Sunvest helps Radio Flyer save $50K annually via rooftop solar PV

Radio Flyer

The world’s leading manufacturer of wagons for kids, Radio Flyer is on track to making their manufacturing and materials 100% carbon-free. The corporate headquarters in Chicago constantly tracks energy use and greenhouse gas emissions as a member of the global corporate renewable energy initiative, RE100. The 104-year-old company has also achieved LEED Platinum (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) status, for its efficient design and operations.

Radio Flyer aspired to increase their sustainability portfolio and make a deeper impact on community while lowering their electricity bills through cost-effective rooftop solar allowing more financial flexibility to improve operations. Management envisioned using this new solar energy system as a selling point for recruiting and retaining talent, believing that employees care about sustainable designs and seek a workplace that embraces this philosophy. Research also shows that consumers prefer to buy from sustainable brands.

Leading local installer, Sunvest, successfully proposed a fully-integrated solution spanning four separate rooftop arrays using SolarEdge’s 100 kW, 66.6 kW Three Phase Inverters with Synergy Technology and P860 Power Optimizers.

By producing approximately 737,000 kWh of renewable electricity every year, the PV system is predicted to offset more than half of Radio Flyer headquarters’ electricity usage – saving approximately $50,000 in utility bills, annually. As a result, more funds will be directed towards employee programs and expanding manufacturing lines. Radio Flyer’s management sees this as a strategic investment in the company’s future and hopes to inspire every staffer to live and work in an environmentally sustainable way, while setting an example for other companies.

“Our mission is to spread smiles to kids of all ages and create warm memories that last a lifetime. We do that through our innovative products, but also by acting sustainably to improve our world. By working with Sunvest and SolarEdge we took a step closer to achieving our mission.” Eric Selner, Vice President of Operations & Sustainability.

SolarEdge’s design was selected due to its flexibility and its ability to produce more clean energy over the system’s lifetime while reducing grid dependence. SolarEdge is one of the few providers in the market with the built-in capabilities that comply with stringent NEC rapid shutdown requirements for rooftop solar.

“SolarEdge was the obvious choice because of its design flexibility—longer strings mean we can add more modules at less cost and stay within our margins. Plus, their patented Power Optimizers give us the unique ability to mitigate shading issues through module-level control. Finally, and most importantly, SolarEdge’s focus on system protection with advanced fire safety features made it easy to comply with Chicago’s strict safety guidelines and the latest NEC 2017/2020 requirements.” said Joe Gordon, Sr. Project Developer, Sunvest

SolarEdge’s module-level monitoring is key for Sunvest to maximize energy production and reduce O&M costs through remote troubleshooting. It continues to help Radio Flyer’s facilities team check the health of the system at a quick glance and identify and solve individual module issues. With current newsworthy stories on technical issues in the C&I space, having 24/7 viewing access and control of an entire system is vital to keeping today’s system owners confident.

SolarEdge complies with the latest NEC 2017 and 2020 requirements for Arc Fault Circuit Protection (AFCI) and Photovoltaic Rapid Shutdown System (PVRSS). The entire system comes with a built-in SafeDC feature which is designed to automatically reduce voltage to a safe level when necessary, providing protection to the installation crew and maintenance personnel.

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