World’s largest solar tracking system on a roof now complete at Chiquita facility
By Kelsey Misbrener | October 11, 2017
Edisun Microgrids, a solar technology company created at leading technology incubator Idealab, and West Hills Construction, a fourth-generation family owned design/build general construction firm, today announced a strategic partnership to develop up to 20 MW of commercial and industrial rooftop solar projects utilizing Edisun’s rooftop tracking technology, PV Booster. The first project developed under this partnership is a 1-MW solar array installed on 368,000 sq. ft of a 528,000-sq. ft cold storage industrial building in Oxnard, Calif. The project utilizes more than 2,900 trackers, making it the world’s largest rooftop tracker installation. This installation is financed and owned by Harry Ross Industries (HRI), the owner of the building. The solar power generated by the PV Booster installation will benefit HRI’s tenant, Chiquita Brands International.
Solar provides significant economic benefit to commercial and industrial (C&I) building owners by leveraging a property’s roof to increase net operating income, while, in many states like California, also avoiding an incremental increase in property tax. PV Booster is the only dual-axis rooftop solar tracker specifically designed to meet the needs of C&I building owners and solar developers. By tracking the sun throughout the day, PV Booster increases energy production by 30 percent and enhances project economics by 20 percent when compared to conventional fixed-tilt installations. In addition, PV Booster’s safe, reliable operation over the lifetime of the system, significantly accelerates return on investment.
“The West Hills team is dedicated to finding and implementing technologies that meet our impeccable standards for craftsmanship while improving our customers’ bottom lines,” said Rusty Wood, vice president, West Hills Construction, Inc. “Over the last decade we have explored numerous solutions that promise to optimize rooftop solar at the commercial and industrial scale. PV Booster is the only technology actually able to accomplish this objective, and we’re excited to share it with our customers.”
“We are longtime supporters of solar energy, both for its environmental and economic benefits,” said Robert Ross, managing partner, Harry Ross Industries. “The addition of PV Booster technology to our Oxnard facility made sense for a number of reasons, in particular because it required less investment to get the same output as a stationary system. It’s also vitally important to HRI that we provide the most environmentally friendly facilities to our tenants. We are confident that we’ve accomplished this mission by deploying Edisun’s cutting edge technology.”
“From responsible water management to the adoption of renewable energy, environmental stewardship has been a key pillar of the Chiquita business for decades,” said Andrew Biles, president and chief executive officer, Chiquita Brands International. “Going solar at our Oxnard facility helps us directly achieve our corporate sustainability goals, and meaningfully strengthens our leadership position among environmentally conscious global organizations.”
PV Booster is the first and only rooftop solar tracker to meet the needs of C&I building owners and solar developers. Its breakthrough innovation is that it solves many challenges that historically prevented trackers from being deployed on C&l rooftops, including, most importantly, the wind. Through its unique, low profile, high strength design, PV Booster renders the wind a non-issue. The product features flexible layout design options, minimal weight per square foot, and fast and easy installation and Operations & Maintenance, while also meeting strict safety standards.
“Partnering with a visionary company such as West Hills, which has built more than 10 million square feet of real estate and is an expert in construction and solar installation, is the first of many exciting growth milestones for Edisun,” said Bill Gross, chief executive officer, Edisun Microgrids, Inc. and founder, Idealab. “PV Booster’s technology fundamentally improves the economics of rooftop solar for developers, installers, building owners, and tenants, which aligns with our core mission to revolutionize the economics of solar. We believe this increase in the value of solar projects, such as Chiquita’s Oxnard installation, will be the catalyst for the widespread adoption of solar in the C&I sector.”
Project commissioning is expected in Fall 2017.
News item from Edisun