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

Thursday, August 25, 2011


The financing, applications and approvals did take some time, but we finally started the installation in the first week of August.  It started with our roof then progressed to rails, panels and final electrical connections.  Pictures are much better than my words, so follow along below.

The components:

SolarWorld 235 PV Panels (16 total!!!)

Advanced Energy PVP3000 Inverter

Solar System Output Production Meter

Roof before Installation:

Old roof removal and stanchion installation:

New roof.....

...and rails to support panels:

Panel Installation:

Inverter and meter installs:

Interesting informational and warning labels everywhere:

And now... we're producing power!!!
Ok, 137 watts, but this was toward the end of the day when the sun was going down.  We have seen it, in the first few days, as high as 3040 watts

A thing of beauty!

Next, tracking our power production....