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Charlotte Douglas International Airport officials finish initial review of solar project

Charlotte Douglas International Airport officials — with representatives from Optima Engineering and solar company Narenco — have completed a preliminary inspection of its photovoltaic project.

The review was prompted by concerns after a similar photovoltaic system at a National Gypsum Co. plant caught fire. Charlotte-based Narenco designed and constructed both systems.

After the April 16 fire, Duke Energy suspended its “rooftop solar” distribution energy program. The airport’s solar system and National Gypsum’s are part of the rooftop program.

“The team was primarily looking for anything that may cause an electrical short or ground fault due to system expansion and contraction,” Airport Director Jerry Orr told Charlotte City Council in a memo Friday. “In general, the system was found to be in sound working condition and the inspecting parties found nothing of concern."

However, Orr noted “there were several areas identified by Narenco to be modified — in particular, the locations of wiring within a conduit or junction box in order to prevent any potential issues in the future. In addition, several areas were identified for special monitoring when periodic electrical inspections are conducted throughout the life of the system."

Orr says he expects a final report from his staff within the next two weeks.

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