Commercial Solar Systems
FOR BUSINESSES IN Western Canada
We Design and Build Solar Systems.
We can help you cut energy costs and implement cost-effective Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) with solar systems for your commercial or industrial building.
Solar Feasibility Studies
Inferno Solar can provide Solar Feasibility Studies for new buildings in Alberta that require studies for Development Permit submission. We can advise on architectural, structural, electrical, and mechanical considerations when you are designing your new building to accommodate solar, while ensuring cost impacts are minimal.
We can also provide budgetary estimates and sample business cases to simplify the process of selecting solar energy for your new building. Our team of skilled engineers and designers can assist your team in making sure your project is a success.
1. Rooftop Solar Array
A rooftop solar array, is a photovoltaic (PV) system that has solar panels mounted on a rooftop of a building – could be multifamily residential, commercial, industrial or agricultural. The rooftop solar array is supported by the building structure and will connect to the electrical distribution system. For flat roofs, the solar array is usually installed using a ballasted system.
The solar panels are mounted to aluminum rails, and the aluminum rails are weighed down with concrete ballast blocks, to keep the solar array in one place in heavy winds and weather. The aluminum rails are provided with protective rubber feet, to ensure the roof is protected from abrasion. This nearly eliminates the need for roof penetrations that can leak over time and reduces cost.
Another common commercial roof is a low-slope metal roof, such as standing seam. For standing seam roofs, we use a non-penetrating clamp to fasten the aluminum rails to the roof structure, providing additional rigidity and actually protecting against heavy winds. The solar panels are fasted to the rack.
Some commercial roofs use trapezoidal tin. In this case, we need to get creative and often use screws with a waterproof adhesive membrane between our racking (mounting) hardware and the roof, to eliminate chances of leaks. The mounting hardware is screwed or lagged directly into the purlins, for a secure mounting surface over the 25+ year life of the system.
Most rooftops have pre-existing mechanical equipment, so we design our systems to work around the structures already on the roof, and we work closely with our Structural Engineering partners to ensure the final design is safe and adheres to the Provincial Building Codes.
We will also carefully design your system to withstand heavy snowfall and wind events to ensure your system lasts.
The great thing about rooftop solar is that you can generate electricity from real estate that is not doing anything useful, besides keeping out the elements. The structure is already in place, no additional foundations required, electrical infrastructure is usually nearby meaning short cable runs, and this combines to make for the cheapest install.
2. Ground Mount Solar Array
When business owners think of installing a solar system on their businesses, rooftop solar is probably the first thing that comes to mind. They might not be aware that you can install solar on the ground.
Ground mount solar systems can be placed anywhere in your yard or field that sees the sun for the majority of the day. They are a great choice for residential, commercial or agricultural use, or on any other site where land is available.
Generally, ground-mounted systems tend to cost 30-50% more than a roof top array, because a foundation and aluminum mounting structure need to be provided. The foundation is typically helical screw piles or concrete blocks on compacted surface such as gravel or tamped earth. Trenching and underground cable is also an additional cost.
The appeal of a ground-mounted array is that it can generally be tilted to a higher angle, and some offer seasonal adjustments. This means you can generate as much as 50% more energy per year out of the same panels, and it its tilted at a high angle in the wintertime, snow will fall right off as soon as the sun hits it. You can also install double-sided (bifacial) solar panels that produce energy from the sun reflected off snow or light-colored surfaces, adding an additional 15-30% energy over a roof mounted solar array.
Ground mount arrays are not restricted by the characteristics of the roof on which they are installed. Ground mounts don’t have to take chimney, mechanical or skylights into their production analysis as they can be located wherever the conditions are best. If your business uses a lot of electricity, your roof may not be big enough to support a solar array that will offset your electricity. On the other hand, a ground-mounted solar system can be sized to match your electricity needs without the restrictions of a rooftop array, assuming there is sufficient yard space.
3. Solar Farm
Solar Farms are large-scale ground-mounted solar projects, where solar panels are used to harvest the energy from the sun turning it from solar energy into electric energy. Due to their size solar farms are usually placed on fields, vacant land, or contaminated sites.
Unlike rooftop or business ground-mounted solar panel systems, solar farms are mainly developed to provide energy to the grid and not a single business. These are usually complex projects with complex financing and are owned and operated by companies that participate in the power market, or have very high-power needs for nationwide operations, industrial plants, or clean energy mandates.