Solar Builder 2014 Project of the Year Winners Released

Solar Builder magazine, the leading publication covering solar photovoltaic construction in North America, has announced the winners of its 2014 Project of the Year awards. Projects are awarded in two categories — ground-mount and roof-mount — and chosen by Solar Builder readers. (View winning stories here!)

Solar Builder POYThe Ground-Mount Project of the Year is the Toledo Zoo’s Anthony Wayne Solar Array in Toledo, Ohio. The 2.1-MW array was installed by GEM Energy and Rudolph/Libbe Inc. on a 22-acre brownfield. The plot of land within a residential neighborhood had previously been an elevator manufacturing site before being abandoned in 1989. GEM Energy worked with Ohio-based manufacturers on the solar project, including Calyxo modules, Nextronex inverters and AP Alternatives mounting systems.

Other projects recognized in the Ground-Mount category are: 3.8-MW College of the Desert carports in Palm Desert, Calif. (runner-up); Plymouth Public Schools’ 5.7-MW install in Plympton, Mass. (honorable mention); and the 6-MW Treasure Valley Solar project at a Boy Scout reservation in Rutland, Mass. (honorable mention).

The Roof-Mount Project of the Year is a 15.6-kW installation at the Pacific Marine Mammal Center (PMMC) in Laguna Beach, Calif. Planet Earth Solar donated labor and worked with Residents Organized for a Safe Environment to secure donations of SolarWorld modules, Enphase microinverters and Everest Solar mounting systems for the project. PMMC also fundraised more than $30,000 to help with the project. PMMC is a non-profit dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation and release of marine mammals stranded along the Orange County coastline. During high seasons, electricity costs to keep freezers of fish running and medical equipment functioning have exceeded $2,000 a month. The solar system is estimated to cut the center’s electricity bill by 30%.

Other projects recognized in the Roof-Mount category are: Grow Community of solar-ready, net-zero homes on Bainbridge Island, Wash. (runner-up); JM Family Enterprises’ 150-kW solar structure in Deerfield Beach, Fla. (honorable mention); and a 186-kW custom-made installation at Whole Foods in Austin, Texas (honorable mention).

Winners will be honored at a special awards ceremony at Solar Power International on Oct. 21, 2014. Winners are also featured in the November/December 2014 issue of Solar Builder magazine, online at and on the free Solar Builder app for iPads. Nominations were accepted online through Sept. 5, 2014. Solar Builder staff selected six projects in each category based on construction application, innovation and community impact. Voting was open to Solar Builder readers and the public via from Sept. 8 to Sept. 21, 2014. All award winners were determined by votes.

This year’s awards far exceeded 2013’s inaugural campaign. Thirty projects were nominated by contractors, manufacturers and system owners this year, and voting increased by 140% over 2013’s awards. Solar Builder expects the awards program to continue its tremendous growth pattern in the coming years.

Solar Builder will present Project of the Year awards in 2015 for projects commissioned after Sept. 2014. Visit for more information.

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