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Google has invested $280 million to help private homeowners put solar panels on their rooftops. The money will be used to help installer SolarCity offer solar systems to homeowners for no money up front. In exchange, the customer agrees to pay a set price for the power produced by the solar system. Google makes a profit by charging interest for SolarCity to use it’s money and by reaping the benefits of the federal and local renewable energy tax credits. Click here for the full story by Jonathon Fahey at the Huffington Post.
The Early Adopters are a young family with kids both parents are interested in science, technology and conservation. From the beginning they wanted to start off small and expand the system over time. After visiting the site, surveying the house, meeting the Early Adopters and discussing their goals. We proposed a system with Trina Panels and Enphase micro-inverters. Using the Enphase micro-inverters would allow the customer to expand the system overtime in an affordable way. After pricing the system the Early Adopters decided to start with 6 panels and 6 inverters. We then completed the design of the whole system and prepared the permit drawings. In this project it was important to account for system expansion this is why we made sure the appropriate electrical infrastructure was planned and specified in the drawings. After the system design and planning was complete we submitted the specs to Com Ed and the permit drawings to the local village.
The permit was approved a week later and the ComEd approval took 10 days. For this project the customer hired a local electrician ( Paxson Electric ) for all of the electrical work. I coordinated my installation crew with Paxson and the system was installed in 1 day. Since we used the Enphase Inverters the next day the Early Adopters and I were able to monitor the system performance from the internet. So far everything is working great.
Below is a series of installation pics and a pic of the enphase monitoring web page.
CSU Project featured on Engineering TV – click on the video below to watch the segment.
In addition to The Chevy Volt being charged with Solar Power at the factory before being shipped out to the dealership many Chevy Volt owners are now charging the Volt with residential Solar Arrays. Check out the full article at Chevy.com.
The Electric Car – Are We There Yet?
The Electric Car has been around just as long as the Internal Combustion Engine Car. So how close are we to making the Electric Car mainstream ? Check out this great article and radio segment on NPR.com
In an effort to curb Energy Consumption during the hot summer months. Tokyo is starting an Energy Conservation Campaign focusing on simple lifestyle adjustments like adjusting work hours, altering the dress codes and encouraging people to use fans instead of air conditioners. Hopefully we can learn something from this. Changing the way we use energy is just as important as developing new technologies to produce energy. Check out the full article at the Huffington Post.
In Europe, An array of 16,000 solar panels over a 2 mile train tunnel are producing enough energy to power all the trains in Belgium for one day per year, in addition to powering up the Antwerp station. The project will produce approximately 3.5Mw/hours of energy each year. The cost of the project is estimated at $20.1 million. Click Here to See the Full Article in PV Magazine.
At the end of 2010 we completed our largest installation to date in Fort Collins, CO on the campus of Colorado State University. We were brought on to the project to coordinate and manage the installation of the racking system. We worked on Phase II of Solar Farm for CSU at the foothills campus. Phase I was completed last year and is a single axis tracking array, Phase II is a fixed tilt array as you can see below.
As you can see the site is in the foothills of the Rockie Mountains near the Horsetooth Reservoir. The Horsetooth Reservoir was created in 1949 by constructing large damns. Previous to 1949 the site was a lake bed underwater. You may be thinking this is boring useless information but the project’s biggest challenges were due to the location of this site and the construction of the reservoir. When the reservoir was built much of the construction waste – large boulders of sand stone, granite, shale and micah were dumped on the site.
To add to the difficulty the foundation elements specified for the racking system were to be helical screw piles which are basically large earth screws.
Below is a picture of some of the machinery we used on site to install the foundation elements.
Below we begin to layout the location of each foundation element.
Below we begin to introduce the first foundation elements.
Here we are load testing the piles. The results were very impressive the piles tested at loads many times greater than the design loads.
The material is on site and now we can begin assembling the racking system from the foundations on up.
Below we begin attaching the sloped beams.
Below the next structural element the purlins are attached to the beams.
The Panels Arrive !
The panel mounting process begins only 14,000 something more to go.
Client : Colorado State University
Developer : Fotowatio Renewable Ventures
General Contractor : Global Energy Services
Racking Provider : Mecapisa
PV Panel Provider : Trina
Electrical Contractor : Sturgeon Electric
In June we attended the MREA Energy Fair (Midwest Renewable Energy Association .) The Energy Fair is a great opportunity to learn about many different approaches to sustainability. The MREA and Focus on Energy have put Wisconsin on the forefront of sustainable building in cold climates . At the Energy Fair we enjoyed the solar tours, building workshops, meeting new people and making connections. Please check out the pictures below.
We participated in the Oak Park Earth Fest in celebration of Earth Day. It was exciting to see and meet so many people passionate about sustainability. A great time was had by all we are looking forward to the next Earth Fest. And yes we will bring more cookies !