Author Archives: Erica

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Product Spotlight: Panduit VeriSafe Absence of Voltage Tester

This new product from Panduit is a game-changer in the industry! The Panduit VeriSafe Absence of Voltage Tester automates the voltage verification process for control panels to reduce the risk of exposure to electrical hazards for improved worker safety. VeriSafe conducts the same test procedures required by NFPA 70E to verify that equipment is electrically safe for servicing. Fifty-five percent of electricians and technical personnel experienced a voltage testing injury or near miss with handheld testers.[1] That’s when Panduit decided there had to be a better way and created the VeriSafe.

What is the significance of verifying the absence of voltage? There were 24,000 electrical injuries in US workplaces from 2003 to 2012. Thirty-five percent of those injuries are due to contact with wiring, transformers or other electrical components![2] The leading cause of those injuries are from performing work without turning off power and verifying a de-energized condition. This is why verifying the absence of voltage is a critical task that is part of almost every job that includes electrical hazards.

VeriSafe is a tester, not just an indicator. It can verify the absence of phase-to-phase and phase-to-ground AC and DC voltage up to 600V circuits. The automated test sequence helps reduce operator error. It uses active visual indicators that convey the status of the voltage inside electrical equipment and panels before it accessed, therefore reducing exposure to electrical hazards and protecting workers.

In just a few seconds, with just the touch of a button, the VeriSafe Absence of Voltage Tester runs several tests: test the tester, verify installation, check for voltage, verify installation and then retest the tester.

There are three components to the VeriSafe: the indicator module, the isolation module and the AVT system cable. The indicator module serves as the user interface is typically installed in the door of the electrical panel. It is designed to keep dangerous voltage away from the user. With the push of a button, it initiates the test process and provides visual indication, making the process simple, quick and safe. The isolation module is located inside the panel with a sensor that leads to the power conductors inside the panel.

To start, you will push the button to begin the test. A flashing yellow LED indicates that a test is in progress. A solid yellow LED after the test indicates the absence of voltage could not be confirmed. Red LEDs indicate presence of AC voltage and green LED confirms the absence of voltage.

VeriSafe is ideal for:

  • Equipment with a single source of incoming power
  • High risk associated with access, including frequently accessed equipment and high incident energy
  • Remote or difficult to access locations
  • Sites with temporary or intermittent power
  • Equipment with stored electrical energy
  • Equipment frequently serviced by third-party technicians

Panduit is the ONLY manufacturer who provides active testing to confirm de-energized voltage and verifies installation. They’re also the only manufacturer with safety functions that meet IEC 61508 (SIL 3) and meets the requirements for installed testers NFPA 70E-2018 120.5 (7) Exception 1.

If you’re interested in learning more or seeing the VeriSafe in action, here is a great video from Panduit showcasing the features of VeriSafe and how it can help reduce the risk of exposure to electrical hazards.

Call your French Gerleman Account Manager today to learn more about this game-changing Absence of Voltage Tester from Panduit!

 

[1] H. L. Floyd and B. J. Nenninger, “Personnel Safety and Plant Reliability Considerations in the Selection and Use of Voltage Test Instruments,” IEEE Transactions on Industry Applications, vol. 33, no. 2, pp. 367-373, 1997.

[2] US Department of Labor, “Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Injuries and Illnesses,” [Online]. Available: http://www.bls.gov/iif/data.htm. [Accessed 16 April 2015].


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Advantages of Bonitron Regenerative Braking Solutions

In almost every industry, the old saying “time is money” stands true. This saying is no more true than in the world of Industrial Automation. Processes that require frequent stops or continuous braking create a harsh environment for variable frequency drives (VFDs), causing overvoltage faults that stop production.

Integrators are forced to sacrifice valuable time for functionality to create a system that operates properly. Bonitron Line Regeneration models are designed to provide continuous energy regeneration, giving the integrator extreme flexibility to push your process as fast as possible. This increases each line’s production by allowing the customer to stop as fast and as often as you want with no process downtime.

To size our regenerative solution, take the horsepower of your VFD and match it to the horsepower of one of our Line Regen models listed below.

The time it takes to complete your process determines the amount of profit made. When variable speed drive systems are required to brake, excess energy is generated that must be removed or the drive system can lose control of the process due to an overvoltage fault.

Bonitron’s Line Regeneration modules and Regenerative DC Bus Power Supplies give you the ability to expand the braking capabilities of your standard 6-pulse VFDs. Bonitron Line Regen models replace the traditional braking transistor and resistor option.

Instead of dissipating braking energy as heat in a resistor, Line Regen solutions return this energy to the power grid. This reduces demand from the utility, which equates to ample energy savings. Bonitron Regenerative solutions are delivered ready to install with no programming or extra components needed. Access to the VFDs DC terminals and a return 3-phase connection to the AC line are the only installation requirements.  It automatically synchronizes to the frequency of the incoming power line, allowing automatic adaptation to 50Hz or 60Hz. Being efficient and small enough to be integrated into the drive cabinet, eliminates excess resistor wiring, panel space and cooling costs.

Most panels contain multiple VFDs. Each VFD requires their own set of required components: reactor, fusing, breaker and conduit. Implementing the use of a common DC bus system removes the need of components for each individual VFD such as AC breakers, AC fusing, reactor and AC conduit. Removal of these components results in extreme reduction in costs, watts loss, installation time and panel space.

Bonitron’s Regenerative Power Supply rectifies the AC line, supplying DC power to operate VFDs. During a braking event, as the DC bus rises above the AC line peak, the Regenerative Power Supply also redirects current from the DC bus into the AC line to limit the rise in bus voltage and prevent overvoltage faults.

Utilize the Regenerative Power Supply to create a common DC Bus connection that drastically reduces the cost of the panel. To size properly simply add the horsepower of all VFDs to be connected to the common bus and apply a Regenerative Power Supply that rated to the cumulative horsepower.  Use Bonitron’s Regen Cost Savings Calculator to estimate your annual cost savings.

For more information on this or other Bonitron solutions, call your French Gerleman Account Manager or contact us.


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Tray Cable – What is it and when to use?

Efficient cabling system design can take many forms with today’s wide variety of solutions.  Tray cable can be one of the simplest and most effective solutions in your facility today.

You might have heard the term “tray cable,” but do you know what it is and when you should use it? The National Electric Code (NEC) defines tray cables as, “a factory assembly of two or more insulated conductors under a nonmetallic sheath, for installation in cable trays, in raceways, or where supported by a messenger wire.”

Tray cable is a versatile cable that is approved for installation in raceways or cable tray.  Cables come in multiconductor and multipair styles, which means that they can be used for instrumentation/signal, control, power and lighting. Cable tray is used as an alternative to open wiring or electrical conduit systems and is great for cable management in commercial and industrial construction. Cable tray offers many benefits over conduit because cables are easier to access for installation, repair, removal and future development, as well as organization and clean, secure cable routing.

Tray cable is the ultimate all-around cable.  There are types that can be used in both wet and dry environments, in direct burial applications and sunlight resistant to be used outdoors.  Powerful enough to support structure of all sizes, tray cable is used in a wide range of manufacturing, industrial and commercial facilities.  Tray cable comes in a variety of multi-conductor and multi-pair styles that can be used for control, instrumentation/signal, power and lighting.  Insulation types are varied ranging from VNTC (Vinyl Nylon Tray Cable – least expensive), CVTC (Continuous Vulcanization Tray Cable) and ultimately to FREP (Flame-Retardant Ethylene Propylene Rubber – highest quality).  The insulation required depends on the environment and is usually dictated by the end user or engineer.

At French Gerleman, we stock many variations of General Cable Tray Cable in full reels or cut to custom lengths. With General Cable’s FREP® and VNTC®, you have access to the broadest line of industrial tray cable available in the market.

To complement our tray cable offering, we stock fittings and connectors specified for tray cable applications.

French Gerleman’s in-stock tray cable offering:

  • Jacket materials: PVC, XLP, FREP, CPE, LSZH and more
  • Shielded or Non-shielded options
  • Voltages: 300V or 600V
  • Colors: standard and special color codes available
  • Lengths: standard lengths or custom cuts
  • Fittings and connectors in stock

Interested in learning more or getting started with tray cable? Give your Account Manager a call today!


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Convenient Electronic and Online Options for Your Business from French Gerleman

Looking for ways to save time, money and ultimately, make your life, and job easier? You have enough on your plate, and we want to help streamline the process and make the experience working with French Gerleman as simple and convenient as possible. That is why we offer a wide array of electronic and online options!

Technology is constantly changing and advancing, and we want to provide valuable business tools to help you manage your account information and transactions with us.  We have convenient order and Invoice management as well as e-Commerce Solutions that are quick and easy.

In this blog, we will highlight options that are currently available to help build our business partnership. For full details and specifics on our offerings, you can download our Electronic & Online Options brochure HERE.

  • Online Credit Application: Request an account with open payment terms.
  • Electronic Invoicing: Free electronic invoicing, receive statements on invoices faster.
  • Online Payments- Automated Clearing House (ACH): Pay your invoices online and eliminate paper clutter, as well as review invoice history and account balances…
  • Electronic Data Interface (EDI): Receive data from your company via EDI, receive electronic orders, order acknowledgements and invoices.
  • Online Ordering: Order the products you need online with real-time product availability and pricing.
  • Credit Card Payment: Pay using Mastercard, Visa, American Express or Discover cards.
  • Request Quote: Request quotes for your unique item and we’ll respond with availability and pricing.
  • Shipment Notifications: Know when products are being shipped to your warehouse or job site.
  • Return Goods Authorization Request: Easily request a return authorization.
  • eQuote: Access your quotes online for up to 60 days.
  • Punchout: Automate ordering directly from your internal procurement system.

In addition to our electronic and online business options, we offer training on the latest technologies to help increase your company’s return on investment. We offer courses to help you effectively implement your automation, datacom, electrical supply, power transmission and safety investments. We can also create custom and private training.  Contact us for more information.

To discuss available electronic or online options, contact your French Gerleman Account Manager or visit us online at frenchgerleman.com/EZTDBW.  Don’t have an account manager?  Call 800-333-3122 to learn more.

 


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Rebuilding Together Day, Year 12: Bringing the Community Together

At French Gerleman, we enjoy giving back to the communities we serve. In St. Louis, we are passionate about Rebuilding Together and are proud that so many employees and vendors were willing to donate their time, money and products to help others in the community. This was our 12th year participating in Rebuilding Together Day, and this year was extra special as we experienced some challenges that put our team to the test.

In February, we were assigned our home and we assembled our team. Bob Anderson stepped up to be our House Captain this year, and Vickie Katashuk returned as our Volunteer Coordinator for the seventh year.

When we met with Rebuilding Together about our assigned home, they detailed the home’s issues that needed attention to make it more livable and secure. After our initial meeting with the Rebuilding Together team, we had a couple months to meet with the homeowner and tour her house to confirm the projects that we would take on and begin compiling the items needed.

The homeowner we partnered with this year was Miss Joyce Johnson-Seddens, a lovely, kind woman in her 60s who lives in north St. Louis. When you meet Joyce, you can’t help but love her. We had originally outlined this project to cover fixing her AC unit, painting the exterior of her home, updating her yard and retaining wall and various minor repairs around the house. After touring the home and talking to Miss Joyce about what would help make her home more livable and functional for HER, we decided we needed to add a few projects to our list! That list included:

  • New AC unit
  • Exterior paint
  • New retaining wall
  • Yard work/clean up
  • Fix fencing in yard
  • Safety measures – fix railings in basement and front stairs
  • Replace glass panel doors with security doors
  • Post repair
  • Install new LED lighting throughout the house
  • Install gutter guards
  • New crawl space doors
  • Cleaned the house
  • New garbage disposal

The funding from Rebuilding Together was tight this year, so we knew we needed to work hard to stay in budget or get items donated. We only had a budget of $1,000 from Rebuilding Together, so we knew we needed to solicit additional donations. Between employees, vendors and customers, we pulled together more than $3,000 in donations (monetary and materials) for the project!

It’s amazing to see our community come together to help someone in need. We called Vogel AC to help us fix Miss Joyce’s AC unit that had not been functioning for quite some time. Vogel was kind enough to donate and install a brand new AC unit, going above and beyond our expectations. This is something Joyce desperately needed for the hot St. Louis summer days.

The LED lighting that we installed throughout the house was provided by Philips and Lithonia Lighting. Not only does the new lighting help improve the overall appearance of her home, but the technology will save her hundreds of dollars on energy bills! When Miss Joyce found out how much money she would be saving, her face lit up and she was thrilled. It’s moments like that, when you see the homeowner get emotional, that makes all of our team’s hard work worth it.

We also had a plumber at the house doing some minor repairs and he saw that her garbage disposal was not working. He happened to have one in his truck and he gave it to her! The kindness we experienced throughout this process is truly overwhelming and we feel incredibly lucky.

Rebuilding Day might just be one day, but because of the scope of the project and our desire to provide the best experience for Miss Joyce, we had volunteers at the home throughout the week leading up to the Day and many days following to ensure we completed each task. In total, we had 24 volunteers who came out to join us at Rebuilding Day, ranging from French Gerleman employees, families, friends and even customers from Lange Tech. Some of our volunteers had to battle the flooding to make it out to help, which we thought would be a setback, but they braved the elements! One of our volunteers had a flooded basement at his house, but he joined us because he felt like it was his commitment and where he needed to be.

“Rebuilding Together Day can be stressful,” said Bob.  “We’re worried about getting all of our projects completed, we sometimes experience setbacks and the work is hard, physically and emotionally. But at the end of the day, you forget about the stress, the pain and the long hours when you see the look on the homeowner’s face, the emotion and pure joy they experience when they see their ‘new’ home.”

When we asked Vickie what brings her back to Rebuilding Together, year after year, she said, “You replace that person’s face with a family member’s face, someone you love. You would take care of your family and do anything to ensure that they are safe, secure and comfortable. That’s exactly what we do for these people. We love these people and will take care of them like they are our family, just like we hope someone would do for our family members if they were in need.”

A big thank you to our wonderful volunteers, employees, vendors and customers who supported our team through this process and Rebuilding Together.  Without all of you, it wouldn’t be possible to raise the donations we did or to accomplish all the projects we did for Miss Joyce.

And a special thank you to Bob and Vickie for their selfless, hard work and dedication to Rebuilding Together. They went above and beyond to make sure Miss Joyce’s house was safe, secure and that the remodel made an impact on her life.

Are you or your business looking for a great organization to support? Rebuilding Together is a wonderful organization who could use some help, both monetary donations and volunteers are greatly appreciated. Be sure to visit http://www.rebuildingtogether-stl.org/ to learn more.


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The New OSHA 1910 Regulations — What do they mean for you?

You may have heard by now that OSHA has updated its 1910 General Industry regulations regarding walking-working surfaces and personal protective equipment. These new regulations went into effect on January 17, 2017. What are the changes and what do they mean for you? It can seem a bit overwhelming as there are many changes in the regulations (which is a 513-page update), so our friends over at Guardian Fall Protection pulled together a list of the most impactful updates and what they mean for you. You can check out Part 1 of their guide HERE and Part 2 HERE.

One of the most wide-ranging change is the addition of personal fall protection systems and safety nets as an option for protecting workers from falls. By expanding the standards to allow more options to protect the worker, OSHA will allow employers and workers to use the system that they feel will protect them the best and is most suitable for the specific situation.

With the new regulations, training is huge. Workers will be even more knowledgeable about fall protection hazard identification and mitigation with new training standards.

Another big change affects fixed ladders. All existing ladders taller than 24′ must have a cage, well, ladder safety system or personal fall arrest system in place by November 19, 2018. There are a lot of changes when it comes to ladders, so be sure to stay ahead of the game and check out the changes HERE.

Rope descent systems and anchorages are also addressed in the new regulations. OSHA now requires that before use, “the building owner must inform the employer, in writing, that the building owner has identified, tested, certified, and maintained each anchorage so it is capable of supporting 5,000 pounds in any direction.” Somewhere around 487,500 buildings will require annual inspections and decennial certification. Make sure your anchorages have been inspected and certified!

This is just a small snapshot of the OSHA changes, be sure to check out Guardian’s breakdown of new regulations. If you have any questions, give your account manager a call!


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IDEAL National Championship: How Electricians Become Legends

Do you have the power to be the best electrician in the nation? Now is your chance to see if you have what it takes!

IDEAL Electrical, a leading tool and electrical supply company based in Sycamore, IL, is once again hosting the IDEAL National Championship to honor and showcase abilities of electricians as well as award more than $500,000 in cash and prizes.

The IDEAL National Championship features several categories for competition: Individual-Professional, Individual-Student/Apprentice, Team- Professional, and Team- Student/Apprentice.

The Qualifying Round challenge requires competitors to demonstrate both mental problem-solving and physical skills across five categories: pulling wire, cutting stripping, terminating and testing on a preassembled electrical platform. Does this sound like something you could master? Time to sign up!

We are excited to host local Qualifying Round events at several of our upcoming Customer Appreciation Days! Mark your calendars:

  • St. Louis, MO – Thursday, June 15, 11 a.m. to 1p.m.
  • Quincy, IL – Wednesday, June 21, 11 a.m. to 1p.m.
  • Washington, MO – Wednesday, September 13, 11 a.m. to 1p.m.
  • Columbia, MO – Friday, September 15, 11 a.m. to 1p.m.

If you are interested in competing, go to IDEALnationals.com to register and search for your local Qualifying Round event. We can’t wait to have all the legends-in-the-making compete at our Customer Appreciation Days!


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Reduce Downtime with HydroDuty Washdown Motors

Introducing the best stainless steel washdown motors in the industry: the HydroDuty from Bluffton Motor Works WEG Group! Designed and manufactured in Bluffton, Indiana, the HydroDuty is designed for dependable operation in harsh, high moisture environments. Typical applications for this motor line include food and beverage processing, car washes, pharmaceuticals and marine applications.

Electrical Specifications

  • Three phase design
  • 2, 4 and 6 pole motors (3450,1725, and 1140 RPM)
  • 208-230/460 volt
  • Continuous duty
  • Insulation system Class F inverter duty
  • Encapsulated windings
  • 60/50 & 60 HZ
  • IP66 Rated
  • 0 & 1.15 service factors

Mechanical Specifications

  • Frame types: face mounted NEMA 56C face, 143TC, 145TC, 182TC and 184TC
  • Rigid or no base
  • TEFC or TENV construction
  • Double-sealed ball bearings
  • Stainless steel shaft

The HydroDuty features an industry-leading warranty that covers defects in materials and workmanship, AND includes water intrusion! If water enters the motor and causes it to fail, the motor will be covered under warranty. This warranty makes this product unique –  Bluffton will guarantee that the motor won’t fail because of water ingression inside the motor.

The bearing system in a washdown application is typically the first thing to fail because of the high-pressure spraying the motor endures. The HydroDuty features a triple seal system with an external stainless steel slinger that helps deflect the water from getting past it. Behind that is a check seal that flattens when the motor starts up to keep the water from getting past that section of the motor. Inside of that section there is a third portion of protection – a Viton oil seal that fits against the sealed bearing. With this design, Bluffton provides excellent protection of the bearings, both from the front and rear.

Another key feature of this motor is its full winding encapsulation which prevents water from getting to the electrical system. It also makes the motor inverter duty. The windings are 100% protected with this insulation system. Its SprayGuard encapsulation provides superior protection from water, chemicals and condensation.

The HydroDuty motor includes O-rings on both end shields. This prevents any water that might get past the end shields from entering the frame. The center cavities of the end shields drain diverting moisture away from the bearings. The O-rings have an expanded shell on both ends providing a greater surface area to prevent moisture entry. The press fit end bells, with water blocking O-ring, ensures NO moisture intrusion.

In typical industry conduit boxes, the lead entry hole is a weak point in preventing moisture ingress into a motor. Not with HydroDuty! Their epoxy encapsulated conduit box is completely sealed. This prevents moisture intrusion through the power lead entry.

The HydroDuty also features a waterproof splice kit to keeps connections dry. Its the technology used in submersible pumps. The waterproof splice kit must be installed for warranty to be valid.

The final key feature is the patented Gortex breather vent. The breather vent is press fit into the end shield and allows air to be exchanged internally to the motor. This prevents oil and water contamination inside the motor.

The superior sealing system and encapsulated windings  the HydroDuty provides will help reduce, or eliminate, the two primary causes of all motor failures. This ensures optimal motor performance and decreases unnecessary downtime, which improves profit.

Try HydroDuty motors in your most challenging washdown environment applications. Because it is built for the toughest environments, you should see a decrease in your unnecessary downtime thus increasing production and plant efficiency. Contact your French Gerleman Account Manager to learn more about this industry leading washdown motor.


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French Gerleman Customer Appreciation Days are Back!

‘Tis the season for Customer Appreciation Days! We’ve been looking forward to these events and busy planning them for months.  We are excited to share with you our upcoming customer appreciation events!

Kansas City Customer Appreciation Day
Wednesday, May 3
11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
9735 Commerce Parkway, Lenexa, KS 66219

If you’re in the Kansas City area, be sure to join us for our first customer appreciation day! We will be serving lunch, we will have product experts on hand and you can check out the new products available from French Gerleman.

Exhibiting manufacturers include: APC, Appleton, Brady, IDEAL, Mersen, Shimpo and Philips. Download the event flyer HERE.

Quincy Customer Appreciation Day
Wednesday, May 10
11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
1700 North 45th Street, Quincy, IL 62305

Quincy always knows how to throw a great Customer Appreciation Event! Join us for lunch, meet with product experts and dive into the newest products available from French Gerleman.

Exhibiting manufacturers include: Brady, Dialight, General Cable, Greenlee, Hubbell, Philips, Thomas & Betts and Universal Lighting. Download the event flyer HERE.

Washington Customer Appreciation Day
Wednesday, May 24
11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
1 Chamber Drive, Washington, MO 63090

Washington, MO, there’s an event for you, too! Join us at our Washington branch for lunch, product demos and to talk to product experts.

Exhibiting manufacturers include: Eaton B-Line Series, Fluke, SolaHD, Thomas & Betts and Universal Lighting. Download the event flyer HERE.

Columbia Customer Appreciation Day
Friday, June 2
11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
1815 Vandiver Drive, Columbia, MO 65202

Join us for lunch, demos of the newest products available from French Gerleman and have a meet and greet with product experts!

Exhibiting manufacturers include: Dialight, General Cable, Greenlee, Hubbell, Lutze, Omni Cable, Philips and Thomas & Betts. Download the event flyer HERE.

St. Louis Customer Appreciation Day
Thursday, June 15
11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
2023 Westport Center Drive, St. Louis, MO 63146

If you’re in the St. Louis city, county, or surrounding areas, this customer appreciation event at our French Gerleman headquarters is for you! There will be lunch, product demos, new product displays and you can meet with experts in the field.

Exhibiting manufacturers include: Appleton, Brady, First Air Only, General Cable, Ideal, LUTZE, Mersen, Nidec-Shimpo, Panduit and Philips Lighting. Flyer coming soon HERE.

Be sure to mark your calendars! We look forward to celebrating you at our customer appreciation days. It’s our way of saying thank you for your continued support of French Gerleman while keeping you updated on new technologies and industry trends.


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Our Solar Array: Where are we now?

In 2013, we launched the French Gerleman Solar Testing and Learning Center. It was one of the largest and most complex solar arrays, designed to test and demonstrate a wide variety of components and technologies, while offering customers an educational environment.

Here we are, four years later, and our Solar Learning Center has been a success. Our investment incorporates four different monitoring systems, three panel technologies of various wattages and three different types of inverter technologies. Due to the system’s complexity, the project took more than a year to design and build.

Here are a few key features of our Solar Testing and Learning Center and how it has grown.

Education

We built our Solar Testing and Learning Center with our customers in mind. For our new customers just getting into the solar business, we use it to explain how solar works and the different types of products used when installing systems. Being able to see and explore the different products is a great bonus for these customers. Our newer customers tell us the Learning Center has helped them to not only design and install their systems, but helped with identifying the details that need to be considered when getting started.

Our existing solar customers have seen real value in the Solar Testing and Learning Center. We often receive requests from customers to bring their clients to our facility. It’s more than just a sales tool, it’s an educational experience. Our learning center helps their customers to understand and feel comfortable with solar, and helps them to make informed decisions.

Training

Our Solar Testing and Learning Center is a great training resource for our customers and internal employees. We have brought in industry experts to teach classes and provide product training. We’ve also had customers use the Learning Center to train their employees on the various aspects of solar arrays.

Products

Our Solar Testing and Learning Center has panels tilted at 20, 10 and 0 degrees, or flat. We did this to show how the tilt of the panel can have variable production values based on the sun angle at different times of the year.

Our Learning Center showcases various solar racking options.  Racking adds to the weight of the system on your roof as well as if they penetrate your structure or not.  For residential, we offer a rail and rail less racking solution for rooftops. For commercial installations, we offer ballasted racking, a flat roof non-penetrating solution that is held down by concrete blocks. For both residential and commercial, we also offer ground mount racking, which is sometimes preferred.

Our Learning Center demonstrates the effect of weather and the elements on solar systems.  Customers can see how soiling can accumulate on panels based on their tilt, how they look in the spring when pollen is prevalent or with snow in the winter.  The various tilts showcase how the panel can be naturally cleaned by rain or other precipitation.  Visitors can also observe the effect of hail on the panels, especially in the spring and fall months. Our panels are rated to withstand up to 1″ hail hitting at 50 miles per hour.  Our various racking solutions showcase the effects of wind and the system’s weight on the roof.

A variety of inverters are showcased in our Learning Center.  Inverters converts the DC power generated by the solar panels into AC power used to run our homes and businesses.  There are different types of inverters that can be used, depending upon site’s environment and size.

And finally, our Learning Center features the balance of systems products, which includes everything outside of the panels, inverts and racking. This includes electrical equipment, lightning arresters, combiner boxes, etc.

Conclusion

Our Solar Testing and Learning Center has been a success. Since its commissioning, our 50KW solar array has produced more than 190 Megawatt hours! It has shown an excellent economical return on investment, but the education, training and product showcase has exceeded the economical ROI through the relationships we have built and sustained.

Do you have any questions on solar arrays, solar energy or our Solar Testing and Learning Center? Give us a call! We’d love to have you out, give you a tour and answer any questions you might have.