Micro-Fit Solar Energy Project Update

In April of this year, in a quest to continue to  “go green” as a home and Flyingbow Ministry office we undertook a Micro-Fit Solar Energy project. You can read our process, research and progress postings here:

Going Green … Decreasing our Footprint
Our Solar Energy Project began Yesterday

Solar Panel Install – Day 2

Solar Panel Update – Live and Connected to the Grid!

Many have asked Le-Anne and I how the project has been going. We are so far very happy with our decision. The panels are working well and on track in terms of production forecasts. Here are a few screen shots from this morning of the Enphase Energy Enlighten Computer Monitoring System:

This shot shows each of the 33 panels and their individual production of electrical energy in kWh. Daily, weekly, monthly and lifetime totals are on the right. It is helpful to see the individual power of each panel to make sure none are under-producing for some reason (ie. due to snow or leaf cover).

You can access all kinds of different stats and reports on energy output/production in the system. This is a month-to-date graph showing the daily production of energy. There has been a lot of rain in Guelph over the last week! It is amazing to me that the solar panels continue to produce electricity even on cloudy/rainy days (ie. June 6, 7 and 10, 2013).

This graph shows daily, minute-by-minute production of solar power. The “spikes” of power show when there is direct sun on the panels. The “valley’s” are showing cloud cover. The spaces between each “mountain” are the evenings where there is no energy being produced. Enphase Energy sends a monthly report on your solar system. Here is our report from the month of May. It is great to know that in only one month, we have offset 2020 pounds of carbon – the equivalent carbon offset of 23 trees! David Suzuki has a good article on Carbon Offsets here.

Until next time. T

Solar Project Update – Live and Connected to the Grid!

Yesterday Waterloo Energy successfully connected our home and Flyingbow Ministry office to the grid and got our wireless computer monitoring system booted up and online. Our Solar Panels are now live! It has been quite an involved process: from moving roof vents, re-shingling the house, installing the inverters & panels … to the final electrical hook-up, meter installation and wireless router/software syncing. Here are a few pics of the final steps …

The meter is installed by Guelph Hydro and final electrical work completed before the solar panels go live.

The cables from the solar panels run along the edge of the roof line down to the shut off box and meter.

The wires from each of the 33 panels and micro-converters are routed to this connection box on the top left corner of the roof.

A sophisticated online software system monitors the solar power that is created on each panel. This is a screen shot from earlier today …

The solar panel array is complete and connected to the grid.

A big thank you to Mike Bolger and Paul Boles for their leadership in the solar install – a job well done, guys!

Until next time. T

Our Solar Energy Project began Yesterday …

Our microFIT Solar Energy Project began yesterday when the solar panels, micro inverters and rails were delivered by Waterloo Energy Products.

33 panels, like this, will be installed on the back half of our roof.

Enphase Micro-inverters, one per solar panel, convert direct current (DC) electricity from each solar panel to alternating current (AC). The output from each micro-inverter will be combined and fed to the electrical grid. Micro-inverters contrast with conventional string or central inverter devices, which are connected to multiple solar panels.

Micro-inverters have several advantages over conventional central inverters. The main advantage is that if any one panel is blocked or shaded by trees, snow or debris, only the energy output of that panel will be affected instead of the output of the entire panel array. Each micro-inverter harvests optimum power by performing maximum power point tracking for its connected panel.

Earlier this week, electricians wired up the new electrical box and meter which will monitor and feed into the main electrical grid.

The completed electrical box. Once the panels are installed and connected a second meter will be added to this panel to monitor the solar panel output.

The solar support brackets, tracks, wiring and micro-inverters were fastened to the roof today.

Some close-ups of the micro-inverters and tracks that will support the solar panels.

Stay posted as the project continues over the next couple of days. T