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BETTER SOLAR STARTS TOGETHER

You may or may not have caught the news a few weeks back, but Unirac, has successfully completed the acquisition of Ecolibrium Solar. The acquisition represents a significant expansion of Unirac’s product portfolio, adding Ecolibrium’s commercial flat roof, residential rail-less and metal roof products to its product line, already recognized as a leader in the industry.
“We are excited about the Ecolibrium team and the products they have brought to the market. They share our passion for customer success and have a strong focus on distribution,” said Peter Lorenz, Unirac CEO. “Better solar starts with great partnerships. The increased scale in production, engineering services, and field support allow us to help customers reduce costs and grow their solar business, especially on commercial projects”.
“With a similar focus on customer experience, quality, and product development, the strength of our combined team enhances our ability to provide our customers with exceptional products and services” said Sam Veague, former CEO at Ecolibrium.

Watch the interview and learn more about what this acquisition means to the industry and our customers.

Read the full press release here.

ECOLIBRIUM LAB MANAGER BRINGS RACING SPIRIT TO UNIRAC TEAM

The Ecolibrium Solar team—now working alongside Unirac as part of the recent acquisition—brings a depth of great new talent.

Take Lab Manager Gary Norman, for instance. He’s a born gearhead—literally.

“My family drag-raced,” he said, “and my mother’s water broke with me at the racetrack. She had to go to the stage lanes to get my dad in the tow truck to go to the hospital. The following weekend, we were back at the track.”

With that beginning, he grew up in Florida working in the family racing fabrication shop, which prepared him for the huge variety of jobs that come up in his current position in Boulder.Read More

ZERO MEMBRANES, ONE SKU

A WEBINAR ABOUT OUR NEW UNIVERSAL FLAT-ROOF ATTACHMENT

Unirac’s new single-SKU flat-roof attachment is changing the game in commercial solar. That may sound like a big claim, and so we welcome you to learn about it in detail with the insights of Chem Link, manufacturer of the sealant that helps make Flashloc™ RM unique.

On July 29, 2020, at 10:00 a.m. Mountain Time, Tristen Foley of Unirac and Rick Berthiaume of Chem Link will present an in-depth webinar showing how you can save time and money with this simple, strong, easy-to-install attachment for any type of flat roof. You’ll also learn about Chem Link sealants and how to select and use attachments in general. (Register Here.)

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UNIRAC HELPS INSTALLER PIVOT QUICKLY WITH ROCKY GROUNDMOUNT INSTALL

As much as we might wish jobsites could be standardized, we all know that every installation is unique. When unforeseen difficulties come up, you need a team that can help you get it back on track quickly. That’s what happened when Pennsylvania Solar Energy Company Inc. encountered a challenging site recently in the Pennsylvania hills and Unirac’s support provided a quick solution.

The project was going up on a residential property with grapevines and a winery near Pittsburgh. The spot chosen for the arrays had its south face looking uphill—obviously, an unusual situation to begin with. Further complicating the question, Pennsylvania Solar Energy wanted to avoid poured concrete foundations because of the mountainous terrain, and they also wanted to maximize panel density.

“This wasn’t just your average cookie-cutter site,” said Zachary Kushner, Installer Sales Specialist for the Northeast. “Besides the grade, we knew a lot of the ground contained fractured shale rock, so we were aware upfront that it wouldn’t be completely straightforward.”Read More

UNIRAC TRAINING GOING STRONG IN FLORIDA AND ACROSS U.S.

Especially in a down economy, every installer is hunting for ways to keep looking ahead and not lose momentum. Unirac’s Installer Sales Specialists have been adjusting to continue bringing our customers as much value as possible in the industry.

One of the services these specialists can offer (thanks to their own backgrounds as installers) is the ability to show products hands-on and answer questions only an installer might have answers to. It’s a role that Unirac takes seriously and encourages specialists in the company to offer its customers regularly.

Take Tom Talmage, Installer Sales Specialist for Florida, for instance. You can learn more about his background in the profile we did of him last month. He recently visited Optimus Solar, a Central Florida company based in Mount Dora, to meet with owner Ben Pauluhn and three of his lead installers.

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SANTO ALIMO BRINGS TEAMWORK AND EXPERIENCE INTO PLAY AT LUMINA SOLAR

Santo Alimo has technically been working for Lumina Solar since January, but his roots with the team go back nearly a decade.

“I have worked with most of these guys since 2011,” he says. That year, he started working at Astrum Solar, which was later acquired by what became Direct Energy Solar. A friend from Direct started Fusion Solar in 2017, and Alimo joined him when Direct Energy left the residential market. Lumina called up Fusion for installations, and a partnership was born. The two merged this year as a “solar powerhouse” under the Lumina name.

Today he is Quality Control & Safety Manager at Lumina, but when he started at Astrum, he didn’t set out looking for solar. Alimo, a Baltimore native, was driving a truck at the time, delivering appliances and maintenance products to commercial buildings in and around the Greater DC area.

“Honestly, I knew very little about solar,” he said. I was looking for a change of pace and a friend had asked if I was interested in a job working with him doing solar. He asked if I was afraid of heights and if I knew how to use power tools. I had worked with power tools before over the years and was not afraid of heights, but I had never been on a roof before. This was a big step from driving a truck all day!Read More

The Time to Act is Now

There’s no doubt that you’ve been inundated with statements and affirmations of equality from companies and organizations recently. The protests and rallies sweeping our country cannot—and should not—be ignored. While public outcry demanding change has been strong at points in recent history, progress toward positive change has been halting and temporary. Now, we hope that current momentum will serve as a tipping point and the beginning of long-term, fundamental change.

While it may sound like Unirac is jumping on the bandwagon by bringing up the subject of racial discrimination and the injustice of George Floyd’s death at the hands of police, I’m willing to take that risk. Why? Because we built a strong multicultural and multiracial community at Unirac upon a belief that talent, intelligence, and human kindness remain the same no matter what form they take on the outside. Recent events have re-opened Americans eyes to the systematic discrimination that is still rampant, even now, against the African-American community where lives are uniquely affected in many ways.

Black lives matter.Read More

Unirac is First to Achieve Miami-Dade NOA Approval

In an industry-first designation, Unirac has become the only solar mounting company to earn Miami-Dade County’s benchmark Notice of Acceptance (NOA) product approval for construction in hurricane prone wind zones. The NOA approval will result in cost savings for installers.

“This is huge for installers and contractors throughout Florida and the whole Southeast,” said Unirac’s Director of Products Ernest Gallegos. “For the installer, this means a significant savings of up to $200 per project.”

The NOA (NOA No. 19-0429.02) will significantly reduce the cost and timeline of residential solar installation with Unirac’s respected SOLARMOUNT PV rail system by enabling contractors to accelerate or even bypass costly project-specific engineering reviews and by radically streamlining the design, permitting, and inspection process.

“Because of the way it considers High Velocity Hurricane Zone (HVHZ) wind conditions, Miami-Dade has the most stringent building code requirements in the country,” Gallegos said. “These are true ‘gold standard’ criteria—we wanted the best there is.”Read More

Installer Specialist Tom Talmage is Making a Difference at Unirac

Unirac’s Tom Talmage has been concerned about the planet since he was a teenager growing up in Tennessee.

“In high school I was always fired up about the environment because of where I grew up and what we grew up doing,” Tom says. “We were always outside camping, fishing, hunting, so we learned to respect the environment at an early age.”

Today, Tom is Unirac’s Installer Sales Specialist for the Southeast. Based in Tampa Bay, he has been working hands-on with Unirac customers since December.

As much as Tom has found a home in the solar industry, it wasn’t a direct path for him. His first thoughts were to make an impact by working in the field of policy. While studying for his degree in political science at Stetson University, he joined a professor’s effort to reverse deforestation in Guatemala and Nicaragua. For several months, he hiked between mountainous rural villages planting thousands of trees and building ventilated brick stoves to help people of the country avoid emphysema, a common ailment due to open fires. “It gave me a lot of perspective,” he says of the experience.Read More

The Sun is Not Always Friendly to Solar Installations: The Hidden Dangers of Thermal Expansion

What do you think about when designing a solar system—energy consumption and production, wind loads, snow loads, seismic zones, or roof height? How about thermal expansion and contraction? Thermal expansion is a real, omnipresent effect, and overlooking temperature differences can have major consequences on a solar installation over time. It should be a major concern to the solar installer and homeowner. Fortunately, selecting products designed for the effects of thermal expansion can ensure a worry-free installation. Read on to learn more

What is Thermal Expansion?

It’s not just expansion. It is the natural behavior of materials to expand and contract with variations in temperature. Everything in our daily environment does this—from buildings to roads, sidewalks to bridges.

Although thermal expansion and contraction is a complex problem, it has a simple root cause. All materials are made up of atoms. When heated, the energy in those atoms rises, causing the atoms to move faster. The faster the atoms move, the more space they take up, and the material expands. When it gets cold, the opposite happens. This is an immutable law of nature. Why does all this matter when designing a solar system? Because the effects can be catastrophic to the system, the roof, and—ultimately—your business.Read More