Saturday, May 5, 2012

Our new Photovoltaic Solar Panels

This spring we shopped around for the best Photovoltaic Solar Panels for our particular house here in Johnstown. After interviewing three companies, we chose to go with Independent Power Systems out of Boulder, CO.  The primary reason for choosing them was the type of solar modules that they are the exclusive dealer for SunPower Elite, which are superior in technology to others available here in northern Colorado. They produce higher output per sq. ft. than the other brands, which allows us to have 100% of the electricity that we need come from the solar cells.

We just got our 32 solar panels installed this week. Within the next 2-3 weeks electricians will come and install the power inverter (photovoltaic solar panels create DC, which must be converted to AC), and a special meter that allows the solar panel current to flow into the existing power grid. So during daylight hours the power produced by the solar panels is measured as it goes into the grid, then we use from the grid for our electrical needs day or night. The computer controller for the system will be connected through our internet router, so that we and the company can see the performance of our system online 24/7.  If it fails or changes in performance, they will be out here ASAP to find out why, and make any necessary repairs or changes.   
We were able to get the most powerful, efficient cells available that will provide 100% of our power over the year, and will save at least $60/month (compared to our electric portion of our utility bill) for the next 20 years, with $0 down. We lease the entire system, so the company maintains, repairs, etc. the system for 20 years.  Our payment cannot increase for that period of time, even if we use more electricity than our past needs.  We have to pay $7.00/month to XCEL (grid), to be on their system. All of this is based on current (early 2012) federal and state energy rebates and incentives that we signed over to the lease company, as they will own the system. 
We feel really good about the representatives of the company that we have dealt with.  The salesmen, project manager, and the module installer have all been really great people.  The installation workmanship is amazingly well done.  I would highly recommend these guys to anyone. Top notch, professional installers.

If you live in Colorado and are interested in pursuing solar power, I recommend:
Nick Williamson
NABCEP Certified
Phone: 303-443-0115
1501 Lee Hill Rd. #24
Boulder, CO 80304

First stack of solar modules on our deck

 Installers placing the anchors on the roof, each one firmly screwed to the trusses

Extruded aluminum mounting rails were then fastened to the anchors

 A few modules installed to check the positioning

Installer inspecting the backside of the modules. Note the electrical connectors.

 Connecting the wires from panel-to-panel

Heavy wire mesh was firmly installed on each edge to keep the critters out from under the panels

32 Solar Modules completely installed in 2.5 days