14 June 2010
Unistrut Energy Solutions division of Unistrut Canada Limited recently completed the installation of the mounting structure for a 100 kilowatt-hour (kW) solar power project on the new 50,000 square foot Operations and Environmental Services building for the Town of Ajax.
The selection of Ajax-based Unistrut helped the Town meet the requirements of Ontario's Feed-in Tariff (FIT) program and certification as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) building.
"This is a major solar installation and we're pleased to be the local source for the manufacturing, engineering and installation of the mounting structure," said Barry Catterall, national sales manager for Unistrut.
Planning was underway when the Ontario Provincial government passed the Green Energy and Green Economy Act in May 2009. The Town stood to benefit from the Act's incentives for renewable energy producers. In this case, Ajax will earn 71.3 cents per kW in a guaranteed contract over a 20-year period.
"The Green Energy Act and the Feed-in Tariff program made what we started doing even more economically viable," said Ajax Mayor Steve Parish. But a requirement that 50 percent of the project's content be sourced domestically meant a change in suppliers.
"We were well into the project and needed to understand how we could still achieve the FIT requirements and that was when Unistrut came in," said Catherine Bridgeman, project manager for the Town of Ajax. Unistrut was brought on board by solar consultant Solera Sustainable Energies Company Limited. According to Leonard Allen, president of Solera, Unistrut met the local requirements of FIT and had the engineering and installation expertise they were looking for.
Unistrut Canada has a 30,000 square foot fabrication and warehouse facility in Ajax, a design and technical services group, and 60-plus years of installation experience. Constructed of galvanized steel, the Unistrut mounting system boasts superior strength, unmatched corrosion protection and flexibility. The support system designed for Ajax spans ten feet and reduces the number of penetrations to the roof. Its durable structure reduces material and labor costs.
The Town had concerns with bringing in another supplier. "They have to get up to speed; they have to understand the schedule; they have to understand the project deliverables; and they have to be able to manufacture in the timeframe that we need them to," said Bridgeman. "Unistrut delivered 100 percent."
Unistrut's installation expertise was a plus for Allen. "Because the solar array is highly visible on the building's sloped roof, level lines become critical," said Allen. "Unistrut got into the project and proved time and again that they could do the job -- in every way and then some."
For the Town of Ajax, the new Operations Center is about more than sustainable building. It is about supporting the local economy and developing the green industry. "It sends a message to the private sector that this is the way of the future," said Parish.
Unistrut Energy Solutions, a division of Unistrut Canada Limited, provides engineered solutions for renewable energy solutions, specializing in solar photovoltaic. Well known products from Unistrut and Allied Tube & Conduit are incorporated into designs. Unistrut Energy Solutions will be exhibiting at Intersolar North America 2010 in San Francisco's Moscone Center from July 13-15, booth number 7846.