Construction Today - Volume 16, Issue 2 - 119
'We've built a crew around veterans who
have the same type of background I do.'
"Installing a PV system on the roof of a Target store is no different
than installing it on the roof of a military warehouse building in
terms of technology and equipment," he says. "The main difference
is the military and government are a tougher customer with high
standards of safety, security and inspection processes. If you can do
military work, you can easily do commercial projects."
On Wake Island
Multinational energy services company The Wood Group recently
awarded HSGS a contract to design, engineer and build a solar microgrid system on the U.S. Air Force's base on Wake Island. The system
will include a 740-kw ground-mounted PV system and battery
energy storage system. Construction will begin in August.
Located to the west of the International Date Line in the North Pacific Ocean, Wake Island is less than three square miles in total area.
A microgrid provides the island and other similarly remote locations
with a more resilient source of energy than a traditional energy grid,
Wake Island's remote location poses logistical challenges for the
company. "The only way to get there is to take a U.S. Air Force plane
that flies out once every two weeks," McNeil says.
Once the HSGS crew arrives on the island, they will live in 40-footlong modified shipping containers. Three crewmembers will sleep in
each container and have their own 12- by 8- by 8-foot bedroom.
Materials are being shipped to Hawaii, and then placed on a barge
destined for Wake Island. HSGS has already started shipping crew
vehicles as well as excavators, trucks and other equipment. "We have
to be sure we're taking every single screwdriver and piece of tape
that we will need - there isn't a Home Depot we can stop in and buy
something," McNeil says. "Everything has to be planned out months
Crewmembers will stay on the other island, then take a 90-minute
ferry ride to Meck Island to perform their work, McNeil says.
HSGS's other ongoing projects include installing a 2.5-mw solar
array in El Paso, Texas, for the Drug Enforcement Administration,
and installing PV systems at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Ala.,
for NASA and in Atlanta for the Centers for Disease Control. The
company's recent private-sector projects include installing systems
in Florence, S.C., for Otis Elevator Company, and in Columbia, S.C.,
The company continues to grow in revenue as well as recognition.
McNeil was recently named South Carolina Small Businessperson of
the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration.
"Our revenue has doubled from last year to this year. We are
hiring at a fast and furious pace, adding new equipment and looking
for a larger office space," McNeil says. "In the next two years, I expect
us to double our revenue and continue to grow. The future of the
solar market is expected to be very good."
Commuting by Ferry
HSGS faces a different logistical challenge on another upcoming project. Work will begin in June on a 2.3-mw ballasted and
ground-mounted solar PV system consisting of more than 8,000
panels located on Meck Island in the Kwajalein Atoll, located in the
Republic of the Marshall Islands. Energy provider Johnson Controls
Federal Systems is the company's client.
Kwajalein Atoll consists of 97 islands, 11 of which are leased by
the U.S. government. One of those islands, Meck Island, is a U.S.
Army installation that contains the Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile
Defense Test site.
Equipment and materials destined for Meck Island will first be
sent to a neighboring island in the Kwajalein Atoll. Containers will
be placed four at a time on a cargo barge, which will take them to
Meck Island. A total of 40 to 50 containers will ultimately be sent.
VOLUME 16, ISSUE 2 CONSTRUCTION-TODAY.COM