Project Summary

Installing a photovoltaic (PV) system on our home. Our house is 2360 square feet, built in 1999 and has both electric and natural gas utilities. Current electricity use ranges from 900 kWh to 1500 kWh per month, peaking in December… Must be the Christmas lights! The house is situated almost perfectly for solar. Our panels will be on a 33 degree roof that faces almost directly south and with no possible obstructions.

I have been researching Solar PV for our home for number of years and weighing the system costs, available incentives and taxes breaks to what I thought we could afford. With costs at $6.00 to $8.00/watt, I was struggling with REALLY wanting to do this and the practical side of family finances. This last spring I became aware, though my brother, of a Solarize Community project being sponsored by Nike Beaverton, Oregon for employees, friends and family. They had selected a contractor, set a system price of $5/watt and my brother works at Nike… so I couldn’t resist!

System Stats:

Solar System Size: 3.76 kW

2 x Strings of eight SolarWorld 235W panels

1 x 3000KW PV Powered inverter

Portland General Electric (PGE) Net Metering program

Online monitoring module to evaluate solar system output, usage, feed to the grid, etc

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Getting Started

In early April my brother linked me up to the sign-up page for the Nike sponsored Solarize Communities project.  I signed up and within a week I was contacted by Larry from Northwest Solar Solutions to come take a look at our house.

The First Visit:
Larry visited few days later and explained the program to me and asked me what I was looking for in PV system?  Answer: As big a Photo Voltaic (PV) system that could fit!  He also brought his electrician with him and we looked over the house. 

The Subs:
As I think is common with most solar contractors, they sub out work to roofing companies and electricians to do the work related to their trades.  The roofers set the mounting stanchions and rails that support the PV panels and the eletricians install the panels and complete all the wiring.  The solar contractor coordinates ALL the paper work, applications and various sub-contractors.

The electrician verified our house electrical could support the installation and Larry looked at our roof to be sure that it would be a good candidate.  Based on house position, roof slope, obstructions and other details, he would calculate our home’s “Solar Resource Fraction” to verify that we qualified for the incentives and credits.  It turned out our Solar Resource Fraction was 90% and we needed to meet at least 75% to qualify for the Energy Trust of Oregon (ETO) Solar Incentive.
What do you think???

So we waited for our proposals……