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Transforming a Speculative Warehouse into a 5GW Solar Manufacturing Facility with Precision and Innovation

Transforming a Speculative Warehouse into a 5GW Solar Manufacturing Facility with Precision and Innovation

Invenergy, a trailblazer in sustainable energy solutions, is embarking on the establishment of its inaugural manufacturing facility in the United States. This project involves the transformation of a speculative warehouse into a 5GW 8-line Mono- Crystalline Solar Manufacturing Facility, highlighting Invenergy’s commitment to bringing clean energy to communities around the world and to advancing renewable energy on a grand scale.

The project is a buildout of a 1.1M SF speculative warehouse for a 5GW 8-line Mono-Crystalline Solar Manufacturing Facility. Areas being built include a laboratory, packaging room, warehouses, break rooms, conference rooms, production floor, mechanical rooms and an office. The main utility service upgrades include water, sewer, natural gas and electrical. The shell upgrades include high-bay lighting and new ventilation systems Additionally, 3,000 tons of
cooling load is required to manage equipment heat loads and process mechanical installation including piping, ventilation and ducting and the build requires a complete electrical buildout.

The building selected was originally built as a speculative warehouse, a building designed for high-piled combustible storage, which was designed to minimum code requirements, including minimum heating and air changes, emergency and egress lighting and minimal structural design. This meant that the design and build General Contractor (GC) ARCO/Murray was starting with a 1,100,000 square foot cold, dark box as a canvas.

In order to meet the operational requirements, the ARCO/Murray design included full-package architectural and structural designs. This included a new mezzanine, joist reinforcing for new rooftop equipment and mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) collateral loading. This also included civil design for expanding parking requirements and upgrading electrical and water services. The physical buildout of the speculative building would cover demolition, utility upgrades, a full MEP buildout, demising walls of varying construction types to split the building into 9 operational zones, and 5 office buildouts to support operations.

The desired completion timeframe of quarter 1 of 2024 could not have been met by building a build-to-suit facility, so the focus was to find a speculative building that would fit the facility’s needs. An extensive site selection process that  reviewed potential buildings for this project’s purpose, as well as other potential business needs, took place across multiple states. Square footage, utility service provider and availability were highly weighted variables.

The operational demands for this facility required additional power services to be brought to the building. This was achieved through collaboration between the owner, local utility provider, ARCO/Murray design team, and ARCO/Murray Power Solutions. The electrical upgrades include 4 electrical service entrances provided by the utility company which power 40+ utility-grade transformers serving the building’s systems. There is also an initiative to install a solar roof system to power the building operations further.

CSDA member Donley Concrete Cutting was tasked with a multifaceted aimed at transforming the speculative warehouse into a functional space for Invenergy’s 5GW Solar Manufacturing Facility. Among the tasks undertaken were the flat sawing and removal of 7,000 square feet, 8” interior concrete slab-on-grade for an interior plumbing trench. This process was executed with precision to avoid overcuts, and the removed 700,000 pounds of concrete were disposed of at a local recycling company.

Additionally, the team at Donley Concrete Cutting performed concrete flat work, including flat sawing 2,000 square feet, 8” interior concrete slab-on-grade for mezzanine spread footer installation. Core drilling was also a significant aspect of the project, involving the creation of 200 18” cores for bollard installation.

In terms of electrical work, over 100 3” and 4” diameter cores were drilled in both block and precast walls. Furthermore, a substantial area of 43,000 square feet of 8” exterior concrete slab on grade was flat sawn to facilitate the installation of underground high voltage systems.

The mechanical requirements of the project were met through wall sawing over 60 penetrations in 10” concrete precast walls, located 40’ above grade. These penetrations allowed for the installation of louvers, supply fans, and exhaust fans to ensure proper building ventilation. The constraints of the speculative building demanded creative design solutions, leading to the utilization of knockouts designed into existing tilt panels for ventilation.

Concrete sawing and core drilling were crucial methods employed to penetrate the 8” concrete slabs and the 10” concrete walls with precision. The team adhered to strict safety requirements, ensuring that overcutting was avoided on wall openings to maintain structural integrity and eliminated on the slab for aesthetic reasons.

The concrete slab was cut into manageable pieces using Husqvarna Tier 4 diesel flat saws, and the debris was efficiently removed off-site. Core drilling for electric lines in block and concrete precast walls was performed using the Hilti DD250 core drill and Hilti slurry recovery system to ensure a clean finished product.

For the wall openings, crews worked from scissor lifts and boom lifts, using the Pentruder 8-20 HF wall saw to complete perimeter cuts. Each piece received cores for lifting holes, and the finishing touches were carefully done with the Pentruder chainsaw. The sections were then removed using a telehandler and loaded into dumpsters for proper disposal. After each step, the surrounding work area was power washed to maintain a clean and safe environment. The precision and expertise demonstrated by Donley Concrete Cutting played a pivotal role in overcoming the challenges posed by the speculative building’s constraints.

The multifaceted nature of the endeavor, including areas like laboratories, packaging rooms, warehouses, and more, underscores the complexity and innovation required to drive sustainable energy initiatives. The collaboration between the owner, local utility provider and ARCO/Murray design team to bring over additional power to the facility, coupled with plans for a solar roof system, emphasizes the project’s strategic alignment with clean energy goals.

In parallel, the invaluable contributions of Donley Concrete Cutting in overcoming the challenges of the speculative building’s constraints demonstrate the importance of precision and expertise in executing the necessary tasks. The intricate concrete sawing and core drilling processes were pivotal in meeting operational needs within the structural confines, showcasing the company’s prowess in the field. The successful completion of the first phase ahead of schedule exemplifies the dedication and skill of Donley Concrete Cutting’s highly skilled technicians.

Furthermore, the project selection process, wherein ARCO/Murray utilized a competitive bidding process based on various factors including subcontractor expertise and safety metrics, brings to light the significance of choosing partners with proven track records. Donley Concrete Cutting’s reputation as a highly regarded saw-cutting contractor and their competitive pricing and relevant experience positioned them as the ideal choice for this intricate project.

As these projects progress within budget and schedule, they serve as beacons of innovation and excellence in the pursuit of a cleaner, greener energy future. Their success not only contributes to the global push for sustainability but also underscores the importance of strategic collaborations and precise execution in the renewable energy sector.

In emphasizing the importance of being a CSDA member, the collaborative efforts of Invenergy and Donley Concrete Cutting Co showcase the unique advantages that come with being part of a recognized association. CSDA membership ensures that companies adhere to the highest industry standards, bringing a level of expertise and professionalism that is crucial in executing complex projects. The intricate work undertaken by Donley Concrete Cutting Co, coupled with the strategic decisions made by ARCO/Murray and Invenergy, highlights the significance of partnering with organizations committed to excellence in the field. As the renewable energy landscape continues to evolve, the role of CSDA members becomes increasingly pivotal, ensuring that projects not only meet but exceed industry expectations, setting a standard for sustainability and innovation.

Donley Concrete Cutting Co. just celebrated its 25th anniversary
in 2022. With headquarters in Canal Winchester Ohio, they have
a support location in Cincinnati, Ohio, as well as a Toledo, Ohio,
location which is operated under Duffey Concrete Cutting. Donley
Concrete Cutting Co offers a full service of core drilling, flat
sawing, wall sawing, wire sawing, curb sawing, diamond grooving
and grinding, ground penetrating radar, profilograph services,
selective demolition and vacuum truck operations. They have
been a CSDA member since 2004.
General Contractor
CSDA Contractor: Donley Concrete Cutting Company
Contact for Story: Jason Young
Tel: 614-834-0300
Methods Used: Slab Sawing, Core Drilling, Wall Sawing

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