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.”
The Miami-Dade Product Control Approval System establishes a protocol to evaluate the standards and quality of building products used in intense high-wind settings and establishes code compliance, thereby facilitating permitting, installation, and inspection. Solar contractors installing in other areas in the state of Florida will also benefit from the Miami-Dade NOA, as the Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJs) in surrounding areas typically accept the NOA and view it as meeting their Local Product Approval Process. NOAs are accepted throughout Florida and surrounding states—in Hawaii, Guam, the Caribbean, and even in Japan.
“Achieving an NOA is a notoriously difficult and thorough vetting process that can take more than a year,” Gallegos noted. This rigorous vetting, however, can give AHJs confidence to eliminate the requirement for project-specific, stamped engineering submittals. Since installers usually have to pay for these, the achievement means better margins for many jobs that use Unirac products.
“We say ‘Better Solar Starts Here,’ and this accomplishment exemplifies our commitment to that principle,” Gallegos said. “We’re looking for every opportunity to improve the solar experience of our partners who trust Unirac for innovation and value.”
Installers and contractors should also understand that the state of Florida has its own separate product approval process that establishes baseline standards for HVHZ and non-HVHZ wind zones. Many manufacturers seek this baseline standard because of its comparative ease to attain. Though the separate Florida State approvals are valuable in establishing minimum standards for building products in Florida, they are not accepted by Miami-Dade or Broward Counties, are not as universally recognized, and do not provide the same assurance or project cost savings as an NOA.
When product providers claim to be Florida Approved or approved for hurricane zones, they are often referring to the Florida Product Approval, but smart contractors know that these designations don’t truly constitute statewide approval and do not meet the same stringent standards.
“The Miami-Dade NOA is a true benchmark for building industry product approval,” Gallegos said. “With this one, you know you’re covered, and that’s why we set our sights on it from the beginning.”
Peter Lorenz, Unirac’s CEO, also emphasized that the achievement shows Unirac’s commitment to this bustling market region, noting: “Solar contractors have long trusted Unirac products for their strength and durability. This NOA confirms that quality and performance in some of the most extreme weather conditions. We are very pleased to share this news and to further reduce the cost of solar installation in Florida.”
To learn more register for the Miami-Dade Webinar here.