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Florida just got its largest rooftop solar system ever

Solar contractor SALT Energy has installed a rooftop solar system in Florida that’s now the state’s largest rooftop solar system, as well as its largest privately owned solar project.

The 3.24 megawatt (MW) solar project is installed on the roof of Badia Spices’ 300,000-square-foot factory in Sweetwater, Florida, which is in Miami-Dade County. The project is currently the largest privately owned solar project in Florida. It’s comprised of 40 inverters, 7,200 solar panels, and is capable of producing more than 3.24 million watts DC of power output.

Marathon, Florida-based SALT Energy specializes in installing hurricane-proven solar arrays “in corrosive and high-wind conditions” in Florida and the Caribbean. The Miami-based company used flat roof racks made by PanelClaw and solar panels provided by San Jose, California-based SunPower on this project.

David Kaul, vice president of engineering and operations for SALT Energy, said:

The requirement by our customer to avoid roof membrane penetrations for anchoring the array to preserve the warranty, coupled with the hurricane wind load design requirements in Miami-Dade County, posed the two greatest technical challenges for our Badia Spices project.

SALT Energy used roof anchors made by Anchor Products in Haltom City, Texas, that attach directly to a fully adhered roofing system by hot air welding instead of penetrating roofing screws.

Badia Spices is a family-owned Hispanic food company that was founded in 1967. The company’s new rooftop solar installation – its second – will offset around 80% of the factory’s electricity usage. In 2019, SALT Energy installed a 529-kW rooftop solar array on Badia Spices’ 100,000-square-foot facility in Doral, Florida. 

Electrek’s Take

All together now: Rooftop solar on big box buildings is an absolute no-brainer. Nice going, Badia family. This is awesome.

The technical challenges Kaul refers to on this project are Floridian in nature. Miami-Dade is a high-velocity hurricane zone, so it rightly has some of the world’s toughest building regulations. Florida insurance requirements are getting tougher, and the factory will want to keep its solar panels secured in high winds.

Read more: Florida’s EV chargers are about to double in number, with 6,000+ on the way

Photo: Badia Spices

Correction: We previously said that SALT Energy is based in Miami, and is a subsidiary of Washington, DC-based Salt Service. That was incorrect. It’s based in Marathon.

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Avatar for Michelle Lewis Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in White River Junction, Vermont. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at Check out her personal blog.