Rooftop Solar Panel Installation
University of Miami Frost School of Music located in Coral Gables, Florida
Designed by award-winning architects Yann Weymouth and HOK, and constructed by Skanska USA, the University of Miami’s (UM) new Frost School of Music facility boasts two buildings with 41,089 square feet of upscale teaching spaces and beautiful curb appeal. Located on UM’s Coral Gables campus, the Patricia Louise Frost Music Studios – with triangle-shaped energy-efficient windows and solar arrays – is the first LEED® Platinum certified building project in the City of Coral Gables.
In 2014, Skanska USA, the project’s General Contractor, awarded roofing, waterproofing, and solar project scopes to Advanced Roofing Inc. (ARI) and sister company Advanced Green Technologies (AGT). ARI and AGT were chosen because it is one of the four approved Siplast installers in the area, and the only roofing company to have solar design capabilities and competitive pricing. With in-house divisions including metal fabrication, crane, air conditioning, roofing, and solar energy, along with a healthy balance sheet and commitment to safety, ARI and AGT offers unmatched commercial roofing and solar energy solutions that distinguish it from traditional contractors. Many of the company’s in-house divisions were used for this project.
Working on a new construction building in the middle of an active University brought with it a unique set of challenges along the way including:
Challenge #1: Safety
The general contractor, Skanska USA, required ARI/AGT’s team to maintain stringent safety policies and precautions; including but not limited to: ten minutes of daily group stretching for all onsite employees; mandatory full site safety training for each employee; and every morning all foremen were required to meet and discuss ways to mitigate safety issues. Because this was new construction, the roof could only be accessed via ladders, which also presented challenges with safety/fall protection so a temporary safety railing was left in place for the solar crew and the roofing crew returned to install the coping cap after the system was installed. Additionally, ARI/ AGT’s full-time Safety Team would make routine site visits and hosted fall-protection courses at the office to ensure crews maintained a safe working environment during the project.
Challenge #2: Production
Site conditions were constantly evolving and with so many trades involved in the new construction process, organizing execution was crucial. Coordination among other trades included the architect, GC, electrical contractor, and roof manufacture Siplast on various details of the project as they had changed due to site conditions. Other coordination challenges included working with the electrical contractor onsite for the interconnection to the building and scheduling our in-house Roofing, Metal, and Solar Divisions.
Challenge #3: Environment
Working on new construction in the middle of an active university brought with it a unique set of challenges along the way; however, ARI still implemented the following sustainable design features in order to obtain LEED Platinum status: rooftop solar array, Siplast mod-bit roof system with Eco Active cap sheet to help reduce pollution, and Siplast Waterproofing system with raised pavers.
AGT was tasked to design and build two solar arrays above the new, pollution-reduction roofing membrane at the Frost School of Music totaling 71.5 kW. A Sunlink RMS Racking system was mechanically attached to the roof and can meet 180 MPH wind speeds. The completed solar arrays will offset 13% of the building’s total energy consumption and produce 101.344 Megawatt hours annually. In total, 286 solar panels were installed – featuring Canadian Solar 250W High-Efficiency Mono Crystalline Solar Panels, SMA TriPower Inverters.
The original solar array design called for central inverters; however, due to space constraints on the electrical pad the plan was readjusted to install string inverters. There were additional plan changes to the flashings for the solar racking as well – Siplast Parapro PMMA liquid rein flashing had to be adjusted to a two-ply target patch applied to the support legs for the solar racking attachment.
The completed solar racking system qualified for a 20 YR NDL on all penetration flashings from the roofing manufacturer– and helped the building qualify for two LEED points in the energy efficiency category.
Despite the challenges, the UM Frost School of Music project was completed on time and to the client’s satisfaction.
- Project Name: University of Miami
- Location: Coral Gables, Florida
- Completion Date: Summer 2015
- Project Size: 71.5 kW
- Panel Type: Canadian Solar Mono Crystalline-250
- Racking Type: Sunlink RMS Racking System
- Inverter Type: SMA String
- Roof Type: Mod-Bit
- AGT Role: Design, Procurement, and Construction