Thursday, December 15, 2016

Grid-tie Solar Power System with Battery-backup in Beverly, WV

Sixteen SolarWorld PV modules back-feed power to the electric utility during normal operation.  During an outage the battery bank and electronics in the basement supply power to selected critical loads.  The battery bank has eight large Trojan deep-cycle batteries.  The backup system can supply 21 amps (240V) and the stored power is close to 17 kWh.  In a prolonged outage the solar will help charge the battery bank as though the home were off-grid.

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.

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.

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!