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O’Fallon, MO and Purchase, NY
Engineer and Constructor (EPC) for 1 MW Phase-2 carports
Adding to our growing portfolio of solar carports, MasterCard contracted with us again in 2017 and 2018 to engineer and construct more carports at their St Louis and New York headquarters. The total PV capacity for Phase 1 and 2 combined is approximately 2.5 MW.
These carports include continuous metal-panel decking to protect the parked cars from snow and rain, as well as providing shade. The structures also included snow guards, gutters, and downspouts to control snow and rainwater. Additionally, the project required tying the downspouts into the groundwater collection system.
Given our experience with PV carports, (as either the Design-Builder or Owner’s Engineer/Agent), the St Louis project was fairly straightforward – linear carport structures on a linear parking lot.
The New York project was much more complicated. The parking garage in the image below is semi-circular, and the elevation of grade changes by almost 30 feet from one end to the other. Since all of the structures are the same height above ground (for vehicle clearance), the top of the southern structure is 20 feet below the top of the garage parapet, and the northern structure is 10 feet above the parapet. Also, the garage may look like a semi-circle … but when engineering and constructing carport structures that need to be exactly the same distance from the concrete wall all the way around, it isn’t really a perfect half circle. Enough difference around that concrete arc that our detailed pre-survey was essential for the successful outcome of the project.
Because of the orientation of the garage, constructing the carports in this way resulted in only a very small loss of energy production. We are certified as a Commercial and Industrial PV installer, through the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), and also have NY-licensed Professional Engineers (PE’s) on staff. We have been engineering and building PV in New York since 2013, so we are veterans in that market. NYSERDA incentives required those losses to be minimized and accurately modeled and certified.
The next biggest challenge of these projects was the limitation on staging area for the steel and PV equipment. Due to the intensive use of the buildings, MasterCard was able to allow only a small part of the parking lot to be used at any time.
The New York project also included a medium-voltage interconnection, since the distance to the point of common coupling was over 500 feet. The interconnection was done in close coordination with ConEd to minimize business interruption.
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