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The following are some samples of projects that we have done over the years to give you the client an idea of what we are capable of. Please remember that each system is designed to meet the clients needs. We do not sell a "one system fits all".
The photos below are of the NYSERDA "School Power Naturally"
program that provided 50 systems to 50 schools through out New York State. Not
to worry, your tax dollars were not used for these systems. However, wouldn't
that have been a great use of our tax dollars for a change. The systems were
paid for by the "service benefits charge" (SBC) found on your utility bill.
Today it is also known as Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). As a
business man, family man and a father, what a great opportunity to educate our
children about not only solar electricity but also renewable energy. To date we
have installed systems at the following area schools to include Armstrong Middle
School (Ontario Center), Canandaigua High
School, Newark High School, Pavilion High School, Wayland-Cohocton High School and Wayne Technical & Career Center.
The system above is what we in the industry call a ballast pan mount. It consists of aluminum pans that are than weighted down with cement blocks. The advantage to this is no penetrations are required to secure the PV array to the roof. Below you will see an awning mount system. Although the weight of 17 lbs/sqft was required for the ballast pan system, not all roofs are capable of holding the extra weight. Below you can also see a pole mounted design. This is the most common PV for our residential clients. Since this picture was taken a beautiful landscape has been added and it looks as if the PV array has always been there.
Because of the roof heights and for safety an all-terrain lift was the best way to get the components to the roof. Would you want to climb up and down a ladder 170 times to move the cement blocks?
This home was build in the early 90's and the family's electrical usage is about 5,000Kwhrs annually, which is below the average American home. This home incorporates solar hot water, thick window treatments on the southern side and radiant floor heating. The home owners' intent is to eventually go Off-Grid once the contract of three years is fulfilled with NYSERDA. This client has a Net Metering (explained in the RE Getting Started page) agreement with the utility to sell back any access electric back to the utility (grid) company. As you can see in the picture below the PV system is roof mounted and for those of you whom have read the "RE Getting Started" page you know the many reasons why we try NOT to do roof mounted PV projects. For this client there was no other alternative but to locate the array in this fashion. The size of the PV array is 4.5 Kw. They have battery backup for the periods when the Grid/Utility is down. The system is configured for 48Vdc.
As we have stated
elsewhere in this web site, we do not offer "one size fits all" systems. Instead
we prefer to do projects that others generally won't touch. The system below is
located in Sodus New York and what makes this different is it is a Dual Axis
(DA) Tracker and instead of the normal string inverter this system uses a
separate inverter for each PV panel. More on this later.
As promised let's
discuss the string inverter vs. the micro inverter selected for this project.
The inverter manufacturer used here is Enphase which is a very new idea to enter
the Renewable Energy industry (2008). Normally with a string inverter we would
have wired this project in two series strings. One string for each tracker would
consist of 12 panels with a nominal voltage of the string being approximately
350 Vmp DC. Now understand that if any shading or soiling occurs the output of
the single string will react in the same way that the flow of water through a
garden hose would when being stepped on. Additionally it can be very difficult
to detect if you have a single PV panel that is not performing to manufacturers'
specification. Now with the Enphase micro inverter when the above issues happen
as with the string inverter only one PV panel would be effected, thus having a
minimal effect on the overall systems output.
Note in the picture to the right the rectangular boxes with the small red circle. These are the inverters. They can be placed flat but the client and I decided to mount them this way because it allows the viewing of a "Status" LED from the ground. Now there is more labor required to install and I can tell you personally routing the cables to make them look nice took a great deal of planning and time. The client and I were both pleased with the looks and the output has thus far been better then expected.
The below project was part of a NYSERDA training course and the installation was for "The Farm" at Alfred State. What was unique about this project is that instead of using a crane for the installation, a temporary electric winch was strapped to the bottom of the tower base to lift each 20 foot section one at a time. The tower is what we call a 120 foot guyed wire tower. Because of the time of the year there was now way we could have gotten a crane to the location. The wind generator itself is a Bergey Excel S 10 kw unit. In the center picture we are lifting the main part of the unit into place. The owner of Solar & Wind FX is the one on the left perched a top the tower.
Below is an example of a guyed wire, tilt-up tower. In this type of tower application you would either use a vehicle or ground mounted winch. We used a 4 wheel drive truck. Not normally recommended. A tractor or tracked piece of equipment like a dozer would have been better. Best would be to use a winch mounted to a concrete slab. I'm unsure of the tower height. Either 85 or 106 foot tall. It should be noted that tilt-up towers are not designed to be climbed. The wind generator itself is an A.R.E. AWP 3.6. Approximate output is about 1 kw.
Below you will find Log Cabin retreat located up in the Adirondack's where they receive a large annual snowfall. The cabin is well over a mile from the grid and in the winter time is only accessible by snow machine. Which helps explain the elevated generator stand. You can see it between the first picture below, between the PV arrays. The cabin has radiant floor heating and a pored wall basement. This a a 3.6 Kw PV system and has two 3,600 watt inverters with 12 four volt batteries configured for 48Vdc. The PV arrays are pole mounted to allow for seasonal tilt angle adjustments. Three poles with ten panels on each.
Yep, that's the same generator. But where did the elevated stand go? They sure do get a lot of snow. We plan to install a roof over the top of the generator soon.
This system was installed during the construction of this home through out the winter months. The size of this system illustrates the equipment required for a John Q public household of four to six people. This is a pole mount system that allows the PV array to be adjusted for seasonal tilt angle Three poles with eight panels on each. The system is configured for 48Vdc.
The two black boxes in the center of the picture on the right are inverters. The inverter converts the DC voltage of the PV/Batteries to AC household power. Each inverter supplies 120Vac to the circuit breaker panel just like the one you have in your own home. Together the inverters are able to provide 240Vac. Note the two Kwhrs meters. One measures the clients household usage while the other is used to keep track of what the 8 Kw backup propane fired generator provides. Can you find the batteries? This is a beautiful home filled with wood floors, stairs and trim. Where did the batteries go? We took special effort to build an oak battery box that is placed under the stairs landing to resemble a piece of furniture. In the back corner you can see the white battery box vent to the outside of the home.
Below you will find three examples of our Off-Grid Homes/Cabin packages. Normally we would put this equipment inside the home, usually in the basement. However, sometimes there is no basement or the cabin has limited space as it is. By providing a Power Shed, all we do is run conduits to the home/cabins main service entrance just like the utility (Yuk) would.
Example One: In the example below the home is about to 200 feet from the power shed. All wire and conduits are under ground for protection and a clean, clear view. As with all of our Off-Grid projects, the cream colored box on the side of the Power Shed is a back-up powered propane fired generator.
The controls below provide the client with 240Vac to a circuit breaker panel located in the home. The systems primary voltage is 48Vdc inside of the Power Shed only. The below right hand picture is where the batteries are stored.
Example Two: In the project below the Renewable energy equipment is mounted to the side of the cabin. The site is in a very tight wooded area and the client did not want to remove anymore trees than necessary. The batteries are located in the short, long structure, with the inverter system just to the right. In this case we had the builder erect the enclosures so as to match the cabin itself.
Example Three: In the project below the Renewable energy equipment is also located in a separate power shed well over 300 feet from the home. The power shed can be seen behind the white truck in the picture below. Because of budget constraints this system only has four PV panels at this time (installed four more in late 07'). But this system was engineered for future expansion
Note the insulated battery box below. We monitor the temperature of the box. Part of our engineering is to design around the fact that the batteries will not be keep at a desired temperature of 77 degrees F.
This shore well water pumping project provides all the water for our Design and Training Center as well as the owners new Green Home currently being built on site. This system is completely stand alone, thus a good fit for remote camps and farmers. Because water is required 24/7 we chose to add batteries to allow water delivery in the evening hours. The PV array is mounted on a PV single axis tracking system. The weather is extreme at this location and we are currently doing a longevity test on the unit. Good news, after three years of use there are no failures to report. Array Technologies is the company that manufactures this Wattsun tracker. Click on tracker picture to visit their web site.