Sailboat owners treasure the free, renewable power of wind, especially with rising fuel prices. Now Torresen Marine—which handles new and brokered sailboat sales, rigging and service, and manages 150 slips and storage for 600 sailboats, in Muskegon, Mich.—is getting into the renewable-energy business by installing the state’s largest solar-power project to date, a 150-kilowatt (kW) system to be mounted on the roof of its 28,000-square-foot sailboat storage facility.

“Our sailboat customers are very environmentally friendly. Our waterfront location was also a perfect fit for the technology,” said Brian Torresen, co-owner.

Torresen Marine partnered with Inovateus Solar, the integrator--installer, and Chart House Energy, the developer, on the $740,000 solar project. It will use 750 Scheuten solar panels, the first application of this German technology in the United States. Scheuten panels, totaling a capacity of more than 1 gigawatt, have been installed in Europe, a large percentage of these projects in Germany, where there is actually less available sunlight than Michigan.

“We chose Scheuten for this installation because their high-quality modules are great for solar power in the harsh environment of snow, ice and high winds near Lake Michigan,” said T.J. Kanczuzewski, executive vice president of Inovateus.

The front-side wind load of the Scheuten panels have the equivalent rating of 110 pounds-per-square-foot and use 4-millimeter glass, thicker than the industry standard of 3.2 millimeters.

“We were approached by Chart House Energy for this project with the concept of what was available between federal stimulus funds, a feed-in tariff program from Consumer’s Energy and the potential to do the right thing for the environment with renewable energy,” Torresen said.

The new system will offset the power of the Torresen Marine facility by 30 percent and produce the equivalent energy it takes to power 20 homes in the Muskegon area.