The University of California at San Diego has set a high sustainability goal as part of its Campus Clean Renewable Energy Project. To become climate neutral by 2025, the campus has made a variety of sustainability efforts, including implementing solar power.
One of the university’s latest solar efforts was a 267-kW installation atop its Trade Street Warehouse. Built in 1988, the building is two stories and nearly 200,000 square feet. The university uses the facility for campus housing and staging, book store shipping and receiving and departmental and library storage.
But installing solar posed some challenges. The roof’s weight-load capacity varied across it. And the university also required adherence to strict logistical and installation timelines.
To address the roof’s weight-load limitations, the project’s system integrator Sullivan Solar Power recruited SunLink engineers to design a hybrid mounting system that included both ballasted and connected sections. Hybrid systems help decrease the amount of overall weight bearing on the roof, while limiting penetrations.
“The structural make-up of the roof supports offered limited capacity to support normal forces required to confidently anchor the racking system,” says Chris Gleed, Sullivan Solar Power’s director of project management. “A fine balance of weight distribution and anchorage distribution drove the design, with particular attention to the loading.”
Logistical and Installation Efficiencies
Once the mounting system was finalized, Sullivan Solar Power took advantage of SunLink’s integrated balance-of-system products, procuring the company’s RMS racking, combiner boxes and wire management.
“SunLink’s balance of system products allowed us to meet installation deadlines and ensure open communication from order placement to product delivery,” says Gleed. “This gave us the ability to properly plan, forecast and ensure that all aspects of installation were executed according to plan.”
As an additional means to fast-track installation, Sullivan Solar Power retained SunLink to prepanelize all of the project’s modules with mounting hardware into panel assemblies of three or four. Prepanelization helps to decrease on-site labor time and expedite overall system installation.
More Solar To Come
The Campus Clean Renewable Energy Project initiative at UC San Diego has already lead to one megawatt of solar-generated power throughout the campus, including parking canopies, a ground-mount system and multiple SunLink roof-mount systems. In addition to the PV, the campus plans to incorporate energy storage to distribute power more efficiently and help the utility grid during peak demand. Sullivan Solar Power looks forward to working with SunLink to complete another smaller roof mount system on UC San Diego’s Marine Ecosystem, Sensing, Observation and Modeling Laboratory. SPW