Play Mart to Establish Kentucky’s First Fully Solar-Powered Manufacturing Facility

In March, Play Mart broke ground on a new $1.7 million, 43,000+ square-foot facility expansion at the company’s headquarters in Somerset, Kentucky. Now, we’re thrilled to announce another exciting, innovative project that aligns with our green initiative and core value of sustainability as we plan to establish Play Mart as the very first fully solar-powered manufacturing facility in Kentucky.

Play Mart, working with Stracker Solar, will be strategically placing 20 tracking solar panels at our expanding Somerset operation. These multi-functional solar panels will provide clean energy for the facility, shade in the parking lot, and charging stations for electric vehicles. 

“As owners we have made it a priority to invest in alternative energy. We did our homework and believe the Stracker System is the way of the future, even more so that of flat, static roof panels,” says Rebecca Beach, founder and CEO of Play Mart. “We know our investment will give us ‘energy security’ for the future. Why wouldn’t every manufacturing plant in Kentucky want to have the freedom to produce their own energy from the sun?”

The Stracker System

Stracker Solar, an Oregon-based company, will be manufacturing and providing the solar tracking systems – called ‘Strackers.’ 

The Strackers are efficient, reliable solar power systems that track the sun daily, producing 50-70% more electricity than traditional fixed mount PV setups and enable full use of the ground below as the panels are elevated on 20-foot poles.

Stracker Solar Panel. 20 of these panels will be strategically placed at Play Mart's Somerset facility, making the location the first fully solar-powered manufacturing facility in Kentucky.

Stracker System Advantages:

  • manufactured in the United States
  • consist of an all-steel structure
  • low maintenance
  • have a 120-mph wind rating
  • can be remotely monitored and controlled
  • equipped with enterprise control and cloud monitoring systems, which enable easy diagnostics and provide visibility into its operation.
  • high-elevation pole design keeps the PV arrays above the surrounding trees and typical dust trails
  • each system equipped with sensors to detect and prepare for harsh weather and strong winds, decreasing chances of damage and the need for constant maintenance and increasing overall efficiency.

This project, which will establish the first fully solar-powered manufacturing facility in the commonwealth, further demonstrates our company’s commitment to curb environmental impact and will position Play Mart as an industry-leader in renewable energy and sustainable best-practices within the manufacturing sector. 

“We are thrilled to partner with Play Mart as pioneers in renewable energy-based manufacturing operations in Kentucky,” says Hadi Hajimiri, CEO of Stracker Solar. “Our goal is to expand solar energy with elevated sun tracking systems, which we believe are the future of distributed energy generation. Strackers are addressing the primary bottleneck in solar energy adoption: the availability of space.”

More information will be available in the near future regarding the installation timeline and grand opening event when the Stracker systems become operational and the facility officially makes the switch to solar-power.

Built on Innovation

This project will be the next step in our company’s long history of innovation and creativity.

Play Mart has been at the forefront of innovation and sustainability since we were founded in 1981. After federal regulations radically changed the safety and design standards of playgrounds, Play Mart’s founders, Dennis and Rebecca Beach, were among the first to introduce new, updated designs that were in compliance with the new guidelines. In 1993, the Beaches added a partner and transitioned from a sole proprietorship to the Play Mart corporation of today.

There are many risks and long-term upkeep challenges associated with materials such as wood and powder-coated metal. To avoid these, Play Mart eventually settled on recycled plastic lumber. In 2006, Play Mart purchased its own extruder and grinding equipment and later introduced Recycled Structural Plastic (RSP). This innovative material is composed of 100% recycled high-density polyethylene and stands up to rigorous testing with lower costs.

Play Mart’s Green Initiative

At Play Mart, we are continually implementing sustainable practices in our product and work environment. We build our playground equipment with Recycled Structural Plastic™ lumber, made in-house from recycled plastic. Our products are 100% made in the USA, and manufactured primarily from recycled materials, averaging 75% recycled content per structure, by weight.

Our additional commitment to internally recycling has cut our use of plastic in half and saved millions of pounds of plastic from going into the landfill. The end result is that roughly 50% of our RSP is from internally recycled material. We source recycled office supplies and environmentally-friendly cleaning products. We love educating youngsters about responsible living and recycling through school tours of our manufacturing plant in Kentucky. Our sustainable practices are tangible reflections of our mission.

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Recent Articles


"Play Mart Inc. is truly the company you want to do business with when looking for commercial grade playground equipment.

Lesson learned: not all playground equipment is compatible with other equipment. Our HOA had a Play Mart set that was purchased in 2005 it was needing to be refurbished. Ryan Williams contacted me right away asking what he could do to help. Records hadn’t been kept so I was having difficulty finding what we had and what we could do. After sending pictures from my phone, Ryan took over giving us the original design blueprint! A detailed report on what we had and what needed to be replaced was soon in my hands.

We were elated to learn that some of our stuff was still under warranty! Options of what could be done and what must be done to ensure the safety of our children were outstanding! We were so pleased that the nightmare of searching for playground equipment was now over! The equipment is made in the USA too.

While we wait for delivery we can’t thank Ryan Williams enough for the care he took in making sure that our playground is safe! They also offer installation if you need that! Everything ships with detailed installation instructions like a picture book! Thank You Play Mart and Ryan for all of your professional help!"

Jeanette Bowen

"I'm not sure whether the kids would have caused damage to the playset at some point, but the playground survived the hurricane. Your RSP™ is amazing."

Tim H. Gateway Services Community Development District

Ft Myers, FL

“I would just like to let you know Play Mart did a wonderful job on the packing/shipping and installation instructions. We have installed almost every manufacturer in the market and your company is the most installation friendly we have done in years.”

Playground Installation Crew


“The contractor who assembled the set told me it was his first experience with recycled material in play sets and he was very impressed. He also told me it was very well packaged and user friendly for assembly.

It looks first class and blends in well with the wooded area surrounding our church. We like the fact we can accommodate so many kids with a set this size.”

Bruce P.

Topeka, KS

“This is cooler than big kids stuff!”

5 Year Old Child

Topeka, KS

“Congratulations on your extensive and impressive exhibit of your playground products. I was most impressed. If I were a child, I would spend a lot of time in the music section of your marvelous array of enticing things to do. But on the other hand, I could easily be enticed to the many other play opportunities for play and learning.

It is blatantly obvious that you have put a lot of careful thought into developing your engaging products for children. Congratulations and thank you for the tour of your exhibit at the trade show.”

Matthew Evans, FASLA Senior Landscape Architect & Horticulturist

US Capitol, Washington, DC

“It gives me great pleasure to be able to write a letter on behalf of Play Mart, Inc. On two different occasions in recent years, Play Mart constructed playground equipment on our school property. Play Mart representatives went out of their way to meet with the school playground committee so that we fully understand our options and the cost. We have been delighted with the equipment that Play Mart representatives recommended for our students. It is age appropriate and safe. We have had to make two minor repairs, which were quickly taken care of by the company.
In the process building the playground, we were very interested in using recycled materials. Availability of this via Play Mart was a big reason why we choose this company. Play Mart worked with us in obtaining exactly what we wanted. We were very pleased with the construction timeline and the value for the price. When we wanted to add more equipment, Play Mart was most helpful and made the changes cost effective for us. Our students spend many happy hours enjoying the playground.

We have been very happy with the entire project. It is with great satisfaction I write this letter on behalf of the company and their employees.”

Sister Laverne K., School Principal

Newark, DE

“We continue to be so pleased with our playscape! As soon as we open the door in preparation for outside play, the children head straight for the playscape. The teachers so enjoy watching the students play some of their favorite games which include: Pirate Ship (they all crowd on top of the playscape sailing off for adventure of the high seas), Shark! (similar to pirate ship but they all stand on top screaming “shark”), and Ice cream shop (sellers stand under the playscape and deliver ice cream cones to customers on the other side of the ‘counter’).
We thank you again for working so closely with us as we designed this safe and sturdy play area to fit the needs of our Nursery School. It has been one year and it still looks great, blending beautifully into our historic town green. Both our school and our community look forward to many, many more years of fun!”

Laurie H., Daycare Director

Washington, CT

“Our entire church is excited with the equipment and especially glad we saved 32,226 milk jugs from a landfill. We love the look of wood without the problems of termites and splintering.”

Joyce W.

Jacksonville, AR

“I wanted to drop you a quick note to commend you on your subcontractor’s performance…The combination of your quality equipment and the installation by Hammer Down has provided the staff, children and Marine Corp with an excellent play facility. The installation and application of the equipment has turned out superbly.  Hammer Down, Paul and his entire crew were pleasant to work with, knowledgeable of the equipment and codes and had an uncommon willingness to work well with us and other contractors. I commend them for an excellent install and terrific attitude.

As for the poured in place rubber; again a superb product paired with a great subcontractor. Clean Play, Allen and his crew provided a level of work that would be hard to surpass. The installation went smoothly and quickly. I appreciate their attention to detail and cleanliness. Though we may have stayed late, I never have an issue doing that for a contractor that works as hard and diligently as they did each and every day. There performance was outstanding and one I would look forward to seeing again.

I appreciate all of your help and you providing us with such high quality subcontractors. Thank you.”

Mike R., Superintendent

Sauer, Inc.