Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Solar Power - Installation Day 4

All the panels are on the roof, the trench has been re-filled, the wiring is done, it was tested and span the meter backwards. Next step is inspections that can take a few weeks before we can turn it on for real....

I installed the Solarcity Internet monitoring system base station by plugging it into a spare Ethernet port on my DSL modem. It flashed some lights that told me that it had connected to Solarcity successfully, then started scanning to find the monitored devices. It talks to the inverter to track how much power is being generated, and I will have an optional consumption monitor that tells me how much power the house is using. I have to wait for the install to be complete before I can see any output on the web site.
Also, they were out of stock of the consumption monitor, so it will need to be added on later, but it doesn't affect the operation of the system.

I have also figured out the Ground Source Heat Pump, I'm going for a vertical well based installation, its a 3-ton A/C unit and heater made by Carrier that hooks up to my existing propane furnace ducting, and includes a water heater that replaces my propane hot water tank. It exchanges heat with the ground using three 200ft deep wells, and for every KW of electricity it uses, it pumps around 4KW of heat in or out of the house. This is over twice as efficient as a conventional air based A/C unit. It costs more, but there is a 30% federal tax credit on the full price, just like the solar power installation, thanks to Obama's stimulus package (this credit started in February 2009). I'm hoping to have enough solar power to zero out the running costs, we will see how that goes over time.

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