Milwaukee high-rise adds 83-ft vertical solar array

Builder Dominion Properties wanted to turn the brick wall of one of the largest office buildings in Shorewood, Wisc. into a valuable asset. The result is an innovative 83-foot vertical solar array on the side of the seven-story building. The tenants of this building can look forward to a reduction in their annual energy costs: the solar system is expected to produce around 58,000 kWh per year – this corresponds to the annual energy consumption of six households.

“Solar energy represents a tremendous market opportunity for commercial office locations,” said Mike O’Connor, co-founder of Dominion Properties. “Because this is an office building where most of the energy is consumed during typical working hours, some of the building’s energy will come from solar energy. This means our tenants can enjoy savings on their energy bills, which is especially important today as energy bills continue to skyrocket. This project is the first of many, and we hope it will encourage other developers to take advantage of otherwise wasted space in high-rise buildings by using solar energy as a clean, cost-saving energy source.”

design decisions | The fabrication of such a vertical solar array – in a populated area with shading from neighboring buildings – presented a significant challenge. The installer, Arch Solar of Wisconsin, chose SolarEdge’s DC-optimized technology for the project to overcome the inherent design challenges for to overcome vertical solar systems.

“This far north of Milwaukee is the ideal installation for modules at a 23° angle for maximum sun exposure and for clearing snow,” said JD Smith, Arch Solar’s head of business development. “However, in wall installations like the vertical high-rise array at Dominion Properties, this is a more complex challenge, as the modules must be mounted at 90° angles.”

The 54 kW array consists of 120 solar panels secured with wall anchors in an array 83 feet high and 23 feet wide, and three SolarEdge inverters with Synergy technology and SolarEdge power optimizers attached to the panels to maximize the performance of each module in the array.

Smith continues, “An additional benefit of using SolarEdge is the ability to oversize the Synergy inverters by up to 200%. This will allow Dominion Properties to add more modules to the array in the future should power demands increase without having to invest in new equipment.”

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Keywords: Commercial and Industrial, SolarEdge

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