St. Pete SunTrust building gets state's first commercial integrated solar roof

3:45 PM, Aug 21, 2013   |    comments
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Tampa, Florida - Solar Energy Management (SEM), a solar power company based in Tampa, recently completed the installation of Florida's first fully-integrated solar power roof at the SunTrust Building on 1st Avenue South in St. Petersburg.

The system does not use roof penetrations and gives the building owners an unprecedented ROI with a 30 percent tax credit.

The 50KW SEM commercial integrated solar roof, which was installed atop the 50,000 square foot SunTrust building in July, features Florida's first sprayed urethane foam distributed load attachment system. The urethane sprayed hard foam roof installed is the support system for the solar array stands and the roof structure was not penetrated using this system.

PHOTOS: St. Pete SunTrust building gets solar roof

"We developed a new technology to integrate solar stanchions that support panels directly into the roof system itself," said Scott McIntyre, CEO of SEM. "By doing so, we distribute the weight load across the entire field of the roof - every four feet - without drilling holes into the structure."

Prior to installation, SEM worked with Wallace, Welch & Willingham Insurance, owners of the SunTrust Building, to provide a full energy analysis of the building, including establishing a cost of energy per square foot.

"Upon review of our analysis, we realized that we could save Wallace, Welch & Willingham Insurance 40 percent of their energy costs," said McIntyre. "They were receptive to solar power, but didn't like the idea of conventional ballasted or mechanically attached solar racking systems. That's where the integrated solar roof came in."

Working with a structural engineer, McIntyre and his team conducted lift tests of the roof and stanchions used with the 50KW SEM commercial integrated solar roof.

"The lift tests far exceeded our expectations," said McIntyre. "The results showed that the solar attachment system can withstand wind loads in excess of 200 mph, which is important here in Florida."

"Federal tax incentives, combined with local power company (Duke Energy) incentives and our competitive pricing, made the ROI on this project very attractive to Wallace, Welch & Willingham Insurance," said McIntyre.

To complete the project, SEM employed more than 30 people at companies such as Tarheel Roofing, TBES, PCM Precision, Gezelman Engineering and Matrix Energy & Construction, all of which employ locally.

SEM has begun work on two similar projects in Tampa and Sarasota.

WATCH the video below to see how the solar roof was constructed.

Release courtesy Solar Energy Management

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