Homeowners interested in adding solar power to their homes can find the buying process daunting. There are thousands of products on the market that can be combined in a dizzying number of ways. Each product has its own benefits and features, production capacity, and access to incentives.
Rob and Heather came to us knowing what they wanted for their Seattle home. They wanted efficiency, reliability, performance, longevity, and aesthetics from their solar array. They did not want to trade off any one benefit for another. The homeowners had recently redone their roof. It was important to them to make sure that whatever they chose would be up there for the long-term.
We explored several design strategies with them. After looking at the options, all signs pointed to SunPower modules. We designed the system to offset 96% of the home’s usage. We also added batteries to provide backup in the case of a utility outage. The batteries provide roughly 1.3 days of backup without the grid or the sun to provide extra power.
We ran 23 SunPower modules to 2 SMA inverters. We used SunPower’s 335W X-series. The X-series modules offer the highest power-density for Rob and Heather’s roof. Some of the modules face south and others to the west. Each inverter manages its own roof face to maximize production.
A SMA Sunny Island provides the battery backup capability. We used an AC-coupling scheme the grid-tied inverters to have everything work in harmony. A prewired Midnite Solar E-Panel saved us labor. An added bonus was that the E-panel looked great. We used Eight DEKA batteries to provide 396 amp-hours of backup capacity. We constructed a custom box to house the batteries.
We also had Roy Dyngen, a senior sales manager from SMA, tour the site on commissioning day. He was overheard mentioning how nice and clean our installation looked. It helps that there were spotlights already in place to highlight our equipment.
On the last day we turned the system on. To test the backup capability, we turned off the main breaker to the house to simulate a power outage. Nothing happened. Everything was double checked. The system was on and running as it should. Even on that February day there was enough sun to power all the loads without having to use the batteries at all.
That Saturday Heather was showing off her new system to a friend. She also turned off the main breaker like we had before. Sunday night she called Evan, our project manager, to find out why the hot tub was not running. Evan schedule a time to come out the next morning to troubleshoot. When he arrived he saw that the main breaker had never been turned back on after Saturday’s showcase. Heather had been living off-grid for the weekend without noticing. In the end, Rob and Heather were able to achieve peace of mind. They have the most reliable and efficient equipment that provides renewable energy to power their lives.
A&R Solar is a team of specialists dedicated to creating a sustainable future by caring about the people, products, and processes we use when designing and installing solar energy for homes and businesses.