The Minneapolis Convention Center Solar Project was a collaborative effort between the City of Minneapolis, Xcel Energy, and Best Power Int'l, LLC.

Case Study - Minneapolis Convention Center

Marcelo Gomez | Unirac



The Minneapolis Convention Center Solar Project was a collaborative effort between the City of Minneapolis, Xcel Energy, and Best Power Int’l, LLC. The City of Minneapolis was awarded a Renewable Development Fund grant from Xcel Energy to fund the construction of the system. The system is owned and operated by Best Power Int’l, LLC, which leases the roof and sells power back to the City of Minneapolis.

 
 Photo Credit - Westwood Professional Services
 
Unirac was selected by Westwood Professional Services for this 600 kw solar installation on top of the Minneapolis Convention Center. The Unirac ISYS Roof Mount (IRM) system consisted of 2,613 photovoltaic modules that produce approximately 750 MWh of electricity per year. This makes the installation one of the largest in the Midwest and one of the largest overall commercial rooftop systems to utilize a 30-degree tilt.
 
Unirac was selected based on team’s ability to work within the design specifications of the product and their outstanding engineering standards. The Unirac IRM system was able to support the project’s unique requirements by providing enhanced structural integrity without incurring unnecessary costs. In addition, IRM’s ability to satisfy 90-120 mph basic wind speeds offered extra reassurance on a site at 70 feet above ground. IRM’s extreme flexibility — allowing for the adjustment of north-south beams and the supports beneath those beams — was critical for load support and was able to respond to sub-arrays in one section that required a 45-degree rotation to the building in order to capture the most solar gain. IRM’s best-in-class functionality, specifically its superior strength-to-weight ratio, was leveraged to ensure project success.

Unusual situations or problems
There were several problems to address in the design and installation of the Minneapolis Convention Center Project. An irregular rooftop design with slopes in multiple directions required the utilization of adjustable feet to ensure an array in plane or level with the roof, the northern latitude created the need for steep mounting angles, and obstacles on the roof required very specific project design. Additionally, the location presented harsh climactic elements such as snowdrifts up to eight feet high and loads of more than 100 pounds per square foot. These challenges were met by a customized IRM configured to a 30-degree tilt to optimize solar capture and output.

List of Products used:
Unirac ISYS Roof Mount (IRM)

 
Photo Credit - Westwood Professional Services


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