The Provo Office of the Bureau of Reclamation Doesn't Just Reclaim Water: A New Solar Panel System Using TRA Snow and Sun's Solar Mounting System Captures Energy

The Provo Office of the Bureau of Reclamation installs solar panels using local supplier, TRA Snow and Sun's solar mounting system, capturing about 24 KW of electric power. They are planning for more panels in the near future.

Provo, Utah August 19, 2014

The Provo Office of the Bureau of Reclamation completed a ground mount, 96 panel solar energy system in a former unused grassy area on the south side of their building located at 302 East 1860 South in Provo this summer. Local company, TRA Snow and Sun, Inc. of American Fork, Utah, manufacturer of solar mounting systems and snow retention systems, supplied the ground mounting for the panels and Intermountain Wind and Solar was the integrator.

The Bureau of Reclamation office is a regional office for the Department of the Interior Bureau of Reclamation whose mission is "to manage, develop, and protect water and related resources in an environmentally and economically sound manner in the interest of the American public." It is the agency responsible for many dams and water conservation projects in the western US. Established in 1958 in Spanish Fork, the Provo regional office has been located in south Provo's East Bay Business Center since 1984.

As part of the mandate by the federal government's Renewable Energy Priority Goal, Reclamation's 2014 budget includes money to help integrate large [and smaller] amounts of different renewable resources such as wind and solar into the electric grid."

According to Josh Kresge, Engineering Technician, the Provo Office has been proactive regarding this goal by removing the water-absorbing grass and recreating that space into an energy producer. "The solar project was part of an effort to protect our environment by becoming more energy efficient. Our office has also recently updated to more energy efficient heating and air conditioning systems, xeriscaped the property using native plants and rocks, and installed a rain water harvesting system." Residents of the community along Utah's Wasatch mountain range know that there is an environmental pollution problem, particularly in the winter when inversions trap particulates in the air. Kresge added, "All we need to do is look up at the sky in the winter to know we need to be more pro-active about protecting the environment."

The expected energy capture of the office's new solar system is about 24 KW of DC power, which will invert to about 19 KW of AC power. TRA's Ground Mount supporting rails and hardware, anchored to the ground where the lawn used to be, are part several basic components: 8 solar panel arrays aligned into two parallel rows ground-mounted on the south side of the office building; a circuit combiner box located next to the arrays; 3 DC disconnect switches located above the circuit combiner; 3 DC/AC inverters located inside the building's electrical room; and a utility disconnect, production meter and net meter located on the east side of the office building. The system also features a device to measure electric output, diagnose problems and monitor and record overall system function. Since 2009, Provo City has a cap on net-metering at 25 KW of AC power. The next phase will add more panels to reach this cap and attach to the two rows of the original project.

Jake Owsley of TRA Snow and Sun explains that his company is working to engineer the next phase of the project which will also use the Ground Mount System. "TRA Snow and Sun engineers all our solar mounting systems for free based on specific needs like the ones at the Provo Reclamation office which included a southern exposure, 46 pounds per square foot snow load and desire to keep the array under the height of the window sill line. The Provo Bureau of Reclamation solar mounting system was a custom Ground Mount System and not something we stock, so a lot of design and engineering went into this project. We are all ready for the next phase, which will be similar."

TRA Snow and Sun, Inc., located in American Fork, Utah, offers Roof Snow Retention Devices, Solar Mounting Systems and Roof Flashing Solutions. They supply to all types of customers, from the individual homeowner to the big developer and free engineered designs of all their systems. For more information call Jake Owsley at TRA Snow and Sun at 800-606-8980, jowsley(at)trasnowadsun(dot)com, or visit

The Department of the Interior Bureau of Reclamation was established in 1902 and is best known for the dams, powerplants, and canals it constructed in the 17 western states. These water projects led to homesteading and promoted the economic development of the West. For more information visit their website at

Intermountain Wind and Solar, located in Woods Cross Utah, is the region's leading installer of renewable energy systems, including solar and wind power products, as well as generators and off-grid systems. For more information, call Jack Matsen at (801) 298-5255 or visit their website at

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