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Success Stories

Success Stories

Welcome to our Success Stories section. We have highlighted a few of our favorite projects to familiarize yourself with the scope of the work we do ...

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    Friday, 11 May 2012 03:27
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Solar Power Built from the Ground Up

Solar Power Built from th…

23-04-2014 Recent Blog Post

Photovoltaic (PV) system installation is no different than any other craft: quality begins with a...

Boulder County Nets Zero

Boulder County Nets Zero

02-04-2014 Recent Blog Post

The 190 south-facing flush mount solar panel system Sol Energy installed on the Longhorn Vehicle...

Solar Energy Solutions for Municipalities

Solar Energy Solutions fo…

09-03-2014 Recent Blog Post

  Municipalities are going green. Solar energy systems for municipalities are a cost effective, energy efficient...



14-02-2014 Recent Blog Post

What do Olympic medalists and the Carbondale Recreation and Community Center have in common? Their standard...

The City of Rifle Builds a Sustainable Energy Village

The City of Rifle Builds …

08-01-2014 Recent Blog Post

Sol Energy approached the City of Rifle in 2012 to propose installing solar energy systems...

Enlightened Students: Solar Energy Workshops in Latin America (Estudiantes Iluminados: El Taller de energía Solar en América Latina)

Enlightened Students: Sol…

31-12-2013 Recent Blog Post

LA FLOR, Liberia – Sol Energy president Ken Olson traveled to Costa Rica last November...

Garfield County Fairgrounds - 103kW

Garfield County Fairgroun…

02-05-2011 Recent Blog Post

Installed March of 2011 by SoL Energy LLC. Financed by Rockwell International with a 3rd...

Rocky Mountain Institute

Rocky Mountain Institute

02-05-2011 Recent Blog Post

9.75 kW grid-tied PV system with battery back-up

Pros and Cons of Off Grid, Grid Tie and Hybrid PV Systems

Pros and Cons of Off Grid…

25-04-2011 Recent Blog Post

A quick look at alternate power system connections for PV Systems.

Recent Blog Post

  • Solar Power Built from the Ground Up

    Photovoltaic (PV) system installation is no different than any other craft: quality begins with a good foundation. And when it comes to ground mount solar panel systems it begins beneath the surface, it begins with the pile driver.

    A pile driving machine is used for ground mount photovoltaic systems and from the viewpoint of solar energy pioneer Ken Olson of Sol Energy: “Pile drivers are an economic and efficient alternative to standard procedures for photovoltaic array installations.”

    Standard procedure used to require multiple steps. First a soil engineer conducts a soil report and the foundation is designed. Then a back hoe digs the holes and sonotube is set inside. Next steel rebar is added. Finally the hole is backfilled with concrete and inspector is called for a site review.

    With the pile driver the engineering data is immediate. Ground supports are driven into the ground with a pile driving machine—no more back hoe. Soil samples are retrieved and inspected on site.

    “We know exactly what the resistive strengths are of what we are putting into the ground,” Olson says.

    The pilings themselves are made of galvanized steel approximately 7-10’ in length. They are set into place according to the design. Once they are plumbed the driving machine pounds them into the earth. Sol Energy sourced their pilings for the City of Rifle projects from S:Flex—a mounting system producer located in Sheridan, Colorado on the Front Range.

    Sol Energy used the pile driver for all of the City of Rifle’s ground mount installations.

  • Boulder County Nets Zero

    The 190 south-facing flush mount solar panel system Sol Energy installed on the Longhorn Vehicle Storage Building for Boulder County is an example of the industry trend: more power.

    “Residential and Commercial PV systems have, until recently, been limited to a maximum of 600 volts,” Sol Energy president Ken Olson says. “[The Boulder project] is a good example of the way the industry is going in terms of higher voltage systems.”

    In recent years, Olson adds, double digit growth of photovoltaic (PV) systems in the utility sector has spurred development of equipment with listed ratings of 1000 Volts. Many in the PV industry believe that these higher voltages are soon to become the new standard in commercial as well as residential PV systems. The Boulder project demonstrates how the PV industry is moving toward lower costs and higher efficiencies.

    Photovoltaic inverter producer SMA Solar Technology Global Product Manager Ken Christensen explains: “Listed 1,000 V PV components provide the same assurance of safety as traditional 600 Volt- rated components, but owners of 1,000 Volt PV systems benefit from significantly reduced costs and increased energy production.”

    The Boulder County Longhorn facility’s PV capacity is 48.45 kilo-Watts and is expected to generate over 75,000 kilo-Watt-hours (kWh) annually. 75,000 kWh helps Boulder County to achieve their green goal with Longhorn: a Net Zero energy building. That means that the all of the building’s energy—heating and cooling—is provided on-site.

    “[Boulder County] did all of its [building designs] as efficiently as possible,” says Boulder County Project Coordinator Ron Diederichsen. And with the addition of Longhorn’s PV system to their other clean energy buildings, Boulder County’s facilities “total one megawatt.”

    Megawatt equals one million watts. That’s a lot of clean, green power.



  • Solar Energy Solutions for Municipalities


    Municipalities are going green. Solar energy systems for municipalities are a cost effective, energy efficient alternative to traditional utility services. The path from a heavy carbon footprint to a more sustainable energy strategy is a partnership, the first step of which is a municipality’s solar energy awareness.

    “Progressive municipalities are looking forward to cleaner, greener power,” Sol Energy president Ken Olson says.  “They subscribe to the concept of the new energy economy.”

    Just knowing solar energy is cleaner is not enough for city officials to move forward. They have a responsibility to their tax payers and the city budget bottom line. The good news for solar energy partnerships is that the municipality’s cost is zero, with significant savings over time.

    “With third-party financing it will cost [municipalities] no money up front,” says Olson, “and will save [their taxpayers] from day one.”

    Private third-party financiers take advantage of tax credits. Municipalities cannot. Through a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), the financiers own and manage the systems. Municipalities buy the clean energy at a cost that is less than what they would otherwise pay to a utility company. The end result is no cash up front for the municipality and substantial energy savings over the years of the lease.

    A model program is the City of Rifle, Colorado. City officials committed to a sustainable “Energy Village” strategy, including Sol Energy’s design and installation of eight photovoltaic (PV) systems. The City estimates savings of $400K over the next twenty years.