Monday, June 27, 2016

Sea Container as Off-grid Solar Power Plant - Somewhere in West Virginia


 5.4-kW PV on a 20' can.  Apple juice concentrate was originally imported from overseas in this container.

Outback Power electronics and Trojan batteries are stored inside.  The battery bank can provide 13.3 kWh at 50% DOD.  The inverter produces 120VAC with a max wattage of 3,500W.  There is a Trimetric battery monitor included to aid in the maintenance of the system

The system was built for West Virginia State University as a power supply for an agricultural project near Nowhere, West Virginia (or is that, Somewhere).  Wherever it is, it's out there and it's a long way to a utility pole.



Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Good Energy: Nik Botkin's Apartment Earth Art Studio

 
I had the pleasure of meeting Nik Botkin at his studio in downtown Charleston, WV while I was finishing up a solar project nearby.

I've had his business card on my desk since because it has a photo of a starling cast in a clear resin fish which I think is super clever.  Nik explained that he's made thousands of these resin fish often with bits of selected detritus inside.  His portfolio is online and well worth a look.  Likewise, if you are in Charleston his studio is a treat.

http://www.apartmentearth.net/




Saturday, April 16, 2016

Davis & Elkins College: Spring Green-up on the Harper-McNeeley Auditorium Roof

 
Had a great student project yesterday with members of the Greenworks! Club at Davis & Elkins College.

 

They installed thirty 285-watt SolarWorld modules on the roof of the campus auditorium.  This builds on the twelve modules that were previously installed at the campus' science center last year.

 

The students at this small liberal arts college in Elkins, WV have, for the second year running, installed more solar PV capacity than any other residential college in West Virginia.  The enthusiasm and funding for their projects comes directly from the students.

 

Students initially identified locations on campus where they thought solar might be a good fit.  We met last fall to look at one of the better locations - the Harper-McNeeley Auditorium.  Turns out that the site was sweet!


It is always a pleasure to work with the D&E students.  They are hardworking, smart, and affable.  Our installation of thirty solar panels, thirty Enphase microinverters, and the associated wiring was polished off in record time.  Everyone ended the day sun-kissed and pleased with the result.

















Wednesday, February 24, 2016

30% Federal Tax Credit Extended for Solar Installations



I thought it might not happen.

I could totally imagine 2016 being THE END of the incredibly effective Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC).

I was hesitant to believe that the U.S. Congress could pull it together to extend the legislation that has been largely responsible for driving expansion of solar in the U.S. over the last seven years. 

http://www.seia.org/research-resources/solar-industry-data

I was wrong.

The Congress did something productive (their machinations were lubricated by the potential for oil exports).

They extended the ITC 30% tax credit for five more years.

That's a 30% tax credit on the installed cost of the entire system!  

THE WHOLE ENCHILADA!!

INCREDIBLE!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Pole-barns in Space!


(Click image to enlarge)

This week's installation was at Green Heron Gardens (near Salem, WV).  The pole barn below has housed horses, boats, and VW campers over the years.  It's roof  is now home to a 6.84-kW PV array - twenty-four SolarWorld solar PV panels.

  
Green Heron Gardens offers herbal products for both body and palate.  They've been in business almost 25-years.  I've included a sample from their mail order catalog below.
(Click image to enlarge)


 
Past customers Dan and Autumn helped me attach the racking and get the panels on the roof.. During much of the year they stay busy with their landscaping company Goldenseal Garden Care.  You couldn't ask for better help either on the roof or in the yard.









Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Home Power Magazine Features West Virginia Off-grid Home

"Off-Grid Microhydro and A Little PV 
In the Woods of West Virginia"

http://www.homepower.com/articles/microhydro-power/project-profiles/grid-microhydro-little-pv-woods-west-virginia
Home Power Magazine's July/August 2015 issue features an article about Mickey and Jenny Janowski's off-grid home in Webster County, WV.  The article, written by Mickey and Home Power editor Ian Woofenden, offers a great perspective on an off-grid system that has evolved over several decades to include both solar PV and hydo power.

Author (and PIMBY customer) Mickey Janowski alongside his weir and hydro intake

Mickey has spoken at the West Virginia Small Farms Conference about his microhydro system.  The Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition has published a web article that is also a nice read.

Mickey's "Hydroelectric In WV" is a great blog that is a real help for anyone interested in building a microhydro system.  The blog has photos of the construction process and final system. You can also see a video of the Janowski's hydro system at Mickey's blog.

Mickey and Jenny have had solar for decades at their off-grid home, but the winter months always necessitated some use of a gasoline generator to make up for the shorter daylight hours.  The hydro electric system that went online in Fall of 2012 now provides more power than they  use during these winter months.

http://getpimby.blogspot.com/2012/04/hydroelectric-coming-to-off-grid-home.html
Mickey and Dave on a beautiful February day in 2012 pondering the potential that this little stream might have for producing electric power.  Click on the photo to see some photos from the survey.







Sunday, July 19, 2015

"West Virginia Couple Models Renewable Energy" - Appalachian Chronicle

Michael Barrick of the Appalachian Chronicle covered a wonderful Solar Open House hosted by Autumn Long and Dan Harrington last Sunday.  You can read the Chronicle feature here.

Autumn and Dan own and operate Goldenseal Garden Care which serves the Clarksburg/Fairmont/Morgantown area.  They landscape for a living and have a beautiful garden around their home which is situated outside of Wallace, WV.

Here's a photo from Michael Barrick's article that shows the layout of their garden and potting shed upon which their 2.7-kW PV system is mounted.  The photo was snapped from the house porch. 

Autumn and Dan's home is tucked up against the flank of a hill which necessitated placement of the solar somewhere other than directly on the house - there would have been too much shade.  The solution was to construct a potting shed where they could work and store equipment for their gardens.  The shed became the landing point too for Harrison Rural Electric Association's lines which were extended to serve the home.  Autumn and Dan became the first Net Metering customers in the HREA service area.  Their 2.7-kW power plant not only offsets their homes electricity demands, but excess power is now being credited to another home on the property via a "Virtual Net Metering" arrangement with the utility.


The potting shed that Autumn and Dan constructed is really a great solution to a common problem.  The shed provides unshaded roof space for ten SolarWorld 270W PV modules.  The SMA Sunny Boy inverter is tucked inside and the shed provides great sheltered space for working and storing equipment.

Potting shed interior - how about that garlic!

 SMA Sunny Boy TL killing fascists, one kW at a time