Solar Atmospheres

Commercial Solar & Energy Storage System in Fontana, California

by Fiona Maguire-O’Shea, public relations, S-5!


Solar Atmospheres of California (SCA) provides state-of-the-art vacuum thermal processing services. In response to the challenges of California’s energy market, SCA commissioned and installed the state’s largest commercial solar and energy storage system in Fontana, California.

All photos courtesy of SunGreen Systems

         By combining onsite generation, an advanced energy storage system, and a world-class artificial intelligence-powered analytics platform, SCA optimizes energy usage by automatically switching between onsite generation, battery power, and grid power. The robust system enables SCA to achieve a wide variety of goals, including energy expense reductions through reduced peak demand, onsite renewable power generation, and demand response program participation.

The digitally connected energy storage network includes a 772-kW PV solar system and a 1,561-kW/3,122kWh Tesla battery storage system on twin 20,000+ sq.ft. metal buildings. The facilities feature American Buildings Long Span III trapezoidal, exposed-fastened metal roofing with the solar modules secured in place by PVKIT® solar solution and RibBracket™III from S-5!®.

With more than 60 furnaces for vacuum heat treating and brazing services, ranging from lab-size research and development furnaces to the largest commercial vacuum furnace at 48’ long and 150,000 lbs. capacity, the site experiences very high energy demands and energy charges. The customer requested the largest solar system the building could handle.

Solar installer, SunGreen Systems, Pasadena, California, worked with its energy storage partner, Stem, to propose a combined solar and Tesla battery storage system to shave the demand and arbitrage energy. SunGreen Systems installed solar on every possible area of the roof, built an addition to the southern building for more roof space and installed two cantilevered carports along the property line to provide additional hosting of solar arrays. They chose S-5! products because the solar attachments provided design flexibility in attachment locations. In addition, the lightweight solution allowed them to avoid costly retrofits.

During initial client meetings, SunGreen Systems demonstrated the reliable racking solution via a sample kit provided by S-5!, enabling the client to find the right clamp for the project and allowing them to see first-hand the factory-installed gaskets that would preserve the building’s integrity. The S-5! team worked with SunGreen Systems to obtain a bill of materials for the project so they could determine their exact costs for such a large project. Additionally, the team worked hands-on with their crew on site to demonstrate best practices for rail-less installation, including advance module preparation while other crewmembers completed the electrical work.

The investment was particularly attractive to SCA because of two federal tax incentives and additional state-sponsored incentives. The company expects a full return on investment within 30-36 months. SCA has supplemented its high demand for power generation via the state’s largest commercial solar and energy storage system utilizing an aesthetically pleasing, cost-effective PV mounting system, enabling the client to avoid costly retrofits.