How did The ARC install solar power when the roof wasn't designed to support the weight of solar panels?
The ARC Campbelltown was a project tendered out by the Campbelltown Council. It was a building that had limitations on loading the roof.
It has been quite a challenging installation to do. The building of the Arc couldn't actually hold the load of the solar panels initially, so the installers had to get creative with engineering. Risers had to be engineered and integrated into the existing structure of the building to hold the weight of the solar panels. There were limited areas where the solar panels could be installed too. The size of the system was 174 kilowatts. All in all, there were 432 panels all up - 400 watts commercial 32 cell panels.
The installers used less of the panels and therefore, the overall load of the array was decreased. They aimed to achieve the tender requirements with the size of the system by using fewer panels, and therefore less weight.
There were three roof areas that the system was spread across. There were two sections that had tilted panels, and there was also a section where the panels were laid flat on the roof. The difficult part was the area where the tilted array was, where there was an eight-metre span between fixing points. This is where risers were designed to hold the rails. They were special rails that could span eight metres, and actually have the panels attached to them.
There was a lot of custom engineering involved, and it was quite a tricky installation. The building was not designed to support the weight of solar panels, initially. But with the efforts of our solar experts and installers, we have overcome the obstacles that the design of the building imposed on us.
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