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SunLink's Balance of System Approach Affords the Perfect Solution to DialAmerica's Sustainability Needs

The Project

DialAmerica was founded in 1957 and is one of the nation's largest privately owned teleservices companies with more than 5,000 employees. Headquartered in New Jersey, a state very supportive of solar, DialAmerica feels a strong ethical responsibility to reduce its carbon footprint and adopt long-term sustainability efforts. The decision to install a solar power generating system atop its Mahwah headquarters was made as part of a widespread environmental and economic initiative that is now being cultivated throughout the company.

"We at DialAmerica believe that the decision to install solar is an important step toward our continued sustainability," explained Vito Porcelli, Property Manager at DialAmerica. "We are proud to be among the many leading businesses that are incorporating energy efficient solutions into our facilities."

New York-based EnterSolar was chosen by DialAmerica to oversee the integration of the solar power generating system. Enter Solar, in turn, selected SunLink to design a complete balance of systems solution for the project, and New Generation Corp. to handle the installation.

"We've worked on past projects with SunLink and were familiar and confident in their products" said EnterSolar Project Manager Peyton Boswell.

The Goal

DialAmerica required a solar solution that could be implemented with minimal hassle and disturbance to its day-to-day operations. The company also placed a high degree of importance on system aesthetics and performance, as the completed headquarters building would be widely showcased and the company expected to realize a 15 percent energy savings.

"It was crucial that all the products used be dependable, require little maintenance and have the best overall value and warranty at their price point," expressed Porcelli. "As long as the sun continues to shine, we expect this system to be reliable, trouble free and cost effective."

The Solution

In keeping with its balance of system approach, SunLink would ultimately provide not only a fully equipped, 271 kW roof mount system, but also combiner boxes and integrated wire management for the project. SunLink's BOS products install seamlessly together, streamlining both project costs and labor.

"Purchasing a complete balance of system from one supplier ? SunLink ? simplified the upfront procurement, communication and logistical elements across the entire project," said Boswell.

Crowds of HVAC units and other roof obstructions presented a challenge, requiring the SunLink design team to strategically position groups of solar panels while still delivering maximum module density per the building owner's requirement.

Maximizing the module count on the roof left little workspace for wiring the system and performing finishing touches. The SunLink RMS tilt access&tm; feature was especially beneficial, as it made it possible for both the installer and building owner to get to the roof and the system to perform maintenance as needed.. Additionally, SunLink's Wire Management solution provided flexible and convenient wire trays that could span all desired wiring paths.

"SunLink's wire management fit seamlessly with its solar mounting system and allowed us quick and convenient access to the wire trays," explained Dennis Crosby of New Generation.

SunLink's 225 amp, 16-pole fiberglass boxes enabled New Generation to tailor the wiring layout to fit the exact configuration of the solar panels. The disconnect switch on each fully waterproofed, NEMA 4X box will streamline future system maintenance and allow installers and first responders to safely disconnect solar arrays at the power source. Because it was important for DialAmerica to conveniently track and sensor system performance, an efficiency monitoring feature was added to the boxes. Bulkhead connectors and prewiring allowed New Generation to bypass the manual connecting each combiner box—ultimately reducing on-roof labor time dramatically.

"The total time to install a combiner box can be as much as 6 man hours," described Crosby. "But with pre-wiring and bulkhead connectors, we cut that down to about 1.5 hours per box, saving us 75 percent on labor time."

Looking Forward

Moving forward, DialAmerica intends to take full advantage of the newly implemented solar power generating system while continuing its recycling efforts, the use of environmentally friendly products and its support of an eco-conscious culture wherever possible. The teleservices company sees this solar project as a great initial step toward reducing its carbon footprint and anticipates the incorporation of future sustainability efforts into its architecture.