Determining the appropriate size for a behind-the-meter rooftop solar PV system is one of the first and most critical components of the design process for solar PV renewable energy systems. Many factors must be considered, including facility energy consumption and load profile, state and utility policy, the existing electrical infrastructure at the facility, available and usable rooftop space, the availability of incentives or other funding sources, and individual customer goals. Designers must balance these factors appropriately to optimize system size for a given facility.
In cases where one factor is not clearly limiting, determining the weight to give each of the factors can be difficult. An iterative process with close collaboration between the designer and the customer results in a system size satisfactory to all parties.
We present here a case study on sizing a 7.9 MWdc solar PV system for the Ashley Furniture Industries, Inc. manufacturing facility in Leesport, Pennsylvania. We walk through how each of these factors influenced the final system sizing and how an iterative, collaborative process in which all factors were considered resulted in one of the largest behind the meter rooftop solar PV systems installed in the country to date.
Alysa Hinde, MS
Project Development Manager
Alysa is a key member of the SunPeak project development team. With her advanced engineering skills and background in energy analysis, Alysa deftly navigates issues relating to utility coordination, interconnection and energy and rates analyses. She also supports customers by researching local financial incentives and helping them apply for renewable energy grants.
Alysa earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and later a Master of Science in Biological Systems Engineering with certificates in International Engineering and Energy Analysis and Policy.
Alysa’s interest in environmental issues started early and stems from her many outdoor interests. She pursued her engineering degrees with the intent to work in renewables. Prior to joining SunPeak, Alysa held positions within Wisconsin’s Focus on Energy program and the University of Wisconsin engineering department.