Replacements, Ltd. based in Greensboro, North Carolina, is the world’s largest retailer of china, crystal, and silver. The company specializes in locating and supplying hard-to-find and discontinued patterns. Their flagship location houses approximately 12 million items from around 450,000 patterns. And their arena-sized warehouse spans eight football fields (a 300,000 square foot building).
Sustainability in Energy and Sustainability in Business
Always proponents of sustainability, Replacements Ltd. is also an avid practitioner of recycling throughout their facility. Their very business model after all is predicated on preserving and locating difficult-to-procure fine china and collectibles. They know something about preserving the past and waste-not, want not. Taking this “green” approach one step further, Replacements took the next step in renewable energy by embarking on a solar panel project for their rooftop.
Replacements Ltd. had long considered solar power so when they expanded into a larger facility, they designed the roof to specifically sustain the additional weight of solar panels - making it a “solar ready” rooftop from the beginning.
Hoping to offset over 30% of their total energy use, Replacements Ltd. sought out a company who specialized in large-scale rooftop PV array installation. Such an undertaking meant many qualified companies vying for the project. Ultimately though, the competition could not match the stellar reputation, high recommendations, and overall value of Yes Solar Solutions (YSS). They won the contract.
Kathy Miller, Co-Founder and CEO of Yes Solar Solutions in Cary, North Carolina, was enthusiastic about Replacements Ltd.’s plans for solar expansion. To Kathy and her husband Stew, this PV project was yet another opportunity for them to achieve what led them into this business in the first place: “preparing the next generation for a sustainable future.” And it was an opportunity to work side-by-side with a company as dedicated to the environment as they are. Yes Solar fully understands the positive impact solar add-ons can have on companies and on their bottom line. From energy savings to financial benefits, solar projects are immense undertakings, yet they can yield huge savings.
New Partner, Same Approach to Meeting Customer Vision and Expectations
Never having worked with Replacements Ltd. before was no barrier to efficient operations. A leader in the industry, Yes Solar are experts in logistics, industry standards, and sourcing the highest quality materials and equipment. To ensure a smooth project timeline, Yes Solar enlisted the services of a distributor who they had successfully worked with on a number of prior occasions.
Design in hand, Yes Solar Solutions went to a trusted source for material acquisition. CivicSolar (with offices in California, Boston, and Texas) offers a full selection of module, inverters, racking, and storage equipment for solar installation. Having partnered on other projects since 2016, Yes Solar’s Director of Operations, Rob Smith, reached out to CivicSolar looking for racking solutions for an extensive 1.32 MW rooftop project they had in the works. A solar project of this magnitude would require some logistics magic. Yes Solar arranged for all materials to ship directly to the job site. Mary Jane Gilliland, Account Manager from CivicSolar, worked closely with Yes Solar to ensure smooth shipments and consistent timelines.
But Those Solar Panels Won’t Hold Themselves to the Roof
Yes Solar Solutions provided a bill of materials for the project utilizing the IronRidge rail system (offices in California, Arizona, and Pennsylvania), and S-5!® clamps. In order to provide the most advantageous quote for YSS, CivicSolar cooperated with S-5! and IronRidge to produce a pricing and logistical plan that steered Yes Solar towards success.
Coordinating lead times for large material quantities, Civic and Yes Solar Solutions worked closely to ensure smooth and predictable timelines on all deliveries involved in the project. All materials were shipped and delivered according to the anticipated timeline and the project was successfully installed on time. According to Stew Miller, Co-Founder and President of Yes Solar Solutions,
“This project was a result of industry support, as the referral came from a utility scaled solar company. When we got the contract, there was a sudden shortage of solar modules, and another solar company helped us source the materials. It was a good example of how solar companies can work together to the benefit of a customer and the industry.”
Swift Installation Aided by Non-Penetrating S-5! Clamps
The solar array on the Replacements Ltd. building needed an attachment solution that would not only ease installation but also be low cost and low weight. S-5! non-penetrating clamps achieved these requirements building a strong foundation of savings across the board for the entire project.
During clamp installation, a plywood walkway was also installed to help with crew safety as well as installation efficiency. By facilitating navigation, crews could inspect the roof, perform maintenance, and protect the existing metal roof.
The S-5-H Clamp
S-5! clamps were selected because they met the demanding specs required by installation, and they have the rigorous testing data to back them up. The racking system components and conduit lines on the rail system (installed over a two-month period) are supported with S-5-H clamps. These clamps accommodate metal roof panels with a horizontal seam and offer zero roof penetration. The design of the clamp features two pieces, making it a perfect choice for this project, as it can be installed anywhere along the length of the rib.
The final result of Replacements Ltd. rooftop solar array project is a sight to see. Spanning three-quarters of the entire surface of the arena-sized shopping facility, or 200,000 square feet, the PV system will help the company save around $100,000 per year in electricity costs. The array is divided into four separate systems, all on the same roof. It is also the largest net-metered project in North Carolina, which means excess power can be returned to the grid for credit.