Case Study | Submitted by: Kurt Winbigler
Designed by: Kurt Winbigler
Installers: Maurilio Ledesma & Marcelo Ledesma

Southern California Solar Warehouse Storage Battery Fire Sprinkler

National Solar Company | Irvine, CA


Project Overview:

In sunny Irvine, California, where innovation often takes center stage, a story unfolded in 2022 that epitomized the spirit of adaptability and determination. A national solar company decided to set up shop in this tech-savvy hub, bringing with it cutting-edge solar technology and whole home lithium-ion batteries. However, the journey to create a secure and compliant storage space for these assets was no walk in the park. It was a tale of meetings, iterations, and customizations.


A Solar Tech Warehouse with a Twist

Imagine a warehouse custom built to deliver on the promise of renewable energy, humming with the latest in solar technology. The goal was simple yet challenging: the Design and Build of a pallet racking system that maximized space, ensured safety, and passed the strict Fire Code Requirements set forth by the Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA).


Meeting the Challenges Head-On

Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA) sets the bar for regulation when it comes to storing potentially hazardous materials like lithium-ion batteries. The first challenge was navigating these regulations while designing a storage system that made the most of available space as well as other tenant improvement work going on simultaneously.

The racking system needed to be both safe and space-efficient. This meant thinking vertically and creating tailored storage for each specific need. Also, this would require immense detail in making the best use of space in the entire facility.


Design and Customization: A Marriage of Needs

To tackle these challenges head-on, the solar company enlisted the warehouse storage design professionals at C&SS. Here's how they turned obstacles into opportunities:

The C&SS team started with a basic layout for the racking system, focusing on space optimization. They considered everything from the height of pallet racking to its aisle width.

Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA) compliance was a moving target, with regulations changing with the start of 2023. The C&SS team attended numerous meetings with Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA) inspectors to understand the latest requirements, making sure their design was up to fire code.

Batteries got their own, isolated designated storage complete with their own sprinkler systems. The whole warehouse was fitted with mechanical means to ensure flue space was not obstructed.


C&SS Supplied a Custom Designed Solution

C&SS delivered a custom designed solution for the client, exceeding their goals with the following:

• Integrating fire suppression systems into the racking system wasn't straightforward.

• It required collaboration with fire safety experts to ensure the highest safety standards.

• OCFA inspections left no stone unturned.

• It was a rigorous process, and the solar company and C&SS team had to be prepared for multiple inspections and adjustments.


Triumph and Benefits

Throughout the initial research on through to the conclusion, C&SS contributed to efficiency options with:

• The solar company along with C&SS successfully built a racking system that was both safe and efficient

• The racking system passed every OCFA inspection with flying colors, proving its mettle in meeting safety and compliance standards.

• Thanks to the custom design, the solar company could now make the most of its warehouse space, making inventory management a breeze.

• With fire suppression systems and specialized storage areas, the warehouse became a model of safety, safeguarding both the precious materials and its employees working alongside it.

• The design and construction of the racking system in Irvine, CA, for a national solar company is a testament to innovation, adaptability, and teamwork.

• It shows that with meticulous planning, collaboration with regulatory authorities, and a willingness to customize solutions, even the most challenging warehouse design projects can be turned into success stories.

• The solar company's journey reminds us that when it comes to innovation, the sky's the limit, even in the heart of Orange County.


Pallet Racking System with Integrated Fire Suppression Pictures