ge solar

General Electric – Solar Manufacturing Facility

Located in Aurora, Colorado, this manufacturing facility produces thin-film photovoltaic solar modules using cadmium substrate technology. This project was split into two phases. Phase one is a plant capable of producing 120 MW panels. Phase 2 is an extension of the plant, both in utilities and in size. The final plant is capable of producing 400 MW panels per year.

This project was sustainable in nature and was designed to take full advantage of the XCEL rebates. Some of the highly sophisticated design features are the air handler units, which include heat recovery (both heat pipe and heat wheel), evaporative cooling using chilled water coils for high peak days, and cutting edge chilled water using VFD chillers and water side economizers. There is also a highly efficient compressed air pant using VFD and advanced drying techniques. Heated Process water from the compressors is used as a passive snowmelt in the winter and pre-heat for the water system.

Variable frequency drives have been placed on all the mechanical equipment allowing GE to best optimize the use of the plant at all times. The controls are an enhanced building automation system that optimizes each piece of equipment for increased efficiency. Some plumbing highlights include a water reduction goal of 40%. A new wastewater and DI plant was installed on-site. Plumbing and process water is treated whenever possible and reused throughout the facility including make-up water for the cooling towers. Retreating waste DI water is done wherever applicable.

The engineering was fast-tracked from schematic to construction documents with a completion of 100% design in only 3.5 months. This included a complete 3-D coordination model with advanced CAD fabrication techniques allowing 95% of the entire mechanical and plumbing systems to be prefabricated in our shops. Prefabrication minimized the construction schedule. The entire model was coordinated with architectural, electrical, mechanical, and structural elements in play-all with Murphy Company leading the effort.

Owner General Electric
Building Type Renovation
Project Size $14,000,000
Contract Type Lump Sum
Completion Date 2012
Project Duration 11 Months

Murphy Team

Project Manager: Terry Ross
Piping Foreman: Rick Chaplin
Plumbing Foreman: Doug Miner
Sheet Metal Foreman: Don Perkins

Project Team

General Contractor: Commerce Construction
Engineer: Murphy Company
Electrical: Sturgeon Electric

Scope of Work

Sheet Metal
Process Piping