Boston-Area Department Store Solar Panels

Boston, Massachusetts

Boston-Area-Department-Store-Solar-Panels-Partial-InstallationKCI’s team of structural engineers analyzed whether photovoltaic (PV) panels could be placed on the roofs of five department stores. Through an agreement with Constellation, Phoenix Solar was contracted to install solar panels atop the buildings. This technology will serve to reduce their carbon footprint and make their stores more environmentally friendly. Using a variety of photo-voltaic systems, this retail chain will reduce their CO2 emissions by 195 million pounds over 30 years, which is equivalent to planting 27,400 acres of trees or removing 19,500 cars from our roads and reduces its energy consumption by 40%.The photo-voltaic systems for these projects are comprised of an average of 1,000 solar panel arrays with corresponding supports, power inverters, weather station, utility information system, building tie-in and corresponding electrical switchgear. The project includes installation of the “Panel-Claw” PV system, conduit and wiring into the building’s mechanical/electrical room, and installing metering and electrical switches to incorporate the new photo-voltaic system into the building electrical system.

When the initial structural engineer failed to provide the timely support needed, Constellation referred Phoenix to KCI based on past experience working on similar projects. Phoenix contacted the firm late on a Tuesday night and by the following Monday, a KCI structural engineer was onsite in Boston inspecting the first two sites. Over the course of three weeks, our team completed all inspections, provided the necessary documentation to secure permits, and developed staging plans to lift and place the heavy pallets on each rooftop. KCI succeeded in relieving a new client’s difficult situation, meeting all deadlines under a demanding schedule and minimizing construction during the department store’s busy holiday shopping season.

In addition to the demanding project schedule, a lack of detailed information on each building added to the challenges.

Kenneth G. Dill, PEPractice Leader / Senior Structural Engineer

Kenneth G. Dill, PE

Following engineering analysis, KCI provided full-time, on-site inspection, and coordination with facility management services, for the installation at two sites. Specific responsibilities included working with the client to comply with building permits, staging of equipment and material, discussing building access and work hours, parking area for the project, and the integration of photo-voltaic system to internal wiring and metering of mechanical/electrical/plumbing room. Before the project began, our team assisted with constructability review of plans, specifications and contractor sequences/schedule of activities. Every day, the KCI team reviewed test reports of the PV system. Minimizing the impact of the construction operations to the retail customers and public was of paramount concern to all stakeholders on these projects.