Platinum Building Automation Completes Automation of Largest Solar Thermal Farm in the U.S.

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Platinum Building Automation has completed the automation of a solar thermal farm at Prestage Foods, a 260,000 square foot turkey processing facility based in St. Pauls, NC. The facility uses the sun to heat water for Prestage Farms’ processes. It is by far the country’s largest solar thermal farm at 4 times the size of the second largest.

Prestage Foods Processing Facility in St. Pauls, NC

In developing the largest solar hot water system in North America, we recognized that automated controls would be critical to the success of the system...

Platinum Building Automation has completed the automation of a solar thermal farm at Prestage Foods, a 260,000 square foot turkey processing facility based in St. Pauls, NC. The facility uses the sun to heat water for Prestage Farms’ processes. It is by far the country’s largest solar thermal farm at 4 times the size of the second largest.

The solar thermal farm was designed, implemented and is owned by FLS Energy (http://www.flsenergy.com) out of Asheville, NC. A custom designed pump house as well as ten, 25,000 gallon storage tanks, are just a few of it’s features.    It uses 2100 solar panels to heat approximately 100,000 gallons of water per day. FLS Energy sells the energy generated back to Prestage Foods. According to Michael Pope, the Prestage plant manager, the solar farm saves Prestage Foods $200,000 (35%) in water heating costs annually.

Russ Thacher, Engineering Manager of FLS Energy said, “In developing the largest solar hot water system in North America, we recognized that automated controls would be critical to the success of the system. At the same time, there was also a realization that, with such an ambitious system, our controls strategy would have to evolve as we optimized the system’s energy production. As our turn-key controls provider for this project, Platinum Building Automation created a system that was both economical and easily adapted as we honed our requirements. Platinum far exceeded our expectations for this project.”

Platinum Building Automation (http://www.platinumbuildingautomation.com) installed KMC BACnet controls, integrated into a Tridium AX front-end system to control the plant. This system gives FLS Energy’s engineers, and Platinum Building Automation programmers, real time access to monitor or make changes at the site from their Asheville office via the internet. “The learning curve on a job of this size is immense. The experience we gained through trial and error and working with the FLS Energy engineers will be tremendously valuable on future solar thermal applications,” said Ryan Hobday, Project Manager/Partner of Platinum Building Automation. “It is extremely rewarding to know that we played a key role in making a huge sustainable energy project like this one perform as it was intended.”

Platinum Building Automation is based in the Charlotte area with its main office in Harrisburg, NC. The company provides BACnet and Tridium new installation, retrofits, service and integration to save it’s customers energy. To learn more about Platinum Building Automation, contact the owners at 704-765-8503, or service(at)platinumbuildingautomation(dot)com.

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