BLDG has served as an electrical contractor for Carmacks Construction for several years now, and we have had the opportunity to work on a range of projects, from EV fleet charging, building automation, electrical upgrades, and new electrical construction projects. We recently were asked to plan and implement a large solar PV system at one of their sites.
Solar Development Strategy:
1. Portability: The site that was selected for installation may need to be used for some other purpose in the future. Hence, the solar system needs to be constructed in a way that would make it easy to transport and set up again somewhere else.
2. Scalability: The management team wanted the option to increase the size of the overall system over time.
3. Affordability: Since the project was ambitious, we wanted to access government funding to offset as much of the construction costs as possible.
Together with the client, we decided to install a ground-mounted system on Concrete Retaining Wall blocks to act as ballast to make the entire solar system easier to move to another location. As part of the scalability requirement, we installed a Solar PV connection to the transformer that would allow us to transfer up to 320A at 480 VAC of solar to the grid as the system expands over the years.
This commercial solar install qualified for funding through the Alberta Energy Savings for Businesses program. When we map out new projects with our clients, an important component is looking methodically at tax, grants and funding incentives. Currently, many of the costs for implementing a new system can be offset by accessing government programs, but acting on incentives quickly is absolutely essential because government programs don’t have unlimited capacity.
The overarching planning point for commercial solar is looking at total system optimization:
- Generating enough power to offset energy use.
- Producing energy credits towards the grid to potentially produce revenue.
- Accessing additional value through the Alberta Carbon Credit program.