Solar Power World: “Freedom Solar Power completes 1.97-MW rooftop array for steel company”

Originally published by Solar Power World; Written by Kelsey Misbrener

Freedom Solar Power announced the largest commercial solar installation in the greater Houston, Texas area in partnership with Stainless Structurals, a supplier specializing in the design, production and distribution of stainless steel solutions. The 1.97-MW installation was completed in March 2024.

The Stainless Structurals rooftop installation encompasses over 4,000 solar panels across 118,000 ft2 of roof (a half-mile) to power a more sustainable and self-sufficient future for Stainless Structurals by offsetting energy usage by 78% and saving the company $4.8 million over the next 25 years. The initial motivator for this facility improvement project was to find a thermal barrier solution for their rooftop to reduce the temperatures on the floor of their manufacturing facility, which at times were reaching upwards of 100°F due to Texas summer heat gain.

When researching options, Stainless Structurals was surprised to learn that solar panels will reduce the internal temperature of the Stainless Structurals facility by an incredible 38%, which will significantly cut the air conditioning costs, while naturally improving indoor comfort and protecting building materials. Although other cooling methods are not covered by tax credits, installing solar allows organizations to utilize tax incentives and rebates such as the Investment Tax Credit (ITC), the 10% Energy Community incentive, the 10% Low Income Community incentive, and the Federal MACRS Bonus Depreciation, all of which will help cover over 50% of the costs of going solar. Plus, solar energy was a fit for their corporate sustainability goals.

“The ability to have 100% carbon free energy source was the most important and final step to close our cycle of sustainability for our products in the ability to produce a near-zero carbon footprint product,” said Mattia Del Giacco, CEO of Stainless Structurals.

Less than a hundred miles away from the Stainless Structurals facility sits Spindletop, which is hailed as one of the most transformative oil fields marking the start of the Texas oil boom. Over one hundred years later, this solar installation, which will replace the equivalent of 3,900 barrels of oil per year with electricity from clean renewable sources, ushers in a new revolutionary moment for energy.