Friday, January 4, 2013

SALT & Mage Solar Complete Solar Install on Historic Pigeon Key

We recently teamed up with Mage Solar and completed a complete off-grid solar installation out on the historic Pigeon Key located in the heart of the Florida Keys.  Check out the following press release put out by Mage Solar:

MAGE SOLAR and SALT complete off-grid installation on historical island in Florida Keys

5 acre island realizes Phase I of solar development; Solar replaces diesel-generator for clean energy
The 24 kW solar array is located in between the Old Seven Mile Bridge and the new Seven Mile Bridge and is elevated to allow use as a covered pavilion for picnics and meeting. Underground electrical wires carry the solar energy produced to the charger/inverter equipment and 48-volt storage batteries 500 feet on the opposite side of the island. © Andy Newman
Dublin (Georgia), January 03, 2013.—MAGE SOLAR, a turn-key provider of optimally coordinated PV solutions, and SALT Service Inc. completed a 24 kW PV-system with battery backup on a historical island in the idyllic Florida Keys.

Pigeon Key is located between Key West and Key Largo and well known as a paradise for snorkelers with its pristine turquoise waters and fascinating sea life. In sight of US Highway 1 it is accessible only by waterway or through a 2.2 mile pedestrian bridge. Without any connection to the power grid, the island—like many off-grid locations in the Keys—is dependent on diesel generators for electricity. The fuel for these generators typically had to be transported by ferry from the mainland which had been not only a rather expensive but also extremely risky transport environmentally in the delicate ecosystem of the Keys.

Within this sensitive ecosystem, the Pigeon Key Foundation operates a Marine Science Center for children as well as adults and a museum detailing the island’s history. Seven of the island’s twelve buildings are on the national register of historic places and a reminder of the time the island served as camp for up to 400 railroad workers in the beginning of the 20th century. Millionaire entrepreneur Henry Flagler invested a fortune in building the Overseas Railway connecting Key West with Key Largo, an undertaking many of his contemporaries deemed impossible and that was also admiringly dubbed “8th Wonder of the World” after its completion in 1912. Now the island is home of yet another innovative development: the Key’s very first solar array on historical grounds.

Besides providing a good percentage of the foundation’s energy needs to run the museum and the marine center, the solar panels will reduce CO2-emissions by almost 61 tons annually. It is not a coincidence that 50% of the project costs were covered by a grant of the Tourist Development Committee who takes the preservation of one of the world’s most unique and beautiful ecosystems rather seriously.

“The installation of solar power was a natural choice,” said Pigeon Key Foundation Chairman Jason Koler. “The diesel system, while revolutionary when it was installed, became an increasing environmental and financial liability. Our mission is to protect our natural resources and with this new power source we will continue to inspire a new generation of environmental stewards.”
SALT Service Inc. is a Marathon, Florida, based solar integrator who designed, developed and executed the demanding installation of the 24 kW array. All 96 of the high-yielding 250 Wp MAGE POWERTEC PLUS monocrystalline PV-modules had to be transported by boat to the island before they could be mounted onto a custom-built aluminum frame designed to withstand 180 mph wind loads. The 1,700 sq ft canopy will serve as a picnic area for the thousands of visitors who can now enjoy the stunning setting of the island in the shade and shelter of the array.

In addition to the challenges of being in a flood and hurricane zone, limited to ferry access for construction, this project required coordination between The Pigeon Key Foundation, Monroe County Commissioners and Building Permit personnel, SALT Service, Inc., The Tourist Development Council and the Historical Preservation Committee in addition to MAGE SOLAR and other solar product providers and specialty contractors.  SALT Service, Inc. President, Chuck Meier, states “SALT is honored to have played a key role in this world class installation that will provide functional and educational benefits for many years.  It was very rewarding to observe the expression on the faces of those who have been operating and maintaining the generators for years when the solar was turned on and the generator turned off.  Everyone enjoyed the overwhelming ‘sound of silence’.”
MAGE SOLAR’s CEO and President Joe Thomas is equally excited: “Pigeon Key is a place of such breathtaking beauty and I couldn’t be more pleased about the Foundation’s decision to go solar. To realize this project was the right choice from an environmental standpoint but also critical in the continued success of the island as a prime tourist destination in one of the world’s most pristine ecosystems. Our thanks and heartfelt congratulations go out to both partners, the Pigeon Key Foundation as well as SALT Service Inc. for a job most wonderfully done.”

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Solar Installation Begins on Pigeon Key

For those living in (or visiting) the Keys, you may have noticed construction going on at Pigeon Key as you've driven over the 7 Mile Bridge.  SALT Service, Inc. is currently installing a solar array on Pigeon Key!  The installation is not yet complete, but here are some pictures of the process so far:

Surveying the Footings

Most of the materials had to be brought over by barge, including this 4,000lb battery!

The first solar panel goes up!

 A look at the structure that will hold the solar panel array.

We will post pictures of the finished system as soon as it is complete!

Monday, October 8, 2012

SALT goes solar!

We are so excited to share with you pictures of the our new solar system at SALT Service, Inc!  After years of dreaming and planning (and years of installing solar on OTHER homes and businesses!), SALT's headquarters has finally gone solar!

Check out this progression of pictures:

Here is how SALT looked when we first acquired our new building back in 2008. 

 Before moving in to our new location, we renovated our building.

 In October 2012, we installed our 2,750 watt solar system!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

SALT's Response to "Scamnation"

In their October 2012 issue, Consumer Reports investigates "Scamnation" - which includes an investigation of the solar industry.  The investigation includes some very good points; however, we disagree with some of the statements that were made.  The following is SALT Service, Inc's response to the article:


Good points were made in the October article "Scamnation".  Concerning solar, our company, SALT Service Inc. , located in the Florida Keys, has been in the solar business for over 20 years.  As a state licensed contractor,  we are equally concerned about the lack of integrity associated with substandard product, thumbnail engineering and incompetent workmanship.  This only adds to the challenge of designing for corrosion and 180 mph wind code, further pushing the disparity between the cost of a well engineered system and one that is sold simply on dollars per watt.  However, you did your readers a disservice implying that purchasing a solar system is the equivalent of 30 - 40 years worth of electricity in advance.  Solar system prices have decreased by 26% from 2009 to 2010 and then another 11% in the first half of 2011, so your calculations are not reflective of current costs.  When you couple that with a 30% Federal Investment Tax Credit and possible state or local utility rebates, most solar systems can show an ROI of 6 - 8% and a pay back in less than 12 years.  Consumers purchase vehicles at similar costs to solar systems then pay for fuel, maintenance and suffer depreciation of the car's value from the first day of purchase.  Solar systems are warranted for 25 years, require little to no maintenance and reduce your electric bills.

We agree that there are scam agents out there and we have been called to repair several systems installed by out-of-towners who are now out of business.  Consumers should carefully consider the location of any  home improvement vendor.

Finally, to your suggestion to pay no more than 10% or $1000 up front, we cannot even get an engineered plan to submit for a building permit for under $1000, so a down payment must be sufficient to pay for the engineering and site specific equipment.  We appreciate your diligence in watching out for unscrupulous business practices in the solar industry, please feel free to contact us for any further insights.

Best Regards,
Bob Williams
SALT Service, Inc.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Marine Electric Propulsion Systems

Stay tuned - SALT has exciting news releasing soon about the launch of the latest marine electric propulsion systems!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Largest Solar System with Battery Back-Up in the Florida Keys

SALT just completed the current largest solar photovoltaic grid-tie system with battery back-up in the Florida Keys.  That's a mouthful.  This system is amazing - it utilizes 36 230W solar modules and is capable of producing over 8,000 watts of power!  During a power outage, the battery back-up allows a seamless transition so the power outage does not affect the home - when others are sitting in the dark, our solar customers with battery back-up can continue on as if everything's normal.

SALT continues to lead in designing and installing quality solar systems for homes, businesses, and boats.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Cruiser's University 2011

"United States Yacht Shows, Inc., producer of the renowned United States Sail and Powerboat Shows, is launching a new event for aspiring, as well as experienced, cruisers: The first annual Cruisers University, to be held May 12-15, 2011 at the Baltimore Marine Center at Inner Harbor."

Check out Cruisers University for more info and to register for this exciting event!

Bob Williams, of SALT Service, Inc., will be teaching a number of sessions at this event being held in Baltimore, MD.  Such topics include:
-Solar & Wind Power Technologies
-Refrigeration Aboard (an overview of refrigeration design and technologies available to the cruiser)
-Electrical Systems: Design and Management (power system design and management offshore)
-Watermakers Reviewed (including energy management with desalination systems)