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A Solar First, Off-Grid Solar Powered Elevated Water Tower

Solar Design Studio Commercial Solar Case Study - A Solar First, Off-Grid Solar Powered Elevated Water Tower

Problem; how to power a new 2.0 million gallon elevated water tower after it had been determined an electric utility easement could not be obtained to power the site. In addition, if an easement was obtained the cost to install electric service would be extremely high.

Solution, install an Off-Grid Solar PV System.

This was the problem the City of Kansas City, MO Water Department faced when constructing a new Elevated Water Tower. The project located Northeast of HWY 291 and I-435 in Kansas City, MO was constructed to service the growing area’s water needs.

The Water Department contacted the Solar Design Studio to evaluate the situation and propose solution options. The system had to be capable of powering the site’s electric loads, which included 24 hour monitoring and control of water pumping equipment, and lighting.

After reviewing solution options, it was decided to install a ground mounted system comprised of 7 KW of Solar PV Modules, 33 KWH of Battery Storage, 4 KW Inverter and optional generator interface. Outback Power Systems equipment and Solar World Modules were selected because of their “industrial strength” capability to exist in harsh environments and reliability.

The Solar Design Studio designed the system, provided all the equipment, as well as project management and commissioning services. JeanCO LLC, Raymore, MO, constructed the array and installed all equipment. The system was installed and operational in two weeks.

KC Water Tower Solar

Elements of the business case for installing the solar included the following:

  Solar Utility
Cost to Install $55,000 $100,000
On Going Monthly Utility Customer Charge $0.00 $16.45
Monthly Energy Usage Charge Range $0.00 $60 - $250

The solar option first capital cost was $45,000 less than the utility and there is no ongoing and escalating monthly operational cost. The site has a regular monthly maintenance schedule and the solar system maintenance is minimal and easily added to the routine, without additional cost. Battery replacement is planned at 5 years. The cost to replace batteries was determined to be significantly less than the monthly utility charges over a 5 year period.

Off-Grid Solar PV and MicroGrid systems can offer a businesses the option to reduce monthly operational cost. The Solar Design Studio can show you how the financials and technical components can benefit you. Contact us at 816.607.1349 for an initial assessment.

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What Our Clients Are Saying

I have researched adding PV to my home for several years and have met with several PV providers in the KC area and they tend to fall into two broad categories, the new and low budget operators who got into this to ride the wave and are not that knowledgeable, and the commercial providers who have little interest in working with a homeowner and are geared to providing a much larger system where some economy of scale must come into play. Both my wife and I are architects and we wanted something different and it was challenging to find someone who was interested in doing something out of the ordinary. Neither or those types were interested in working with us as we were trying to create something a bit different. they each wanted to sell us their pre-configured solutions.


Fortunately we found Bob Solger. He has been a delight to work with and is incredibly knowledgeable and responsive. We wanted to create a solar carport that would provide cover and protection for our cars, but would also provide shade over part of our patio. In essence, the big idea was to create an outdoor pavilion, when, if we wanted to entertain we could move the cars out of the way and have a large covered area for an outdoor gathering. We had selected the Lumos brand of solar panels as they have a very clean look and are partially transparent so some light filters through the panels creating a mottled light pattern on the ground, similar to the shading from a tree. In addition, the system is set up to hide the majority of the connecting wires in the support beams so when you look up at the underside of the PV roof you see a very clean look. Bob recognized our goal and worked with us to ensure the project’s success. Bob identified a structural engineer to design an elegant support structure and found a fabricator to build it affordably. Finally he connected us with a contracting team to clear the space, provide the footings, retaining walls, and pad, who were every bit as careful with everything as you would hope. They were amazingly accommodating to every request and understood that there were a lot of competing challenges that needed to be resolved so we could fit this all in to a very tight location and make it look like it belongs.


The bottom line is that it all turned out better than we could have hoped and while it did cost more than the low ball bids received from some of the low budget operators, it was less than the commercially focused suppliers, and more importantly we got the design we wanted and a well-constructed PV carport that will give us great delight for years to come. The best part is of course the savings on our electric bill, which thus far has been averaging around $200/month. So not only do we have a new carport and entertainment patio that our neighbors have been stopping by and admiring (which given that we live in the older Brookside neighborhood and our PV carport is quite modern, we were much relieved) but, our electric bills have been in the under $10/month range.


We owe a great debt of gratitude to Bob and his knowledge and team for helping to create an amazing PV carport for us. I’m sure you would be delighted with whatever you engage him to help you with.

Dev & Sue Malik

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