With Solar, the Sky is the Limit
Canadian Propety Management | Oct 25, 2022
Kevin Vogt, BSc, P.Eng., LEED® Green Associate | Project Engineer
As sustainability mandates and the high cost of utilities continue to drive commercial property owners to seek out innovative solutions, those looking to reduce overhead and save on energy should consider harnessing the power of the sun. Photovoltaic solar panels have come a long way in recent years, and the benefits are steadily growing.
“Solar panels continue to come down in cost, and they’re more economically favourable thanks to a range of eligible subsidies and grants,” said Kevin Vogt, Project Engineer with RJC Engineers. “Standardized modules and mounting solutions have made it possible to install them on a greater variety of roofing and standalone structures, including flat roofs, peaked roofs, and vertical surfaces, so the opportunities for this technology have opened up considerably.”
Another leap forward is the fact that data is more readily available for those considering a new solar array. Unlike a few years ago, building owners exploring their options can predetermine the return period on their upfront capital cost by inputting key factors like the size of the array, efficiency of the panel, orientation, and utility costs—meaning there’s far less guess work and fewer questions about sola technology’s effectiveness.
In fact, the possibilities are proving to be quite significant. Case in point: at CF Chinook Centre in Calgary, AB, Vogt and his team recently assisted with the structural aspects of a solar installation project involving 1,900 panels on behalf of Cadillac Fairview and ENMAX Power.
For its part, RJC was involved with reviewing the effects of the additional loads on the existing roof structure to find workable solar panel layouts to fit within the allowable weight restrictions and coordinating the mounting of two new rooftop transformers.
Since wrapping in 2021, the project has been deemed “an exciting step forward in the adoption of renewable energy sources” with the new system now acting as a secondary network serving high-density areas of the city.