The 2010 National Solar Tour, organized by the American Solar Energy Society, is Saturday, Oct. 2.
There's a new design vernacular for architects, building owners, hoteliers and restaurateurs that could change the face of public gathering places across North America.
It's a concept known as the solar canopy, created to provide a facelift for the 18,000-square-foot Edgewood at the Beltline building in Atlanta's historic Martin Luther King, Jr. District.
Despite being one of the newer buildings in the district, Edgewood at the Beltline featured an industrial design begging for improvements. Its vast, third floor terrace had water infiltration issues, and its exposed floor-to-ceiling windows initially an attractive feature for tenants led to massive morning and evening heat gains, leaving window-proximate office workers begging for relief.
The team at Inman Solar introduced a design solution with a twist: an attention getting improvement that provides shading capacity for tenants and a revenue-generating component never before seen in the region a 16 kW solar canopy.
At the core of the 84-panel solar canopy's revenue-generating potential are advances like Sanyo's HIT Double solar technology, whose bi-facial characteristics can generate up to 30% more energy by producing electricity from the panel's back-side. The modules are known for exceptional performance under cloudy conditions and during the hottest days of the year, something folks in Atlanta know about first hand.
Enhanced energy output is important to building owners, as electricity generated from the system is sold to Georgia Power at a premium and fed back into the grid. Also, the building qualifies for a share of $13.3 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grant funds for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects allocated to 64 Georgia communities. The grant, the potential for accelerated depreciation and additional economic incentives further sweeten the deal.
"This is part of the first wave of solar technology being integrated into buildings from the ground up," said Inman Solar and practicing architect Mark Jones, whose company will be featuring tours of the building as part of the Atlanta leg of this Saturday's ASES National Solar Tour.
"Most people understand there are tax credits available for solar" What impressed the building owners was how it illustrated that we can apply these same tax credits to out-of-the-box solutions with more versatility and functionality than traditional roof-mount systems. And they can be integrated right into the building, added Inman Solar's CFO Steve Chiariello. "These are not just eye-catching, but reliable systems with positive ROI.
This is one facelift whose rewards are more than skin deep.
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