Solar energy, while abundant (especially in the Southeast!), can often be too expensive to harness. One ATDC portfolio startup, Quest Renewables, has developed a technology to help solar developers save time and money when installing commercial projects. The QuadPod Canopy is a 3-dimensional truss system that can be installed on existing structures, like parking lots, for an easy on-ground assembly process that is safe and reduces costs.
The company has already tackled a good portion of the market with more than $1M in completed and current projects. Its design makes it more approachable for businesses to install and adopt — moving forward a sustainable energy model.
“We are reducing traditional barriers to going solar with parking canopies. Less steel, less foundations and less customer disruption,” says Will Arnold, SVP, Operations. Quest is well on its way to reducing that friction in the $1B solar canopy industry.
You’ll soon see their canopy at work at the LEED Platinum certified Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, where the 617kW QuadPod solar canopy will generate enough electricity to power nine home games. Arnold talks more about Quest’s success so far, the QuadPod’s benefits, and their projects stretching from Maine to California.
Describe the QuadPod technology.
QuadPod is a lightweight architectural structure that integrates more effectively with a customer’s property by reducing construction time and structural columns. 90 percent of QuadPod’s construction activity, including assembly, wiring and lighting, takes place on the ground. After assembly, wiring and lighting, the solar canopies are lifted by crane for final installation, minimizing overhead work and optimizing worksite safety. Worksites are safer and more efficient with construction crews working on the ground.
How is Quest Renewables influencing the solar market by making it more affordable?
We enable projects to proceed that would not otherwise. The best example is our work on parking decks, as shown by our most recent project in Maine. This project was the first canopy in Maine, and likely the easiest/least expensive canopy project ever, given the high wind and snow and proximity to the bay which requires a higher galvanization specification for erosion.
Many of your canopies are installed on parking decks. Why is this the best spot for them?
Our highest value proposition is currently on parking decks, but we are about to debut a new configuration specifically tailored to meet the form factor standard parking lot solar canopies.
How does the QuadPod actually work?
The QuadPod technology enables an architectural canopy through use of a 3D truss or space frame. These trusses enable greater strength through their form and shape, as opposed to steel alone, as they have a lot of depth. Though this truss type is not new, the QuadPod features patented connection types that enable a faster install and less expensive manufacturing, thus allowing it to be a good fit for the solar market.
What are some locations in the Southeast already enjoying the benefits of solar via the QuadPod?
Decatur GA’s Agnes Scott College’s west parking deck features a 93kW parking garage canopy. The system generates 130MWh annually. Of the project, Inman Solar Director of Product Development, Brion Fitzpatrick, (Quest’s customer on the Agnes Scott project) said “Quest Renewables set out to be more efficient and less expensive solar canopy solution, and they nailed it.”
Most recently, Atlanta GA’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium features a 617kW long-span canopy. The system generates 868MWh annually.
Quest Renewables’ QuadPod is helping power the new Mercedes-Benz stadium. How will the solar technology power the stadium and help move Atlanta’s sustainability vision forward?
The solar technology at the new Mercedes-Benz stadium will generate enough energy to power more than 9 Atlanta Falcons home games or 13 Atlanta United home matches. The overall system, which includes Quest Renewables’ QuadPods long-span canopies, will generate around 1.6 million kWH per year of renewable energy.
What’s next for Quest Renewables in the next 6 months? Any future initiatives you would like to mention?
Quest Renewables has a high level of repeat business, and we will continue to focus on delighting our customers. We will continue to develop innovative, new commercial canopy products that meet the needs of our customer base. Our Salisbury, MA project debuts this month and our first CA project will begin this summer.