Panel Built Goes Solar

by Conrad Walker

Everyone knows building modular is a much "greener" approach to construction; but Panel Built is redefining the phrase "modular is green."

About five months ago, a decision was made to integrate solar power production into the Panel Built facilities as a way to supplement our energy consumption as well as showcase our newest product line. Plans were made, schedules set, and Panel Built is now producing solar power!

This is a great time to invest in solar power. According to Russell Seifert of Creative Solar USA, "[Solar] has shown to be the fastest growing industry over any other in the last 30 years." He states, "we are seeing a more conscious shift with business owners such as Mike and Pat Kiernan as pioneers to bring solar to the forefront in Georgia."

The first phase of the project was a major makeover for the Panel Built "store front" which now includes approximately 3,500 square feet of solar parking canopy. The structural steel for the solar array was fabricated by our steel line, and the installation was performed by a Panel Built install crew. The canopy also acts as covered parking and is expected to produce approximately 67,000 kwh/year.

Phase two of the solar project includes another solar canopy, this time doubling as a storage area for powder-coated steel waiting to be shipped. Not only will this improve material flow at Panel Built, but the nearly 4,800 square feet of solar panels will produce enough energy in a day, week, or year to power approximately 9 average sized house for that same amount of time.

Project manager Harry Nelson says, "This is something we (Panel Built) are all proud of. Not only is our product green, but now our facilities are as well." These solar arrays not only generate power and provide storage, parking and shelter, but they also showcase Panel Built's newest product line. We now offer a full line of solar arrays from solar farms to roof mounted, parking canopies and storage facilities.

Although much of the engineering, fabricating, and installation was performed by Panel Built employees. There were also key portions performed by various companies including: Creative Solar, Thorsland Concrete, and several other local subcontractors. Like many ventures, financing was required and United Community Bank partnered with us to make it all possible. Lastly, our local Blue Ridge Mountain EMC and regional electricity provider TVA were critical to the project and great to work with. Panel Built would like to thank all those whose time and effort went into making this venture successful!

For those interested in solar power, there are incredible government incentives right now that allow a significant reduction in total cost of a solar project. Combine this with the savings created by making your own solar energy, and it's hard not see solar as a win-win.

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