2021 APsystems Project Awards *Finally* Announced

2021 was a remarkable year. And while we may be fashionably late in announcing our 2021 project awards, we are thankful for those who submitted entries of their APsystems projects. While it’s certainly true that a degree of the anticipation we felt as 2021 progressed was due to the feeling that we might’ve seen the worst of the health crisis, the year was also galvanizing because of the new spirit of optimism in the fight against climate change, most aptly represented by our new administration’s aggressive approach to finding solutions to the problem. For many, 2021 felt like it could be a turning point.

For APsystems leadership and staff at work, 2021 was also important because technological advances in our chosen field have been substantial (think building-integrated solar), because sales were brisk due to adoption of microinverter tech, and because remarkable designs from our clients were more the rule than the exception. To highlight the work of our clients, we held our annual project awards contest, and we received a huge number of entries.

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While every one of the entries we received for the 2021 project awards contest was worthy, and the decision-making was not easy, we eventually decided that Ontario solar specialist Kajk Constructors should be honored with our residential project design award for their Lakes Park Project, and that Indiana firm A.G. Technologies should take home our commercial award for their El Paso project on behalf of Beck’s Superior Hybrids. We congratulate Kajk Constructors and A.G. Technologies for their ongoing work in the field, and their imaginative and important work using APsystems microinverters. And we thank all the companies who chose to enter the running for the 2021 APsystems Project Awards.

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We would also like to thank all of our customers who made a difference in advancing the cause for solar power in 2021, and advocating for this financially and ecologically rewarding alternative energy source as it grows in popularity and moves toward mainstream acceptance.

The Lakes Park Project: A Versatile Design, an Artful Installation

Kajk Constructors, an Ontario company riding the lucrative wave of solar energy specialism, accepted the challenge of this difficult residential roof installation this year, and their inventive answer to what has become a nagging question during such installations earned them the 2021 APsystems residential award.

Kajk is a thoroughgoing solar firm, and the spirit of meaningful change and damn-the-torpedoes development in an emerging market is evident from a look at their portfolio and project approach. Green from stem to stern, they promote energy conservation throughout the build process, utilizing what might be termed holistic sustainability, a full-circle methodology that even incorporates a build envelope to lower a project’s carbon footprint.

For this project — called the Lakes Park Project — the Kajk team confronted that nagging question yet again: how does one reconcile optimal placement and the access forethought necessary for easy upkeep, updates and repair when dealing with a roof installation? They selected APsystems componentry to help them formulate an answer.

The team reported that the APsystems QS1 quad-unit microinverters were the hardware solution to that perennial installation question, allowing them to come up with a plan for an array that “maximizes energy production” while sandwiching the QS1 microinverters between the two layers of panels, “minimizing both the risk of damage to the panels, and the time spent on maintenance.”

We congratulate Kajk Constructors for their artful design, their abundant experience with solar array installations, their spirit of conservation and iconoclasm, and their ability to use the versatility designed into APsystems’ componentry to its full potential.

Learn more about other 2021 project winners here.

Diversifying and Proliferating Solar: Generosity and Innovation in El Paso, Illinois

APsystems had many worthy commercial entries for this year’s installation awards. But we must say that the winning project’s narrative is particularly complex and exciting. The elements of it are agriculture, North American-built panels, installer-designed proprietary and newly-patented components, and a substantial contingent of APsystems’ YC1000 inverters…all joined under the aegis of solar power.

The firm that took on the project, A.G. Technologies, is a beacon in the Illinois solar industry. Its guiding spirit, Jim Straeter, is familiar enough with the ecological and financial benefits of ‘following the sun’ to adopt it as a secular gospel. And its company sensibility is entirely in-house, with no subcontracting of project elements.

A.G. Technologies’ incorporation of micro-inverter units in their installations, and their use of North American-made panels, makes them both a premium installer and a profoundly meaningful influence in the field. The company that contracted the array, Beck’s Superior Hybrids, was familiar with A.G. Technologies before work began; the company already had three large systems up and running courtesy of A.G. when the El Paso site work launched. Like other forward-thinking companies, Beck’s is fully on board with the substantial economic and environmental rewards of using solar power for commercial operations.

The YC1000 inverters were tailor made for the A.G. Technologies El Paso project. Due to the unusually stout power capabilities of the unit, the A.G. team was able to conduct the installation without the use of transformers and connect directly to the grid; quoting Straeter, “Microinverters in general make designing a project easy and the per-panel reporting makes post-install maintenance much less costly, and improves up-time of the project.” Additionally, the YC1000’s 480v design keeps wire size costs manageable, resulting in considerable savings.

In the end, the Beck’s Superior Hybrids El Paso location employed 30 arrays with 26 Hanwha Q Cell 430w Duo panels, each array using 9 APsystems YC1000 inverters. And a special shout-out to A.G. and their proprietary designs, which were used to facilitate the project and improve performance: the patented Solarcam™ stand that supports each panel, and the side-mount trencher that makes installation safer, faster and cheaper.

We give three cheers to A.G. Technologies and Jim Straeter for their generosity of spirit, their gift for invention in creating the right tool, their advocacy for solar power as a direct competitor of utility-based power, and their remarkable innovation.

Learn more about other 2021 project winners here.

APsystems is proud to announce the winners of our annual Project Awards for 2020

Despite a certain microbial danger, it’s been a dynamic and exciting year at APsystems. Solar power has made significant headway toward becoming a mainstream power option despite the health crisis that defined 2020.

Why is that? Because there are more intelligent and creative people than ever involved in urging our energy culture toward this new, cleaner path to independence. Designers. Developers. Dreamers and builders of the new.

Each year, solar power system components designer and manufacturer APsystems selects two completed solar project installations—one residential, one business—that we feel deserve special recognition for inventiveness, prescience, and cohesion of philosophy and design sensibility. These projects put solar power in its best light, and illuminate the way moving forward as we continue to fight the good fight against those ecological liabilities, fossil fuels.

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This year, we had so many entries that we decided to call attention to both runners-up in each category, and the recipient of a new Special Recognition accolade. The overall winners were Louisiana-based The Next Solar Energy Technology, the solar power project transformed a solar array into a symbol of restored freedom in the Deep South, and SkyFire Energy of Calgary, Alberta provided more than 2.1 MW of solar power to their Jayman houses, with over 6800 modules across more than 1100 systems.  Runners-up were installations from Okanagan Solar and Hot Solar SolutionsA special recognition to Dynamic Solar and Electric NW.

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We hope to see even more contest entries next year, as solar power continues its forward momentum, and new creative forward-thinkers show their chops in the context of our uniquely rewarding industry and its community.

A Timely Solar Power Conversion in the Deep South

One of the most galvanizing 2020 APsystems project entries arrived courtesy of The Next Solar Energy Technology, and it took the APsystems honors for commercial winner in 2020. With an astonishingly prescient sense of timing, the Kenner, Louisiana-based solar power company transformed a solar array into a symbol of restored freedom in the Deep South.

Next Solar Energy was contacted by Liberty Self Storage, a multi-site business in Louisiana, about taking on the conversion project for one of their locations. Liberty Self Storage had dedicated itself to green energy in 2016, commissioning solar conversion for the first 9 of their 12 stores in St. Tammany Parish, but wanted to do something different for this location.

Next Solar Energy’s design arranged the solar panel array into an American flag. In trading string inverters for 64 APsystems microinverters in the project design, they created one of the most energy-efficient locations in the Liberty chain, and helped Liberty take the prize as one of the most progressive mid-sized companies in the South.

Learn more about other 2020 project winners here.

A Calgary Solar Power Connection

It doesn’t only have a marvelous name. Calgary’s SkyFire Energy is one of the most dynamic solar power outfits in Alberta. By linking solar systems and EV charging stations, designing solar/battery hybrid solutions, and positioning their brand via business, agriculture and First Nations project context specialties, SkyFire is one of the most innovative and community-oriented residential solar system providers in the Province. But it was their partnership with and system installations for Jayman Homes, also in Calgary, that made them the overall winners of APsystems residential Project Award for 2020.

SkyFire used APsystems components for their partnership with fellow progressive Calgary business Jayman Homes, a residential contractor who wanted to bring solar panels into the picture as a standard feature on all new builds. The two companies shook hands in 2018. As of their project competition entry date, the SkyFire systems provide more than 2.1 MW of solar power to Jayman houses, with over 6,800 modules across more than 1,100 systems.

Jayman homes are sold with a 6-panel system, and APsystems microinverters are used for every build. The cost/benefit of APsystems products in the context of contracting for developments allowed Jayman to keep the per-home cost down, an attractive feature for younger first-time buyers desiring to offset their new home’s energy footprint.

Learn more about other 2020 project winners here.

A Large Array Supports Business in Washington State

In creating the solar array for the headquarters of Kennewick-based multi-business building CC West, local innovators Hot Solar Solutions had a whale of a time. The company was commissioned to convert the CC West building into a full solar site, giving their engineers and designers nearly 14,000 sq. ft. of roof area to use!

277 panels went into the finished project, making it one of the largest solar arrays in the area: the biggest in the Benton and Franklin PUD areas, and a substantial feather in the cap of the homegrown, grassroots solar power firm. Hybrid hot water heaters throughout the building assist in total electrical consumption being 85% offset by the Hot Solar system.

APsystems microinverters sealed the deal for Hot Solar, providing high efficiency and lowering costs to best competitor bids and give the Kennewick-based company the contract. The result is a 99.7kW system that produces over 115,000 kWh of electricity annually. The CC West building’s energy efficiency is equivalent to taking 218 cars off the road annually.

Learn more about other 2020 project winners here.

 

A Residential Beacon in British Columbia

Headquartered in West Kelowna, British Columbia, Okanagan Solar has worked on residential and business projects across Western and Northwestern Canada, and in Nicaragua, where they’ve been active in volunteer work that promotes solar power as a potent economic and cultural solution.

One of Okanagan’s larger home town projects involved a multiple buildings at apartment community Carrington View. Okanagan was contracted for the last three buildings in the residential building project. The three buildings had to provide 277 kW. The Okanagan team elected to use APsystems 3-Phase YC1000 microinverters for additional efficiency and simplicity of installation. The YC1000 units helped the company bring the project in on time and on budget.

After Okanagan completed the work in mid-2020, Carrington View was graced with the distinction of having the biggest collection of residential solar installations in the Province. The aggregate services all 474 apartments and condominiums, and stands as proof positive that solar is both economically and ecologically advantageous.

Learn more about other 2020 project winners here.

 

Community Confluence: Solar Power and Cultural Identity

For the first time, APsystems annual Project Awards has decided to give special recognition to a solar power company and its project: Yakima’s Dynamic Solar and Electric NW, and their installation at La Casa Hogar, a non-profit collaboration.

Dynamic Solar and Electric NW and La Casa Hogar occupy overlapping cultural and sociological space in Southern Washington State: both organizations are strong representatives of the Latina community in their home town of Yakima, and both are community-oriented and progressive.

In approaching the La Casa Hogar project, Dynamic Solar was therefore engaging with the Yakima community in a profound manner. La Casa Hogar, too, is so involved; a community center that specializes in education, assistance and cultural sustenance, the roots of the organization reach back to the 1980s.

A standing seam metal rooftop array was the 100% energy-offsetting solution Dynamic developed for La Casa Hogar. Using APsystems’ YC600 and QS1 microinverters made the system super-efficient and extremely failure-resistant, and kept the project within the guidelines for the Blue Sky Pacific power grant that funded the project.

Learn more about other 2020 project winners here.

 

Cascadia Solar & SolareAmerica earn 2019 APsystems Project of the Year Awards

Each year, APsystems selects one residential and one business winner for our Project Awards. The fact that solar power is rapidly gaining traction as a bona-fide alternative to traditional energy delivery made the selection process for the 2019 especially difficult! We had more entries than ever to consider.

This year, the APsystems Project of the Year Awards honor Washington’s Cascadia Solar, and Pennsylvania’s SolareAmerica. Both of these companies deserve recognition for their forward thinking, their inventiveness, and for helping so many people and businesses alike go solar at the dawn of this new decade.

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Cascadia Solar took home our Residential Award. This growing firm is based in the northernmost corner of coastal Washington, and services the greater Olympic Peninsula region. APsystems chose to honor their contribution to The Walk, a progressive residential community on scenic Bainbridge Island. To help power The Walk, Cascadia used our QS1 and YC600 micro-inverters, and chose to install them discreetly on roofs, awnings and vertical end-walls.

Our Commercial Award went to SolareAmerica for their Wawa installation. Last fall, Wawa, a Pennsylvania-based company that owns over 400 gas stations in the Northeast, announced that 93 of their stations would be going solar. This store in Toms River is a representative of that new direction. The store uses 90 APsystems QS1 micro-inverters, installed by SolareAmerica, to handle its 360 modules, and deliver its 108 kilowatts.

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APsystems congratulates both winners of our 2019 Project of the Year Awards. And we especially look forward to seeing your entry in 2020, so be on the lookout for more information about the upcoming year’s competition!