Liberty Self Storage, a multi-site storage facility business in Louisiana and the state’s largest solar-powered company, contacted The Next Energy Technology, a Louisiana-based solar power company, to do a conversion project for one of their locations. Liberty Self Storage dedicated itself to green energy in 2016, commissioning solar conversion for the first nine of 12 locations in St. Tammany Parish, but this time they wanted to do something different.
In line with the name of the company “Liberty” and what it represents, they chose an American Flag solar panel array designed by The Next Energy Technology as a symbolic source of pride and unity for all Americans.
The facility, located in Covington, La., features a 74.88kW DC solar array securely mounted to the MBCI Ultra-Dek standing seam metal roof with the S-5! PVKIT 2.0 solar attachment solution. In trading string inverters for 64 APsystems microinverters in the project design, they created one of the most energy-efficient locations in the Liberty chain, and helped Liberty take the lead as one of the most progressive mid-sized companies in the South.
The Next Energy Technology was challenged with designing and installing solar panels in the arrangement of an American flag. A traditional rail-mounted system was not ideal because it would add additional weight to the array, and in certain areas, the rails would remain exposed and compromise the design. Additionally, Liberty Storage was adamant that the array be attached to the metal roof without any penetrations.
Another challenge was the area’s high wind speeds due to its proximity to the Gulf coast. The design wind load requirements for the roof necessitated a solar mounting product capable of withstanding up to 140-mile-per-hour winds.
Solar solution provider, Ontility recommended the PVKIT direct-attach™ (rail-less) solar solution paired with the S-5-V Mini clamp to provide a secure, economical and penetration-free method for attaching solar modules to the metal roof. This enabled solar installers to “lay & play” PV modules with tested, engineered, cost-saving attachment. The solution also allowed a precise physical module arrangement to achieve the artistic objective.
In high-wind areas such as this, wind forces will try to tear a roof from its mountings. The exceptional performance of metal roofing in these conditions is due in part to its attachment methods and interlocking installation where panels are interlocked and attached to the structure of the building, reducing the ability of wind to disrupt the roof panels.
Standing seam metal has a distinct advantage over other roof types because it serves as a “structural” covering, meaning it can be engineered to withstand almost any force imposed by wind. It also serves as the perfect platform for mounting solar PV because the structural ribs or seams can be used as inherent (and cost-free) “rails” for mounting solar PV via reliable mechanical attachments.
With the standing seam metal roof, good south exposure, no obstructions and a clear objective, The Next Energy Technology was able to overcome any and all challenges. As a result, they transformed a solar array into a symbol of freedom in the Deep South — an American flag.
General Contractor: The Next Energy Technology, Kenner, LA
Engineer: Renewable Design Solutions, Dallas, TX
Distributor: ONTILITY Powered by Smith, Houston, TX
Solar Mounting: S-5!, Colorado Springs, CO
Project Size: 74.88kW DC
Solar Installer: The Next Energy Technology
Module manufacturer: Hanwha Q-Cell 390w modules
Inverter manufacturer: APsystems YC1000 Microinverters
Roof Profile: MBCI Ultra-Dek
Roof Measured: 72’ H x 166’ W (south-facing roof surface)
Roof Pitch: 14°