At the beginning of July we finished the installation of our 33.8 kW solar electric array that will, we hope, provide all the electricity for our zero-net community throughout the year. Since it went in, it's been making more electricity than our community consumes! (But, it's still summer...). Most of the work for this project was done by interns and volunteers, with the company Power Trip supplying the equipment and expertise. Thanks to the Washington State Solar Production incentive we earn $0.15 for every kWh we generate, which is helping to pay back the system cost, and thanks to Opalco (our utility company) and to an anonymous donor for helping make the systems financially possible. Eric Youngren set up the solar powered time-lapse video equipment and posted the video.
11 separate arrays, each 3 kW array comprises 15 Evergreen 205 Watt Modules (ES-A-210), making 165 solar panels in total. Panels are installed on ground-mount unirack racking. Each system uses a SMA Sunny Boy 3000US grid-intertie inverter mounted on the solar panel rack next to each array converts the direct current (DC) electricity from that array’s solar panels to 240 volt alternating current (AC) electricity. The AC electricity from each inverter is passes through a production(kWh) meter, and then connects into each home’s electrical mains panel.
A conservative production estimate for each 3 kW system is 3075 kWh/yr per 3 KW system, or a total of 33,825 kWh/yr for the entire project – and is enough to provide each household’s annual electricity needs if the household is conscientious about electricity use. So far on sunny days each 3 kW system is making about 20 kWh per day.
Equipment supplied by Power Trip. Power Trip pulled the permits on two systems. Residents pulled permits on the other 9, with residents and volunteers doing the work on these 9 systems.