The Calcaire House is a 15,000-square-foot modern Colorado single-family residential compound consisting of five interconnected buildings. Floor-to-ceiling glass connects the interior space to the exterior landscape, offering spectacular views of the Boulder Flatirons. A combination of exposed timber, stone and steel structural design elements, and exposed custom roof trusses complement the gabled standing seam metal roof.

Boulder Roofing Company and The Solar Revolution were charged with installing more than 60 kilowatts of solar dispersed over multiple rooftops.

The Challenge

The city of Boulder has strict energy codes in place and requires all new construction to meet a certain level of efficiency. The requirements are based on the square footage of the home and are more stringent on larger homes–the larger the home, the more efficient it needs to be. The goal is to have a net-zero home, not taking energy from the grid, and the only way for a larger home to achieve this is with solar. A modest home or small addition might only require about 2 kilowatts. A large home might require 20-30kW. 

The most optimal rooftops for solar were also the most visually prominent, and the homeowner was concerned about aesthetics. These concerns were alleviated after seeing a small-scale mock-up of the S-5! PVKIT solution combined with an all-black solar module.

“The Solar Revolution has been utilizing the S-5! PVKIT solution since it first hit the market," said Doug Claxton of the Solar Revolution. "Hands down, it is the best solar mounting solution for metal roofing of any description. At first, we were a little worried about wire management and installing in landscape, but those worries were overcome with our first installation. It’s a piece of cake.

In addition, the area is considered a high-wind area and would require a study to account for wind speeds as the solar installers could only rely on the roof itself and its attachment to the wood sheeting when attaching solar panels using S-5!’s zero-penetration system.

Another difficulty was finding a viable path to route the energy created by the solar panels back to the point of connection with the home’s distribution. The Solar Revolution worked with the builder and the architect, and analyzed photos and design plans to find ways to conceal the conduits. They ultimately found a viable path that was aesthetically pleasing, code compliant and cost-effective.

The Solution

The Solar Revolution installers utilized S-5!’s PVKIT 2.0 to build the solar array. The installation team started at ground level prepping S-5! PVKIT MidGrabs and EdgeGrabs. Another team member prepared the solar modules by installing the power optimizers and managing the various wires. By completing this work on the ground, the roof crew could focus on setting modules, and it minimized their time in harnesses on a steep metal roof. The solar installers prefer to install modules starting with the bottom row and working up. Extra care is taken when aligning the first row. This precision allows for subsequent rows to drop into place on the S-5! PVKIT MidGrabs.

Since installers did not use traditional rail, they did not need the following:

  • Hundreds of standoffs and penetrations
  • Hundreds of L feet
  • Hundreds of feet of aluminum support rail and the associated splices
  • Reduced bonding and grounding materials required for traditional racking systems.

How Did the S-5! PVKIT 2.0 Help? 

  • Cut material costs in half, including freight costs
  • Cut installation costs in half by eliminating the assembly and installation required by traditional racking
  • Minimized the amount of time workers must spend in harnesses on a steep roof
  • Improved aesthetics
  • Eliminated the risk of a voided roof manufacturer warranty ― no holes/no damage.

Long-Term Outlook

With the S-5! PVKIT, the Calcaire House was able to meet the city code requirements for solar and establish itself as an energy-efficient, net-zero home. Because the PVKIT comes in black, it matched the roof nicely, pulling together all of the design elements in an aesthetically pleasing, cost-effective manner – saving the customer time and money on installation and materials.

"Our projects using the PVKIT yield the fastest installation times, lowest material cost and best aesthetics bar none," said Claxton. "We’ve taken a close look at all the competitors’ knock-offs, and they do not compare in quality or even in cost. S-5! has been creating innovative solutions for metal roofs far longer than anyone else, and their expertise is unmatched. We just won’t use anything else on a metal roof. These guys are awesome, and I’ve enjoyed working with their staff on various projects. They tell it like it is and have always treated us like part of the S-5! family.”