Description

Slide-a-Rack: using roll-forming to make solar arrays faster and cheaper to install.

Current solar module racking systems are multi-component,require pre-ordering, transportation, inventorying,and labour intensive deployment.The patent pending Slide-a-Rack system produces the rack from raw material,on demand and on site during installation process using portable rolling forming.Hardware(materials) cost is 30- 38% less than competitors,it is 2-5 times faster to install.Ministry of Energy -Uganda confirmed it can reduce the racking cost of solar installation by 30%.


Value preposition:

Slide-a-Rack has the following  competitive advantage in addition to the low cost and faster installation.:- simplifies the supply chain;provides a tray in which ballast may be optimally distributed;shields the entire underside of the solar module to minimise wind uplift forces;electrically connects every module providing a continuous electrical grounding frame for the entire solar array, and structurally connects neighbouring solar modules which spreads local stresses across multiple modules.

problem:

Global warming is attributable primarily to burning fossil fuels for energy. 78% of CO2e emissions are CO2 from fossil fuel combustion and industrial processes, and additional greenhouse CO2 equivalent is methane emissions associated with fossil fuel energy. Those who are economically disadvantaged, are also most vulnerable to the effects of global warming. Furthermore, burning fossil fuel energy contributes to outdoor air pollution, which is responsible for approximately 2.6 million deaths per year, and to which urban residents are especially vulnerable.

Part of the solution is making solar power cheaper. The price of solar panels has come down considerably in the past decade, but little progress has been made reducing the other costs associated with solar power. Installer overhead, and labor, as well as materials, accounts for about a quarter of the cost: 52 cents per watt out of total costs of $1.95 per watt for smaller arrays (100 kW), The roll-a-rack can reduce the labor time needed to complete installations by half while cutting materials costs by 30-45%. It can also cut installer overhead by simplifying the process of designing and laying out an array. 

solution

Current solar module racking systems are multi-component, require pre-ordering, transporting, inventorying, and labor-intensive deployment. The patent pending Roll-a-Rack system produces the rack from raw material, on demand and onsite during the installation process using portable roll forming. Hardware (material) cost is 30-45% less than competitors and it is two to five times faster to install. A Department of Energy Phase I SBIR study confirmed it can reduce the racking cost of solar installations by 30%. In addition to lower cost and faster installation, slide-a-Rack has the following competitive advantages: It simplifies the supply chain. It provides a tray in which ballast may be optimally distributed. It shields the entire underside of the solar module to minimize wind uplift forces. It electrically connects every module, providing a continuous electrical grounding frame for the entire solar array. And, it structurally connects neighboring solar modules which spreads local stresses across multiple modules.

New Tech Machinery will produce and support the roll forming machinery and Sheffield Metals International will distribute feedstock. Both companies are owned by the Mazzella Companies conglomerate, and Adam Mazzella, Vice President of Business Development at Newtech Machinery, is on the Advisory Board slide-a-Rack. The business plan calls for slide-a-Rack to find and retain the customer while business partners supply the machine and feedstock. This is an example of what is sometimes called a “platform” business plan.  

Acme Express, Inc. will market direct to customers to promote the adoption of slide-a-Rack technology, using its website, trade publications, trade websites, trade shows, social media, and scientific publications. Acme’s focus is to market and sell slide-a-Rack and train and support customers in its use. New Tech Machinery will produce and support the roll forming machinery and Sheffield Metals International will distribute feedstock. Acme will collect revenue through three channels. First are franchise fees for installers who use the slide--a-Rack system. This will be a one-time $5,000 fee. Second is a 10% (anticipated $6,800) commission on sales of machines by NewTech. Eclipsing the other two revenue streams will be sale of feedstock material (sheet metal). Acme will collect between $0.01 and $0.03 in profit per watt of material sold, on sales of $0.08 to $0.10.