Interactive Resources Wins National Renewable Energy Laboratory Contract for Roof Structural Assessments for Installation of Solar Photovoltaic Arrays


Richmond CA, October 19, 2010   – Richmond architecture and engineering firm Interactive Resources was recently awarded a contract by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to provide solar feasibility studies for 24 California K-12 school buildings in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties. The Sequoia Foundation Solar Schools Assessment and Implementation Project in Berkeley, California requires that a feasibility roof structural assessment be conducted to determine the potential of school roofs to support a solar photovoltaic (PV) array. The Sequoia Foundation is preparing a 'Solar Master Plan' that will plan and deploy the installation of PV systems on all appropriate district schools and administrative buildings. The success of this Solar America Showcase demonstration project can lead to the development of best practices and potential replication in other school districts. NREL is responsible for the Solar America Showcase technical management efforts.

Interactive Resources is providing structural engineering services in the rapid evaluation of 24 buildings for the application of photovoltaic arrays, which could also lead to additional school sites. All of the sites are existing school facilities located within California. Each building will be evaluated to determine the maximum permissible number of PV modules that can be placed on the existing framing without triggering a Code mandated seismic upgrade to the existing lateral load resisting system or creating localized over-stress conditions resulting from the added weight of the array.

For each school roof analyzed, Interactive Resources will provide a written report that will include a summary of design parameters, assumptions and analysis results including any structural deficiencies. The report will also include the maximum number of generic PV modules that the existing school roof structure is able to support, as well as structural calculations prepared as part of the structural rapid engineering analysis.

“As a school district develops its master plan for future solar projects, it’s important that the district determine if a school building can handle the additional weight of solar panels. An inexpensive structural analysis done by a professional engineer is one important aspect of determining which school buildings are ready for standard, high efficiency PV panels or which would be better suited for light-weight thin film PV,” said Tom Kelly with KyotoUSA.

Paul Westermann, PE, SE, Structural Engineer for Interactive Resources, is the project manager for the NREL Roof Structural Assessments. 

About Interactive Resources
Interactive Resources is an award-winning architecture, engineering and planning firm founded in 1973 and located in Point Richmond, California. Our professional staff is comprised of architects; structural engineers; supported by specialists in diagnostic, forensic and investigative services, roofing and waterproofing; building code analysis and compliance; historic preservation; accessibility; sustainable design; and solar energy installation services. This combination of resources has given the firm a reputation for versatility and efficiency and enables our staff to effectively handle the full range of assignments that often arise under architecture and engineering services contracts. Interactive Resources maintains in-house LEED Accredited Professionals and is a member of the U.S. Green Building Council.

In addition, Interactive Resources provides cutting-edge structural engineering services in support of the photovoltaic (solar) industry. These services include the evaluation of existing structural elements to support a solar array and the anchorage of the array to resist code-specified wind and seismic loads through design of the solar racking system, as needed.

We continue to provide photovoltaic services that benefit dozens of large and small projects, both roof and ground mount, from commercial to utility scale – totaling more than fifty megawatts thus far. These projects are located throughout the United States and abroad; mainly in California and New Jersey because of substantial interest in energy conservation, attractive economic incentives, and overall environmental preservation. We have extensive experience working with DSA not only on solar projects, but also in the design of new school facilities, modernizations and additions.

Interactive Resources is Licensed to practice engineering in the following jurisdictions: AZ, CA, CO, CT, FL, HI, MA, MD, NJ, NV, OR, PA, WA and the District of Columbia.


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