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Solar photovoltaic install, Gorham, Fall 2011

Left side 12 photovoltaic modules on the right side Solar hot water

Electric car charge station

sanford Gorham pv and solar thermal

This client had a Apricus 60 tube solar hot water system installed by another vendor.  The family hoped to add PV one day so they put the solar hot water on the right.  Solar thermal systems can convert up to 80% of the sun's energy where PV is usually < 20%.  As you can see in this photo there is some shading on the right from the trees.  This is seasonal and happens later in the day.  Shading has less of an impact on solar thermal so placing these on the right side was a smart decision  .Since the majority of energy is collected from 9:00-3:00 the slight shading really is not a problem.  

For the PV we decided to use Enphase micro inverters.  With a single traditional string inverter if one module is not producing it will bring down the output of the entire array.   With micro inverters each module has it's own inverter and the DC output is converted to A/C up on the roof so shading impacts only the one module.  The micro inverters also make expansion very easy. 

Generally we like to leave about 3 ft open on the edges to allow room for tech's to work and reduce wind loads.  In this case the family has plans to expand the PV array and needs to take advantage of every sqft. Since it is a cape we can access the left side via a ladder and the top row from the reverse.  

The family was one of the first to purchase a Nissan Leaf electric car when they finally became available in Maine.   The absolutely love their car and say they wont go back to gas.   Electric vehicles can be charged with normal household current but it is slow, taking a day or more.  Most families opt to have a 220 volt charge station installed so they car is fully charged overnight.   The dealers offer these stations but this homeowner was shocked by the cost.  We were able to install a comparable charge station for about half the cost.   Often chargers are in the garage but this client selected to have it installed outside.

On thing to notice in the picture is the footprint of the 2 systems.  This 60 tube system is a good size for a family of 4.  These collectors are over 6 ft tall.  Each of the solar electric modules is about 40" x 60".  The 12 modules, in a good location, is about the right size if your electric bills is about $65 a month.    

The door in the picture is not regularly used.  If the array is expanded snow could slide down in a sheet and be harmful.

This array faces south west so production is a bit lower than true south orientations.  In 2013 it produced 3,087 kWh of electricity, or about $480 of electricity.  





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