A group of 9th grade STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) students from McIntosh High School in Peachtree City recently got a close-up look at the new solar array providing Crowne Plaza Atlanta SW hotel on Aberdeen Parkway with 25 percent of its power needs. The massive array is one of the largest commercial installations in the Southeast.
Twenty-three students from Kelly McMann’s STEM class spent time hearing about the solar array installation, asking questions and taking a rooftop look at the large array.
Alternative Energy Southeast representative Aaron Scranton told the McIntosh students that the solar array is the largest array in the hospitality industry in Georgia and one of the largest rooftop commercial installations in the Southeast.
“The array was built using extremely high efficiency modules LG N2W400-A5, a 400-watt, 72-cell module,” Scranton said, citing some of the specifics of the array. “The installation has the effect of reducing carbon footprint from the building equivalent to planting 574,298 trees, reducing driving by 49,296,000 gallons of gasoline, recycling 77,888 tons of waste instead of sending to a landfill, or not burning 24,017,540 pounds of coal.”
Requiring five months for the installation, Scranton said the array is very complex for its size, spanning four different buildings, and using 15 different inverters with optimizers monitoring every module installed. It also uses three different types of racking on two different roof types and took approximately 8,600 man-hours to install.
“The array provides 25 percent of the convention centers electricity but even that is enough to completely power 60 average size homes,” said Scranton.
Crowne Plaza Senior Vice President of Operations Bob Patel said the solar array came with a cost of $1.14 million, though he will recoup that expense in seven years.
The visit to Crowne Plaza was significant, said McMann, since her students will be designing a mounting system for solar arrays.
The questions posed to Scranton by the students during the classroom component of the visit were endless, and showed easily displayed their interest in the topic. Those questions included topics such as project components, array capabilities, mounting system capabilities and aspects of the construction and installation process.
“Our intent is to minimize the hotel’s environmental impact and carbon footprint by making the property more energy efficient and reducing its reliance on fossil fuels,” said Crowne Plaza CEO Raj Patel.