UCR Campus Solar Roof Initiative

UCR Campus Solar Roof Initiative

University of California, Riverside (Riverside, CA)

Stronghold Engineering Inc. was hired by the University of California, Riverside to design, construct and install a photovoltaic (PV) system on two large, targeted campus buildings: the first, the Student Recreation Center (South) with a total rooftop area of 47,400 sq.ft. and the second, the Student Services Building, with a gross rooftop area of approximately 17,850 sq.ft. Utilizing the existing roof footprint of each building, the PV system was expected to provide the maximum generation of renewable power while preserving the existing architectural characteristics and minimizing overall impact to the building. 

To accomplish the stated objectives, Stronghold initially proceeded with the retrofitting of the roofs to ensure proper support of the PV systems.  Once completed, a series of fixed, flat-mounted panel arrays were installed. These panels were partially ballasted to minimize weight and roof penetrations and featured a dual-tilt, East/West facing system which maximized power efficiency and roof space. Likewise, the panels low tilt angle, of approximately 10 degrees, minimizes inter-row shading, allowing rows of modules to be mounted closer together and thereby maximizing available array capacity. This design approach also reduces the wind exposure the arrays will experience resulting in reduced structural requirements for both the PV system racking as well as the building structure.

Photovoltaic production was integrated into the building and existing campus electrical systems and provisions were made for future integration into the University building management systems (BMS) to monitor and trend energy (kWh), instantaneous power (kW), and calculate carbon/greenhouse gas savings in metric tons (tonnes).


“I have had the pleasure of working directly with Mr. Gates and his team on the recent UCR Campus Solar Roof Initiative project. The scope of work for this design-build project involved the design, construction, and installation of a substantial photovoltaic (PV) system on two separate campus buildings. The University felt a Design-Build Project Delivery method would be the best format to allow for creative and innovative results on this project.

The PV system was expected to provide the maximum generation of renewable power while preserving the existing architectural characteristics of the building. Stronghold’s team absolutely delivered on this objective. The team presented a design that featured a very low tilt angle which minimized inter-row shading. This allowed us to mount the arrays closer together without sacrificing overall output. The design also featured a dual- tile, East/West facing system. This feature minimized system wind exposure, which was a concern given that the University is nestled at the base of the Box Springs Mountains and is subject to high winds. In addition, the team worked with us to minimize roof penetrations which helped us to maintain our existing roof warranties.”

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John Franklin
Senior Project Manager
UC Riverside | Planning, Design & Construction