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Unirac acquires Ohio competitor

ROOFMOUNT installed by Affordable Solar at Road Runner Food Bank. (Courtesy of Unirac)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Albuquerque-based Unirac Inc. has acquired Ohio-based Ecolibrium Solar Inc. for an undisclosed price.

The acquisition by Unirac, a major manufacturer of mounting platforms for solar systems, will expand its line of products for attaching and installing solar arrays on commercial and residential rooftops, said Unirac CEO Peter Lorenz.

“It’s a good, complementary acquisition that will give us more capability, especially on the commercial side, to scale up our ability to provide products and services across the board,” he said.

Ecolibrium, which employs 23 people in Ohio and at an engineering and technology development office in Colorado, has developed a plastic-based flat-roof racking system for commercial buildings. That’s something Unirac has struggled to create, relying instead on aluminum and steel structures for its mounting platforms.

“Ecolibrium is known for its plastic parts,” Lorenz said. “But plastic systems are difficult to build without specialized expertise. We couldn’t do it internally, so that capability makes the acquisition very complimentary.”

Polymer-based manufacturing makes it easier to mold features into components compared with metal, and its light weight makes products and installation more cost efficient, said Sam Veague, Ecolibrium’s former CEO who will lead his team’s integration into Unirac.

“Plastic components allow for faster installation,” Veague said. “The components also stack together for shipping, and for putting them up on a roof.”

Ecolibrium also developed a rail-less racking system for residential rooftops that eliminates the need for installing long aluminum rails around solar panels. That makes installation simpler while improving the aesthetics for rooftop arrays, Veague said.

Unirac already has its own rail-less system, but by expanding its product line through Ecolibrium, the company can offer more diverse designs that best fit customer needs.

“We both bring different products to the table that can benefit different customers with a broader set of components to choose from,” Veague said.

Unirac, a homegrown company that launched in Albuquerque in 1998, was acquired in 2010 by the Hilti Group, a global tool supplier. Then, in 2016, New York-based private equity firm Tenex Capital Management bought Unirac from Hilti, providing the company with significant growth capital.

“Executing this strategic acquisition during the peak of the current pandemic speaks to our confidence in Unirac’s leadership and strong financial position,” said Tenex Capital Managing Director J.P. Bretl in a prepared statement.

The company employs nearly 110 people at the Springer Industrial Park north of Downtown, where it occupies about 120,000 square feet in two facilities. It employs another 30 people in research and design at an office in India, and a sales team at an office in Mexico.

 

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