Greenwood Hardware Store
Project Location:Seattle, WA
Overview:PV System Size: 9kW
Solar Panels: Silicon Energy
Inverters: Silicon Energy
In the heart of the Greenwood neighborhood in north Seattle lives Greenwood Hardware. The hardware store, part of the TrueValue co-op, has been a fixture in the community for 65 years. The property where the store resides, and the building the store rents, is owned by a Seattle based private family.
When the family bought the property in the mid-2000’s they had an option like many Seattle investors: do we level the property to build a multi-story mixed-use building? Instead they were driven to keep the Hardware store there, and find ways to help keep the community strong. “It’s the right thing to do.”
In April of 2013 the store began remodeling to provide more floor space for energy efficient and earth-friendly products. A&R Solar approached the store and the property owners to see if they would be interested in pursuing solar energy for the building as part of the construction process. Immediately interested, we began the design and proposal process.
We looked at various options that would maximize the roof of the older building. We found several options that looked like they would be great fits for the property and for the business. As we moved through the feasibility stage, we had to look seriously at the structural capacity of the original building. Two engineers and several design revisions later, we had moved the rooftop system from the original structure to the new addition, and designed the array to maximize the solar production in for the limited roof space. After a final review the Greenwood Hardware Store solar array would become a reality.
It was important to everyone involved in the project to think closely about where the materials for the solar energy system came from. Ultimately it was decided to use materials made in Washington State. Designed to have a long life, the Silicon Energy solar panels selected for the project will be performing for the next 65 years of the business’s future. Silicon Energy’s solar panels are made in a factory in Marysville, Washington. The racking system is designed and manufactured by Sunmodo based in Vancouver, Washington. Since the remodel project was just getting underway, A&R Solar had the opportunity to work closely with the builder and roofer from the beginning to coordinate our attachments to the building structure. Using the original roofer allowed the highest levels of quality control for this stage of the project.
It was critical that we connect to the structural members of the building. This was done before the roofing was in place. Once our stanchions were installed, the roofers added layers of insulation and roofing on top of the wood decking, and individually flashed our mounts for optimal waterproofing. After the roofing was complete, we returned to finish assembling the racking. With very little storage space available on the construction site, we had to work closely with the crews, project schedule, and our suppliers to minimize our presence on site. To do this, we delivered the materials directly to the roof as soon as they arrived at the building.
After final coordination with the on-site electrical contractor, our solar energy system was connected to the building’s service equipment. A City of Seattle Department of Development inspector came out not long after, and the system passed inspection the first time.
Because of the visibility of the solar energy system from the street, aesthetics were extremely important to consider the project a success. The Cascade series solar modules are very unique in the solar market, with a nested racking system, and concealed wiring, their aesthetic is unmatched. With the solar panel’s glass-on-glass construction, passers-by can see the “working parts” of the panel—the solar cells.
The Greenwood Hardware solar array went live June 22nd, 2013.
"I want to thank everyone at A&R for the work they did to design and install the new PV panels at the Greenwood True Value store. The panels look great and it’s really nice to know they are generating power." - Mike D. Building Owner
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