Powell’s Books-Rooftop Custom Tilt-Up PV System

Northwest Portland

99.9 kW Custom Industrial Rooftop Solar Array

Powell's Solar Installation99,900W grid-tie solar array composed of 540) Mitsubishi 185W modules, 12) SMA 7000US SB Inverters. This job demanded a completely unique racking system in order to properly attach to the rooftop. The design,  engineered by Nishkin Dean of Portland, allows for the future re-roofing of the warehouse without having to dismantle the solar array that sits on top of it. This array’s performance is monitored using SMA America’s data  monitoring equipment. Ernest R. Munch Architect Urban Planner, LLC worked as the solar advocate on this project.

Powell’s Books is an icon in Portland, a city that in itself is iconic as a progressive and green community. In order to show their support for clean, renewable energy and reap the financial and energy saving benefits from  such a system, Powell’s Books put out the call for designs and bids to install a roof mounted solar electric system on the warehouse where they operate Powell’s.com, an online book sales and distribution division.

Originally, we became involved with the Powell’s Books solar project through Doug Boleyn, an engineer Vince had worked with before. After the bidding process, Powell’s chose Energy Design because of our attention to detail on the design work and our reputation for well constructed systems.

The array was installed on a 1950’s era warehouse, which posed some unique problem solving opportunities. Powell’s wanted as few attachment  points as possible through the membrane roofing system and the building’s beam placement necessitated an unusually long span between connections. Working with the engineering firm Nishkian & Dean, a racking system utilizing galvanized, cold-rolled structural steel was agreed upon. Energy Design set up a fabrication shop and built the solar array support system on site. Around 65,000 lbs. of structural steel was used to complete the  final array support structure.

At 100,000 watts, the Powell’s Books installation is a powerful and impressive commercial solar array. It is also a great example of how financially viable and efficient such systems are. This system will not only pay for  itself in 5 years, it will turn a substantial profit!