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TRA Snow And Sun's Innovative Solar Awning System Installed On Retaining Wall

The solar-collecting awning by TRA Snow and Sun is shown in various stages of installation, from the start (bottom photo) to completion (top two photos).

What do you do when you decide to put a pool where you originally planned to install a solar power system and the roof won’t work?

You get the determined folks at TRA Snow and Sun to help you think outside the box and create an innovative concept! That’s what contractors of a Bourne, Massachusetts home did when they encountered this issue on the project being constructed in a beautiful wooded area with a steep hillside at the back of the property.

Here’s what transpired.

Plymouth Solar Energy of Plymouth, Massachusetts was assigned the task of determining where to place the solar energy system during the construction of a large home. After making the site visit, Greg Aborn of Plymouth, determined that the terrain was unsuitable for a ground mount system. The soil was too sandy, unstable and steep. When the owners disclosed that they had now decided to build a retaining wall and put in a pool, Aborn began research into alternative solutions. This is how he discovered TRA Snow and Sun’s Awning Solution.

Aborn said, “I am very strict with the quality of materials and products that I will allow for any of our installations, so I began digging deep into the awning - racking materials, engineering, installation methods/requirements, grounding, mid/end clamps etc... I was very pleased with TRA’s product in every way.”

Gary Heslington

Gary Heslington, of TRA Snow and Sun, was involved in the engineering and designing which began as a new concept – an awning system attached to the retaining wall, which was still in the design stage when he came on board. TRA worked hard on several different designs, trying to find one that would work well for the solar installer and homeowner. He said, “When the concrete retaining wall idea was included where the awning system was eventually attached, we had to do three complete revisions, and then it took several months for the property owners to approve. But we stayed in touch and were very happy when we got the go-ahead from Plymouth.”

TRA Snow and Sun has a reputation for creating engineered systems for solar mounting and roof snow retention systems and are very adept at thinking outside the box. They used all of their experience (25+ years) and resources on this project. The engineering and time spent was free.

Aborn explained some of the difficult aspects of completing this project, “Mounting a highly visible system in a tough environment for exposure to the elements meant I needed to place significant emphasis on system durability and longevity. I would bet my last dollar the wall will fail before our system does!”

To install this solar panel system, they fabricated custom scaffolding which allowed the installers to stage the wall in sections while not disturbing the soil retention (special grass to hold the soil together) that the homeowners were required to plant in compliance with tight property set-backs. Erosion concerns with the abutting neighbor and steep property topography leading downhill were also factors in the installation.

TRA’s mounting system, combined with creative problem solving, eventually overcame what seemed like insurmountable obstacles across an extremely complicated range of municipal regulations and restrictions. The finished product exceeded the homeowners' expectations and created a solar power system that creates 12.3 KW of energy while conforming to the requirements of both local authorities and the homeowner.

In the end, Aborn has high praise for TRA Snow and Sun’s products and service, stating, “I hope this puts as big of a smile on your face as it does mine!! I want my salesmen to sell a whole lot more of these!!”

About TRA Snow & Sun

TRA_Snow_And_Sun_logoTRA Snow & Sun Inc., located in American Fork, Utah, offers snow retention solutions, solar tile mounting solutions, and roof ventilation and flashing. Product lines are easily installed on nearly any style of roof or roofing material. Snow Retention Solutions include: Snow Bracket™ Snow Guards, Standing Seam Snow Rails, and Deck Mount Snow Rails. Solar Mounting includes a hook style system for tile roofs. Roof Ventilation and Flashing include: TileVent, TileSeal, and VersaFlash. For more information, visit www.trasnowandsun.com.

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