Case study: Hickman County adds 180kW to municipal buildings

Published January 11, 2019

In fall 2018, LightWave Solar commissioned several solar electric systems for the benefit of Hickman County in Tennessee, totaling 180 kilowatts across four sites. We installed 515 solar panels, 11 inverters and online monitoring that tracks the generation of all four systems.

Solar with energy savings performance contract
Hickman County Detention Center
Like many counties, cities and universities across the country, Hickman County entered into an energy savings performance contract (ESPC) to install building improvements, such as new lighting technology, water-conserving fixtures, heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) upgrades and solar panels, without tapping the county’s capital budget. The energy savings and other improvements pay for the upgrades over time. NORESCO, a national leader in energy efficiency and energy infrastructure solutions, worked directly with Hickman County to provide energy audits, design, construction and a funding guarantee of the project structured through the energy savings performance contract.

Brian Stone, Senior Account Executive, NORESCO, said, “Our energy savings project with Hickman County provides an innovative mix of renewable energy assets and traditional building improvements to help the county optimize energy and water savings and fiscal stewardship.”

In terms of the solar savings alone, Hickman County can expect to see about $20,000 in annual savings over the next three decades, and even more as rates increase. The rooftop solar systems are connected to the Hickman County Justice Center, Detention Center, Administration Building and Emergency Operations Office.

Solar inverters at Hickman County Justice Center
To make the solar project as cost effective as possible, LightWave Solar scoped out more than a dozen potential sites to find the most suitable locations. We also designed all four systems to use the same kinds of inverters (pictured above), 15kW and 12kW Fronius, as well as the same type of racking, Panel Claw Polar Bear, atop three of the four rooftops. An Ironridge racking system was installed on the Emergency Operations Office to reduce the impact of shade.

“LightWave and NORESCO worked closely to make sure Hickman County received the best value possible,” says JP Plumlee, LightWave Solar Project Developer. “Our teaming arrangement leveraged everyone’s strengths and made for a smooth project,” he says.

Contact LightWave Solar if you would like to explore solar for your county, city, business or home!

Hickman County Administration Building
Hickman County Emergency Operations Office