels are mounted on steel structures which are bolted to the structural members of the roof. Coordination with a roofing subcontractor to open holes in the roof membrane (while monitoring weather conditions) was critical as the facility held millions of dollars worth of electrical products underneath. Constant communication with the owner during this phase was necessary as the equipment underneath had to be covered to keep any ceiling debris or metal drill fillings from falling into the equipment.
Upon final connection and checkout, the system breakers were thrown on. On that sunny day, the system operated perfectly the first time. No rework of wires or punch lists were necessary.