GM relies on solar to power facility

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Bel Air, Md. — ARC Construction Services, Inc. has joined a team of energy and electrical experts to install a solar panel array for General Motors that will help power GM’s eMotor building at their Baltimore Operations facility.

Already a highly green and environmentally friendly campus, GM’s Baltimore Operations currently features a 1.23 megawatt rooftop solar array. The new system will feature approximately 2,420 5-by-3 solar panels, covering 87 percent of the roof area of the eMotor building; a 110,500-square-foot addition that manufactures transmissions and torque converters for GM vehicles. The system will produce approximately 757 MWh per year. The facility has won multiple awards in recognition of its environmental efforts, including the Maryland Green Registry Leadership Award in both 2010 and 2012; the Wildlife Habitat Council certification; and first place in the Baltimore Business Journal’s Annual Green Business Awards event in 2011.

Empower Energies, Union Electric Company and ARC are in the beginning stages of an intricate installation process that involves an extreme attention to detail and strict adherence to safety protocols. ARC is installing the solar panels and racking system that will hold up the array designed by Empower Energies. Union Electric will handle wiring of the system to transformers.

The solar array racking system, designed by Applied Energy Technologies, connects the solar panels to the roof and allows for tilting toward the sun. The intricate system can withstand extreme weather conditions and wind speed up to 80 mph. Safety is the highest priority for ARC workers installing the system. ARC team members receive special training from AET and follow strict protocols to ensure their safety while working on a roof 30 feet off the ground. A safety fence and loading area are marked with flags, and all workers must be secured by rope to a stationary object, preventing them from getting any closer than 10 feet from the edge of the roof.

“There is a tremendous benefit to having a stable crew that can be cross-trained to work a variety of jobs,” said ARC President, Nick Thrappas. “The ‘green economy’ business is growing and ARC is a company that seeks to adapt to new technologies. We have a good working relationship with Union Electric, and we look forward to working together on future solar projects.”

ARC is in its second year of completing panel and racking installation for solar projects, and this is their fourth project in conjunction with Union Electric. Due to inclement weather conditions, the crew has experienced some delays; however, the project is estimated to be completed by mid-March.

“Union Electric Company, LLC is proud to have ARC Construction Services working with us again on the GM Allison Transmission eMotor Building solar project,” says Company President Glen Hastings. “We have also used ARC on other solar projects at both the Allison Transmission Plant and Brandon Shores Generating Station. Due to their professionalism and workmanship, we plan to use ARC on many more projects in the future.”

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