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Coquitlam, British Columbia
CHALLENGE: Produce off-grid power with a “green” roof
TECHNOLOGY: Photovoltaic solar tubes
RESULTS: Real-time monitoring shows the system produces a peak of 13 MVs and 9.5 MV on cloudy days

ICBC is a Crown Corporation that provides auto insurance, driver’s licensing, and vehicle licensing and registration. ICBC’s facility planning group had a goal to build a “green” licensing office. This meant upgrading to the LEED® Gold standard for their 9,000 square foot office in Coquitlam. To achieve this, ICBC wanted to look at several design and functional aspects of the building.

ICBC had two requests for their office building roof: install PV solar arrays to offset their energy requirement and put in a “green” roof. The challenge was to design a solution that maintained the attractiveness of a green roof, while also blending in the PV-solar to meet their energy generation goal of 12 MV.

The second challenge was to generate this power within the limit of 2,000 square feet that was allotted for the system. In addition, it had to meet BC Hydro’s requirements for a grid-tied project.

PVL worked with Green & Clean Energy on the equipment specifications and the general contractor to install and commission the self-ballasting system overtop of the green roof. The installation system required a combination of Styrofoam underlay and a white Firestone covering. This allowed the product to be installed without interfering with the green roof, without requiring any roof penetrations, and maximizing the amount of light available from the light-sensitive equipment.

PVL had to provide site modifications to ensure the array did not penetrate the roof membrane or blow off the roof, was not compromised due to the green roof, and still produced an unprecedented 12 MV within only 2,000 square feet. This was achieved through an innovative “floating” base. The Firestone covering provided maximum light reflection off of the roof and we selected had the unique ability to absorb light from 360-degrees. The system works seemlessly with the 7-inch thick green roof. The only maintenance required is hosing the dirt off the solar tubes once per quarter. The project came in on budget and on schedule.