In mid-February 2012, Tencarva Machinery Company began reducing its energy footprint as it generates electricity through the newly installed solar panels on the roof of the warehouse in Greensboro. Upon commissioning of the solar power system on February 13, 2012, Harry Taylor, vice president of operations, remarked, “We are now a power supplier to Duke Energy. Power is being generated by the panels that goes to the inverters. The inverters are humming and sending the energy to Duke’s electric grid.
On the first day in operation, Tencarva’s system generated more power than Tencarva’s Greensboro building operations use. The system was designed to normally generate the equivalent of one-third of our power usage each month.”
Harry explains how the project began, “Rod Lee wanted me to investigate ways the company could better use our funds to reduce future company expense. He suggested solar power as a possible project to consider.”
Harry indicates that the investigation began on the Internet to gain some knowledge of solar power systems. Solar power systems convert sunlight into electricity. This process is a green source of generating power. Presently, federal and state tax credits are available for installation of solar.
Harry outlines the process, “A solar power system uses silicon cells mounted together in a panel called a Photovoltaic system (PV). When sunlight hits the silicon cells, a DC current is generated. The current is converted from DC to AC by an inverter. Current can be stored in batteries or go directly into the power grid. If the power goes directly to the grid, a second meter is installed, and the power is sold to the local utility. Tencarva’s system will generate electricity and sell all of it to Duke Power.”
In the process of determining Tencarva’s best option, different companies in the solar power business were contacted, and information gathered on their systems. The panels are mounted on the roof of the Greensboro warehouse location. The size and weight handling capacity of the roof had to be considered. Harry points out, “There were economical considerations for the number of panels to install. We decided on a manufacturer, and the final details of our system were worked out.” Tencarva selected Skyward Solar Power Company, LLC, teaming with Strata Solar, LLC, to complete the project. At present, the system is generating in excess of 667kWh per day. Skyward Solar Power Company, of Durham, N.C., is a full-service solar installation company with a proven track record for quality installations.
Strata Solar, of Chapel Hill, N.C., provides complete solar energy systems and installations for both commercial and residential buildings.”Installation of a system this size can recover nearly a half-a-million dollars in at-risk tax liability and will generate more than that in new revenue over the next 20 years from the clean electricity it produces,” says Bruce Freeman, president of Skyward Solar Power Co., LLC. Tencarva‘s system is a 188.2 kW (DC), with power generation of243,000 kWh per year.
The completed installation includes 784 American made SHARP solar panels mounted on Tencarva‘s warehouse roof using a non penetrating clamp system to the roof seams. The panels are designed to handle wind speeds to 90 mph. The system has a 10-year product warranty and a 25-year power warranty. The power-generating ability of the solar cells gradually reduces each year, but the system can still be in service up to40 years. A monitor checks system and inverter performance. The utility meter already installed at the facility continues to measure the amount of energy used by Tencarva, and normal charges apply. With the “dual metered” configuration, Tencarva is able to maximize potential revenue and return on investment. Live data graphics of the system performance and power generated will be displayed in Tencarva‘s headquarters lobby and on the Tencarva website.
Harry says, “The plan was for the system to be working by the end of2011. Due to building permits and supplier issues, this goal was missed. The system was fully operational by February 13, 2012. Tencarva does plan to install systems in branch locations, dependent upon whether the roof in those locations can support the weight of the solar panels and withstand the wind loads.
Skyward Solar Power indicates, “Combined current tax credits and accelerated depreciation reduce the solar energy system’s price by more than 81%. Furthermore, the price of solar equipment has dropped significantly over the last few years, increasing the overall investment value and shortening the time for return on investment.” The solar power system “seamlessly integrates power generation with payment from the utility company, without the need for on-site personnel. Duke and Progress Energy are currently offering contracts to purchase the Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) and the Clean Electricity for up to 20 years.”Share