Facing rising energy costs and increased power demand from their steel manufacturing and fabrication plants, Apel Steel Corporation in Cullman, Alabama, contracted ACE SOLAR to move them off-grid with a PV solar power generating system.
The 340-kW system was designed and developed to generate 470,213 kWh of AC electrical power annually to meet 98% of the energy requirements for the heavy machinery and plant operations. The system is expected to save Apel Steel more than $3,000,000 on its electric bills over the 30-year life expectancy of the system.
The system was installed by ACE SOLAR based in Pulaski, Tennessee. “This was a uniquely challenging installation,” said Chuck Boggs, CEO of ACE. “Not only did we have to engineer and deliver a fully self-contained and optimized power plant, but wire management and overall installation logistics were complex. On top of this, we had to install the system on uneven, undulating terrain.”
The 1,088 Suntech panels were mounted on 45 Solar FlexRack Series G1Lracking systems, which are factory pre-assembled and developed to adapt to any terrain. They are also certified to withstand heavy wind, rain and snow loads.
“Even with the site being 10 degrees off-level and Alabama’s infamous heavy clay and rocky terrain, we were able to achieve a flush, aesthetically-pleasing panel configuration. Our field crew found that the design and functionality of the Solar FlexRack product made the overall solar installation process almost effortless. The compact and flexible nature of the product was a perfect fit,” added Boggs.
To achieve Apel Steel’s goal for going off-the-grid and becoming energy independent, ACE SOLAR, along with its design and delivery partners installed its enerG•Station, a utility scale energy harvesting, monitoring and distribution system that is housed completely on site in an 8′ x 40′ container. The enerG•Station takes Apel Steel off the grid with a battery backup and proprietary energy distribution monitoring and control software that optimizes energy storage, use and distribution.
“The scope of this installation is a ‘first of its kind’ on this scale with ACE SOLAR’s enerG•Station system bringing together the power of renewable energy and energy storage on a single platform. It represents true independence for businesses that want to install their own power stations and control their energy costs,” noted Solar FlexRack CEO Tom Meola.
Over its 35-year life expectancy, the system will offset more than 6.5 million pounds of carbon dioxide.