Posted by: Li Ling Young | January 11, 2015

Solar Specs

Our solar system is the only thing that sets our house apart in this neighborhood of one-story, post-war homes.  Inside we have a bunch of groovy high-performance devices, but on the outside, the solar is our freak flag.

I wanted as much solar as we could fit on the roof, and luckily Nik was willing to indulge me.  After we installed our system the town started enforcing a national fire code that would have limited how much of the roof could  be covered.  There’s a chimney on the south roof, and you can definitely see the effect of the chimney shade in the electricity output of the array.

The darker panels to the east of the gap show that the chimney shading on those panels is hurting their electricity generation.  The chimney is not centered in the gap, leaving enough space to the west that only minor chimney shading affects output on that side.

The darker panels to the east of the gap show that the chimney shading on those panels is hurting their electricity generation. The chimney is not centered in the gap, leaving enough space to the west that only minor chimney shading affects output on that side.

Solar System Specifications

  • 38 SolarWorld panels, totaling 9390 watts
  • 2 SolarEdge inverters on strings of 14 and 24 panels, with DC optimizers on each panel
  • 5/12 roof pitch
  • Black frames, because they look nice

The annual production estimate was 9000 kWh/year.  Since then such estimates have gone up because inverter technology has gotten better, and indeed our system has outpaced the production estimate two years running.  The DC optimizers on the panels allow them to each work at their maximum without having the inverters out in the weather (they’re in the garage, where we can show them off when curious neighbors wander by).

In 2014 we generated about 10.5 MWh of electricity.  That's quite a bit higher than what we were expecting out of the array, given the shading from the chimeny, and it's very close to balancing all our electricity use for the year.

In 2014 we generated about 10.5 MWh of electricity. That’s quite a bit higher than what we were expecting out of the array, given the shading from the chimeny, and it’s very close to balancing all our electricity use for the year.


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