Contributed by SMI

Hopkins County officials, Sheffield Metals International, Horn Brothers Roofing and other area business and civic leaders marked the grand opening of a 190kW building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) rooftop project atop the Hopkins County Civic Center, in Houston, Texas, on May 4, 2011. Hopkins County Judge Chris Brown, and former Hopkins County Judge Cletis Millsap, each flipped a switch to activate the two inverters.

The million-dollar project, which was completed earlier this year, has a zero-year payback, with $827,000 funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and an additional $175,000 in rebates by area utility provider Oncor, which supplies electricity to approximately 7 million consumers in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and surrounding cities. Electrical installation was done by Dallas-Forth Worth company, CamSolar.

Preliminary calculations estimate the roof will produce approximately 292,355 kWh, saving approximately $45,000 per year, and reduce 454,874 lbs. of CO2 annually. The thin-film solar system integrates esthetically within the standing seams of the metal roof on this multi-purpose facility with meeting rooms, an air-conditioned coliseum, a 40,000-square-foot livestock pavilion, a 1,500-seat theatre and a new Equine Pavilion.

This project represents the largest single building-integrated thin film laminate solar array on a low slope metal roof in the state, with many of the integrated panels running as 170’ continuous panels. The sustainability benefits include using the industry’s most advanced retrofit framing system, and a 45,000-square-foot area over the horse stables, which Horn Brothers covered with Sheffield Metals International (SMI) SOLR metal roof panels. 

Also unique to the project was the use of funding offered through the ARRA, and energy rebates. Horn Brothers and SMI ensured that the project met all the necessary standards to qualify for ARRA and CamSolar worked with Oncor to provide additional rebates. Adding to the renewable energy benefits of the new system, the facility will also be able to collect data from the system in real time and utilize the information to calculate savings.