SALT Energy installs Florida’s largest privately owned solar project for Badia Spices

SALT Energy Badia Spices

Badia Spices has completed the installation of a rooftop solar array on the company’s 300,000-sq-ft distribution and production facility in Sweetwater, Florida. The installation represents the largest privately owned solar project in Florida to date.

The 3.24 MWdc system was designed and installed by SALT Energy of Marathon, Florida. The array is comprised of 40 inverters, 7,200 solar panels and is capable of producing enough power to offset approximately 80% of the facility’s electricity consumption. The system is grid-tied through two 1.25 MW Tier-3 net metering agreements with the local utility.

This is the second Badia Spices facility to undergo a transition to solar power. In April 2019, SALT Energy completed installation of a 529 kWdc rooftop system at the 100,000-sq-ft Badia Spices warehouse in Doral, Florida.

“As a leading family-owned Hispanic food company, we are proud of our commitment to build sustainable and environmentally responsible practices to help green our supply chain and decrease our carbon footprint,” said Joseph (Pepe) Badia, president of Badia Spices.

Badia and his wife Nancy Badia also contracted SALT to install one of the largest residential solar arrays in Florida on their waterfront home in Miami’s Coconut Grove. Leading the way in rooftop solar, Badia Spices plans to further decrease its carbon footprint by continuing to add solar projects to its other facilities in the coming years.

Badia Spices Inc. manufactures, packages and distributes spices and herbs. The company offers cooking essentials, ready-made blends, food colorings, marinades, sauces, nuts, seeds, toppings, baking needs, edibles, teas and specialty items. Badia Spices serves customers worldwide in more than 70 countries.

The solar array at Badia’s Sweetwater Warehouse is producing at a rate of 5,045,000 kWh of electricity per year.

SALT Energy’s partnership with SunPower and PanelClaw for this project brought the worlds technology leading solar modules together with the No. 1 flat roof racking provider in North America using state-of-the-art engineering practices.

SunPower and now Maxeon, which was spun off in August 2020, are recognized as the sustainability leaders of the Solar industry. SunPower’s “Beneficial by Design” philosophy aims to be a regenerative force on society and the environment. From their industry standard Cradle to Cradle Certified Maxeon line of interdigitated back contact (IBC) solar cells to their Zero Waste to Landfill manufacturing sites, SunPower and Maxeon lead the solar industry in environmental stewardship. The Maxeon IBC solar panel product lines are rated No. 1 in Solar Panel Efficiency, and No. 1 for Lowest Degradation rate. Maxeon solar panels offer industry leading durability backed by 37 years of engineering for resiliency and culminating in the industry-leading power and performance warranty which was recently extended to 40 years.

SALT Energy Badia Spices inverters warehouse

The early coordination between SALT and Badia on the project included the HVAC system being moved off of the rooftop during remodeling, removing significant shading effects and setbacks from rooftop equipment that would have greatly limited the solar potential of the roof.

“The requirement by our customer to avoid roof membrane penetrations for anchoring the array to preserve the warranty, coupled with the hurricane wind load design requirements in Miami-Dade County, posed the two greatest technical challenges for our Badia Spices project,” said David Kaul, VP of engineering and operations for SALT Energy.

SALT has relied on state-of-the-art wind tunnel engineering-based designs for all its solar EPC projects since 2017. The wind tunnel procedure in ASCE 7 is considered to produce the most accurate wind pressures of any method of structural design.

“We chose PanelClaw because they have the industry’s most advanced, peer reviewed, engineering models for design of solar arrays on flat roofs,” said Kaul. In addition to incorporating PanelClaw’s state-of-the art ballasted racking system, SALT turned to Anchor Products Inc., for roof anchors that attach directly to a fully adhered roofing system by hot air welding, rather than relying on penetrating roofing screws.

SALT completed the project construction in eight months. Commissioning occurred in November 2022, and the utility granted permission to operate on Dec. 1, 2022. There were many challenges to overcome in order to obtain required approvals from the utility and the local permitting authority. Through a spirit of cooperation between Badia Spices personnel, utility personnel, the local authorities, as well as SALT, SunPower and PanelClaw, the many challenges were overcome, leading to a successful outcome and a showcase project.

In Miami-Dade County alone, there are hundreds of acres of unused logistic center rooftops. With the tax savings allowable by the Inflation Reduction Act, there has never been a better time to put the unused rooftop space to work.

“With this project we have proven that large scale rooftop solar is viable in South Florida,” Kaul said. “We have shown that we can meet the code requirements for hurricane wind loads, and preserve membrane roof warranties while dramatically greening up the supply chain. We look forward to doing many more.”

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