Construction Today - March 2011 - (Page 108)
»Photovoltaic solar panels are being placed on canopies in
Las Vegas parking lots.
Institutional | THOR CONSTRUCTION – CITY OF LAS VEGAS SOLAR AUTO CANOPIES
Thor Construction – City of Las Vegas Solar Auto Canopies
www.thorcon.net • Project cost: $6.8 million • Location: Las Vegas • Scope: Five auto canopies with photovoltaic solar collectors
“We’ve managed not just to keep market share but increase it.” –Jonas Payne, director of preconstruction
installed at the service entrance, and it can read whether or not the panels are generating more than is being consumed,” Payne relates. If they are generating more, the city receives a credit for it on its bill.
The project is receiving funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and NV Energy rebates. The goal of the system is to help the city meet government mandates to reduce energy purchases. So a green source of energy will keep the parks green, many of which have snack bars, lights for tennis courts and baseball fields, rest rooms and other facilities that consume electricity. “It’s design/build, which means I’m responsible for the whole nut, from entitlement to flipping the switch with NV Energy,” Payne declares. Thor Construction designed the facility’s parking canopy and had a steel fabricator manufacture and erect the structural architectural components. “Then, because all the electrical goes underground, we’re cutting up existing landscaping, parking lots, sidewalks – you name it – and all that needs to be put back,” Payne notes. Because the canopies are retrofitted to the parking lots of existing facilities, the remedial work represents a fairly significant part of the project, Payne says. “The largest part of it is working in public parks with the general public and keeping the facility safe and operational,” he concedes. The PV panels on the canopies are thinfilm collectors. Payne estimates the payback on the structures and panels to be from eight to 10 years, depending on the type of facility where they are installed. Facilities such as senior and recreational centers that have higher air conditioning requirements than parks will have quicker paybacks, as will
Too Darn Hot
DESIGNERS OF A SOLAR ENERGY PROJECT ON PARKING LOT CANOPIES HAD TO BE CAREFUL NOT TO OVERHEAT THE PANELS. BY RUSS GAGER
t is possible to get too much of a good thing, as those who rush to Las Vegas in the winter for a deep tan discover when their skin glows a dull, painful red. Similarly, designers of photovoltaic (PV) installations must consider the capabilities of the panels to operate effiMILESTONE ciently in summer temperatures that can exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit. “Something I learned on this project is – you think, ‘Why wouldn’t solar in the desert be the best thing since sliced bread?’” Director of Preconstruction Jonas Payne asks. “But apparently in extreme heat and cold, the PV panels start losing their efficiency exponentially,” he adds. “If the panel gets above 140 to 150 degrees F, it’s losing 50 percent of its generating capacity.” In southern Nevada, the concern is not that PV panels will not receive enough sunlight – it’s that they will get too hot, Payne points out. The panels are being placed on canopies being built in five city-owned parking lots for its facilities, such as parks and recreation and senior centers. The canopies are designed to protect cars from the sun and simultaneously to generate electricity from it. Payne expects a total of approximately 1,000 parking spaces will be covered at the five locations when the project – which started construction in August 2010 – is completed in March 2011. Not all parking spaces at a facility will be sheltered – at one of the locations, approximately 170 of 238 parking spaces will be under the new canopies. At other facilities, anywhere from 35 to 50 percent of the spaces will be covered. Payne estimates that the facility with 170 parking spaces covered may generate up to 700 kilowatts of electricity. The solar electricity is sent to the grid of NV Energy, the local utility. “Switch gear is
CONSTRUCTION-TODAY.COM MARCH 2011
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Construction Today - March 2011
Construction Today - March 2011
Table of Contents
Bermúdez, Longo, Díaz-Massó (BLDM), S.E.
Universal Builders Supply Inc.
Harold O’Shea Builders
Ralph L. Wadsworth Construction Co. LLC
Hudspeth & Associates Inc.
Dana B. Kenyon Co. – Florida State College at Jacksonville
On Site Management Inc.
Retail Developers in Ontario
Morguard Investments Ltd. – Bramalea City Centre and Expansion
Ivanhoe Cambridge Inc.
Bayfield Realty Advisors Inc.
DZSP 21 LLC
Rudolph and Sletten
Collavino Construction Co. Inc. – One World Trade Center
MW Builders – Fort Leonard Wood AIT Barracks, Phase 1
Weir Welding Co.
JE Dunn Construction Co. – Woman’s Hospital
Manhattan Kraft Construction Co. – Sarasota Police Department Headquarters
P.J. Hoerr Inc. – Advocate BroMenn Medical Center
Poettker Construction – Watterson Towers Renovations
BBL Builders – Columbia Parc at the Bayou District
Reliable Builders Inc.
Joe Hall Roofing
ECM International Inc.
Branch Highways Inc.
GCC America Inc.
HOK: NOAA Pacific Regional Center
Construction Today - March 2011