CEC Solar Awards finalist

Car showroom, Moorabbin Airport, Melbourne

CATEGORY: 30-240kW

Tristan Nowak of Solgen Energy Group and Patrick Falzon and Andrew Trist of Peninsula Solar & Electrical

Plans for a rooftop solar system anywhere near an airport will bring all sorts of extra complications and this 50kW project on a showroom that displays Bentleys, Porsches and Teslas was no different for designers at Solgen Energy Group. First of all there had to be no chance the modules would reflect any hazardous glare onto the runway glideslopes and air traffic control tower.

“The process of approvals can be arduous and lengthy, therefore designs are needed to be realized and submitted as early as possible,” Solgen Energy Group’s Tristan Nowak tells EcoGeneration.

Seeing as the roof was pitched to the south, the arrays were reverse-tilted towards the equator and installed at an oblique tilt around 53° from north. “Our aim was to maximise production by having the modules oriented as close to due north as possible,” Nowak says. “However, even though we bolstered the mounting system with a high-capacity railing and double fixings, we still had to deviate slightly from the intended orientation to reduce the span between available fixing points so that we maintained structural compliance.”

Being a dealer of luxury brands, the client was also particular about keeping things tidy. “Certain areas of the site were not entirely accessible. The internal concrete slab of the building was a specialized surface – for displaying prestige cars – and there was a strict requirement to not make any marks on it during construction,” Nowak says.

“Our installers had to change into soft-soled shoes when they came down from the roof to access any amenities on the polished concrete surface. Even the scissor lifts needed non-marking tyres.”

The system only covers half the roof because the client was keen to keep a simple, stylish street façade (which in no way suggests PV modules are unattractive!). The system features 124 Trina Tallmax 405W panels and two Huawei SUN2000-20KTL Inverter.