Solar energy investment surges

Corporate solar energy adoption is soaring, according to a report by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).

After a slow start to the decade, solar energy investment in the USA has rapidly increased, with over half of all capacity installed since 2016. Falling costs, flexible financing, and encouragement at the state and local levels are behind this acceleration.

Rubb is proud to say we are also among those leading the way for green energy. In January 2019, we completed a research and development project with fantastic results.

Renewable retrofit

The fabric cladding on the south facing gable wall of Rubb USA’s 14,500 sq ft. steel shop was replaced with a 4-inch polycarbonate glazing system, which harvests solar energy as hot air. This delivers more than 8,000cfm of air volume at +100°F, and distributes it evenly throughout the building via a fabric ductwork system.

This highly efficient system can be incorporated into any new structure or easily retrofitted onto an existing Rubb building.

Real results

Winters in southern Maine are extremely cold, yet on a March morning with sub-freezing temperatures, it was 75°F (24°C) inside the Thermohall® insulated structure. This was achieved without the heating system even being on.

The solar harvesting system has been automated into a thermostat, which detects the amount of energy being generated by the solar wall and adjusts the building’s mechanical system accordingly. Performance data is gathered hourly, allowing the benefits to be tracked. Early results show the system is achieving very close to net-zero heating in an extremely cold climate.

Payback time

Combined with the highly efficient Rubb Thermohall® insulation system, the overall result is a warm environment and significant energy savings. The solution, in partnership with Shift Energy, is achieving an estimated five-year payback against natural gas. This is also due also to the efficiency of circulating trapped air and storing heat using thermal mass, unique to the Rubb-Shift solution.

In support of Rubb’s innovation, Efficiency Maine’s Commercial & Industrial Incentive program also helped make the project possible, awarding us with funding for a portion of the project.