Solar System Experi...
 

Solar System Experience  

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gonetropo
(@gonetropo)
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Joined: 8 years ago
Posts: 427
June 5, 2012 10:03 am  

We just installed a solar system last Thursday. We have never been solar advocates due to the complexity, cost and long ROI of the past systems but with the advent of new technology, the likelihood of WAPA increasing costs, and the federal tax credits, we had a close look into it.

So far, it is really amazing! The best thing about it is that this system is SIMPLE and all the components are made in the U.S. and carry a 25 year warranty!

We opted for a net metering system utilizing 10 panels, 10 micro inverters, and digital monitoring on the web. It took about 6 hours to install the entire system and the meter runs in reverse all day long while the sun is shining. The system sends performance date back to the micro inverter company every 5 minutes where it is loaded to their monitoring website. You, and anyone if approved, can access the site and see the present, daily, weekly and system to date power generation. You can also see exactly what each panel is producing and troubleshoot the system is required.

And the results! For 5 days, WAPA owes us 3KWH! At this rate, we will have a 2 1/2 ROI.


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LisaB
(@LisaB)
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Joined: 8 years ago
Posts: 57
June 5, 2012 10:38 am  

That sounds awesome...congrats, and enjoy being unleashed from WAPA!


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stxrocks
(@stx_rocks)
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Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 89
June 5, 2012 11:03 am  

Looks like a big step toward making WAPA less dependent on fossil fuels was made yesterday. WAPA signed contracts for 18 MW with 3 different companies. Here's a link to the article.

http://stcroixsource.com/content/news/local-news/2012/06/04/wapa-signs-solar-energy-contracts

Anyone want to take bets on Hodge's comments about reducing rates?


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SkysTheLimit
(@SkysTheLimit)
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Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 1914
June 5, 2012 11:53 am  

Sounds like a 2.5 KW Enphase system. I've been reading up on them on the internet and glad to hear it's performing well!!

Alan
St. Croix resident since 2000


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vicanuck
(@vicanuck)
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Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 2416
June 5, 2012 11:54 am  

It would be great to know more about what this system cost you and who installed it.


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EngRMP
(@EngRMP)
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Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 470
June 5, 2012 12:05 pm  

Very cool... congrats.

It seems the only question that hasn't been easily solved is the issue of hurricanes. What is your plan for protecting the panels during hurricanes? If it only took six hours to put them up, then is it equally simple to take them down for hurricanes?


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SkysTheLimit
(@SkysTheLimit)
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Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 1914
June 5, 2012 12:46 pm  

This link will show you what systems in the VI are producing. Pretty darn cool!!!!
https://enlighten.enphaseenergy.com/public_systems

This tells the company story.

Alan
St. Croix resident since 2000


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billd
(@billd)
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Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 1086
June 5, 2012 2:05 pm  

I put in 3k and I'm happy I did so. Will put another 3k in this year.

SCREW WAPA!

Billd


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EngRMP
(@EngRMP)
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Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 470
June 5, 2012 2:19 pm  

I was in Germany this Spring. On the drive from Heidelberg to Munich (about 5 hours), many (many!) farm buildings had solar cells covering their south facing roofs.


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gonetropo
(@gonetropo)
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Joined: 8 years ago
Posts: 427
June 5, 2012 2:44 pm  

I used Solar Express. You can price the entire system, including installation and Fed Tax Credit on their website.
http://solar.vi/


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gonetropo
(@gonetropo)
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Joined: 8 years ago
Posts: 427
June 5, 2012 2:48 pm  

EngRMP

I really don't have any intention on removing the panels unless a really big storm is forecasted.

The panels only took a hour to install, if that! They are on aluminum racks and can easily be removed if needed. The micro inverters are mounted under each panel and simply plugs into the PV panel.


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East End Doug
(@East_End_Doug)
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Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 236
June 5, 2012 4:32 pm  

Make sure WAPA does a "final" on the system and installs a digital meter. My system went in in Dec.2011 and they still have not done the inspection and changed the meter.


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Neil
 Neil
(@Neil)
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Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 988
June 5, 2012 5:19 pm  

Congratulations Gonetropo!

Please post photos of your setup.

----

I can't help but feel bad for all the middle and low income families on the island who will be paying more for electricity than you, and can't afford to invest in their own solar setup. At some point, WAPA itself has to have the solution. I just hope it's not too little too late for the island.


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stiphy
(@stiphy)
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Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 956
June 5, 2012 6:03 pm  

The house I moved into in November of 2011 had 9X160watt panels installed with battery backup using the Outback Inverter and control system. I interfaced the Outback to the internet via computer and can see what I'm producing online. Pretty cool, here's the link: http://sean.mysolarlog.com/

I am generally producing only 6.5-7kw/day which would take a while to payback if I had bought it myself. The system was put in around 2008 so I am going to guess it would be cheaper now and have a better ROI.

Sean


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Bruno
(@Bruno)
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Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 45
June 5, 2012 7:31 pm  

If you just installed this system last Thursday, that means you haven't received your final inspection from DPNR yet. If you get caught running your system without a final electrical inspection, big fines. Solar Express has only installed a couple of systems in their history. However, they should not have commissioned your system yet. Maybe they are still learning. If you get busted, send the inspector,"Lenny" to see them to pay your fine.


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SkysTheLimit
(@SkysTheLimit)
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Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 1914
June 5, 2012 8:44 pm  

If you just installed this system last Thursday, that means you haven't received your final inspection from DPNR yet. If you get caught running your system without a final electrical inspection, big fines. Solar Express has only installed a couple of systems in their history. However, they should not have commissioned your system yet. Maybe they are still learning. If you get busted, send the inspector,"Lenny" to see them to pay your fine.

Bruno,
I've read your posts and realize you have years of experience with solar and respect your opinion. What is your feeling about the Enphase micro inverters?

Also, How big of a fine?

Alan
St. Croix resident since 2000


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stxrocks
(@stx_rocks)
Advanced Member
Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 89
June 6, 2012 12:42 am  

The panels can generally be easily removed in the event of a hurricane, however depending on how they're installed, you may need a special plastic wrench tool to do so. I mounted my system on a flat area over my patio to reduce the wind loading on my sloped roof and also to facilitate removal in the event of a hurricane.


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vicanuck
(@vicanuck)
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Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 2416
June 6, 2012 11:49 am  

Damn...I own an acre or so of vacant land next to my house. I bet I could produce plenty of electricity if I laid a grid of panels out.

Hmmmm.


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Jamison
(@Jamison)
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Joined: 8 years ago
Posts: 1037
June 6, 2012 2:55 pm  

I would like to see a system that was ran like a generator. A stand alone unit I guess. I know they make little ones for camping, but I'm a renter and if could put 2 panels up out back, feed it into a battery and have it strong enough to power my life, I'd be happy. Downside of renting.


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IslandHops
(@IslandHops)
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Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 929
June 6, 2012 4:06 pm  

I hope all you net-metering folks are ready to pay WAPA 5 cents for every KW you generate....

http://www.legvi.org/vilegsearch/ShowPDF.aspx?num=29-0315&type=Bill

What a great way to encourage use of alternative energy.


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Bruno
(@Bruno)
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Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 45
June 6, 2012 4:27 pm  

I have well over 3000 Enphase units out in the field without one failure to date. This July is 30yrs of biz for me. Did solar when is was not cool. Now I'm a hero. Been using Enphase for two years now. Enphase for residential and small commercial is great IMHO. We have many systems pumping out alot of power using these micros. Support is excellent at all levels. That being said, many new installers use them as they believe it is all just plug-n-play solar. That does not make one a solar expert. Putting in a 10 panel system that fast (6hrs) makes me worry. Did they have 5 people working? I don't want to bust on the "New solar company on the Island," but, they are in the tire business. Everyone wants to jump in this opportunity and make some fast bucks. I install by myself, my electrician does the last WAPA connections. It takes me 3-5 full days to do a professional install that won't leak, won't have wires come free in the passing of time and will make the electrical inspector happy. I don't make guarantees that if a 150mph storm comes, your panels will survive. Those statements are for dreamers. We all, or most have been here with cat 1-5 storms. If the panels don't blow away, then debris can get them. I mount my systems for what is said to be greater then 150mph wind loads, but that is all subjective too many things. Also, if panels are taken down pre-storm, then re-grounding the panels/ mirco's upon remounting has to be done, and correctly. Many of the newer companies don't even know the permitting processes for DPNR/WAPA. Always ask for references, and ask lots of questions. Remember, this is a electric generation plant mounted to a roof or ground mount. Don't skimp on a few cents per watt for lack of experiance. It will cost much more than that in the end.

As for the fine amounts? Don't know, never been fined. I know its real, and I would not push the system to find out.


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Jeff Kruse
(@Jeff_Kruse)
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Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 51
June 6, 2012 4:54 pm  

I hope all you net-metering folks are ready to pay WAPA 5 cents for every KW you generate....

http://www.legvi.org/vilegsearch/ShowPDF.aspx?num=29-0315&type=Bill

What a great way to encourage use of alternative energy.

Is that 5 cents for every KW Hour or 5 cents for every KW of capacity (every month?)? The bill does not specify KWH.

http://thekrusechronicles.blogspot.com/


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Lucy
 Lucy
(@Lucy)
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Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 297
June 6, 2012 5:14 pm  

I hope all you net-metering folks are ready to pay WAPA 5 cents for every KW you generate....

http://www.legvi.org/vilegsearch/ShowPDF.aspx?num=29-0315&type=Bill

What a great way to encourage use of alternative energy.

Is that 5 cents for every KW Hour or 5 cents for every KW of capacity (every month?)? The bill does not specify KWH.

This appears to be for larger commercial and public (schools, etc.) systems ... not residential.


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IslandHops
(@IslandHops)
Trusted Member
Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 929
June 6, 2012 6:29 pm  

If you bother to read the appropriate section of the VI code, the proposed law applies to all "customer-generators" - not just large producers.

The proposed amendment is not specific in reference to capacity nor KWH, but my assumption would be, given the amount of 5 cents, that it will apply to each KWH you generate. So due to the generous nature of our 29th legislature, WAPA may be able to charge you 5 cents per KWH for generating your own power if you elect net-metering. Don't forget to calculate that "fee" into your potential ROI!


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gonetropo
(@gonetropo)
Advanced Member
Joined: 8 years ago
Posts: 427
June 7, 2012 11:29 am  

IslandHops

Yes, there was an amendment proposed by one of our genious senators....what makes them think?

The proposed amendment contains the phrase 'Be it enacted by the Legislature 1 of the Virgin Islands'.

So, does anyone know if it has indeed been inacted and how do you suppose they are going to be able to determine the amount of net metering when they don't use digital net metering meters?


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