A Talented Team and the Right Products Secure Massive 1.32 MW Solar Array

Replacements, Ltd.’s facility in in Greensboro, North Carolina, is topped by a 200,000-square-foot array of photovoltaic panels. Photos: S-5!

Replacements Ltd., based in Greensboro, North Carolina, touts itself as the world’s largest retailer of china, crystal and silver. The company specializes in locating and supplying hard-to-find and discontinued patterns. Their flagship location houses approximately 12 million items from around 450,000 patterns, and their arena-sized warehouse spans eight football fields.

Always proponents of sustainability, Replacements Ltd. is also an avid practitioner of recycling throughout the facility. The company’s very business model, after all, is predicated on locating and preserving difficult-to-procure fine china and collectibles. Taking this green approach one step further, Replacements Ltd. embraced renewable energy by embarking on a solar panel project for the facility’s rooftop.

Replacements Ltd. had long considered solar power, so when the company expanded into a larger facility, the standing seam metal roof was designed to sustain the additional weight of solar panels.

The Solar Installer and the Distributor

Hoping to offset more than 30 percent of the facility’s total energy use, Replacements Ltd. sought out a company that specialized in large-scale rooftop PV array installation. Such an undertaking meant many qualified companies would be vying for the project. Ultimately though, the competition could not match the stellar reputation, high recommendations, and overall value of Yes Solar Solutions (YSS). The company won the contract.

S-5-H clamps from S-5! were used to support the racking system components and conduit lines on the rail system. The design of the non-penetrating clamp allows it to be installed anywhere along the length of the rib.

Kathy Miller, co-founder and CEO of Yes Solar Solutions in Cary, North Carolina, was enthusiastic about Replacements Ltd.’s plans for solar expansion. To Kathy and her husband Stew, this PV project was yet another opportunity for them to achieve what led them into this business in the first place: “preparing the next generation for a sustainable future.” It was also an opportunity to work side-by-side with a company as dedicated to the environment as they are. YSS fully understands the positive impact solar add-ons can have on companies and on their bottom line.

Never having worked with Replacements Ltd. before was no barrier to efficient operations. The team at Yes Solar includes experts in logistics, industry standards, and sourcing the highest quality materials and equipment. To ensure a smooth project timeline, Yes Solar enlisted the services of a distributor the company had successfully worked with on a number of prior occasions.

Design in hand, Yes Solar Solutions went to a trusted source for material acquisition. CivicSolar, with offices in California, Massachusetts, and Texas, offers a full selection of module, inverters, racking, and storage equipment for solar installation. Having partnered on other projects since 2016, Yes Solar’s director of operations, Rob Smith, reached out to CivicSolar looking for racking solutions for an extensive 1.32 MW rooftop project they had in the works. A solar project of this magnitude would require some logistics magic. Yes Solar arranged for all materials to ship directly to the jobsite. Mary Jane Gilliland, Account Manager from CivicSolar, worked closely with Yes Solar to ensure smooth shipments and consistent timelines.

Mounting the Solar Panels

Yes Solar Solutions provided a bill of materials for the project utilizing the IronRidge rail system and S-5! clamps. In order to provide the most advantageous quote for YSS, CivicSolar cooperated with S-5! and IronRidge to produce a pricing and logistical plan that steered Yes Solar towards success.

CivicSolar supplied all necessary metal roof attachment clamps to secure all racking system components and conduit lines for the rail system. During the installation, a plywood walkway was installed to protect the metal roof.

Coordinating lead times for large material quantities, Civic and Yes Solar Solutions worked closely to ensure smooth and predictable timelines on all deliveries involved in the project. All materials were shipped and delivered according to the anticipated timeline and the project was successfully installed on time. According to Stew Miller, co-founder and president of Yes Solar Solutions, “This project was a result of industry support, as the referral came from a utility scaled solar company. When we got the contract, there was a sudden shortage of solar modules, and another solar company helped us source the materials. It was a good example of how solar companies can work together to the benefit of a customer and the industry.”

The solar array on the Replacements Ltd. building needed an attachment solution that would not only ease installation, but also be low cost and lightweight. S-5! non-penetrating clamps achieved these requirements building a strong foundation of savings across the board for the entire project.

During clamp installation, a plywood walkway was also installed to help with crew safety as well as installation efficiency. By facilitating navigation, crews could inspect the roof, perform maintenance, and protect the existing metal roof.

S-5! clamps were selected because they met the demanding specs required by installation, and they have the rigorous testing data to back them up. The racking system components and conduit lines on the rail system are supported with S-5-H clamps. The clamps accommodate metal roof panels with a horizontal seam and do not penetrate the roof. The design of the clamp features two pieces, making it a perfect choice for this project, as it can be installed anywhere along the length of the rib.

Long-Term Outlook

The final result of Replacements Ltd. rooftop solar array project is a sight to see. Spanning three-quarters of the entire surface of the arena-sized shopping facility, or 200,000 square feet, the PV system will help the company save around $100,000 per year in electricity costs. The array is divided into four separate systems, all on the same roof. It is also the largest net-metered project in North Carolina, and excess power can be returned to the grid for credit.

TEAM

Owner: Replacements Ltd., Greensboro, North Carolina, www.replacements.com

Solar Installer: Yes Solar Solutions, Cary, North Carolina, https://yessolarsolutions.com

Distributor: CivicSolar, Boston, Massachusetts, www.civicsolar.com

MATERIALS

Clamps: S-5-H clamps, S-5!, www.s-5.com

Mounting System: IronRidge rail system, IronRidge, www.ironridge.com

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