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Solar PV System Installation Nearly Complete, Summary


Bruce Langmuir and Steve Gabeler of the Buildings & Grounds Committee write:

SunBug Solar, LLC, complete installing most of our FPS solar photovoltaic (PV) system on Friday, in 5 days, December 4, 2015. The completed work, included wiring and mounting 55 all black solar panels/collectors (called a panel array), on the Atkinson (RE) Wing roof, wiring from the panels to the Table Closet off the Parish Hall, and nearly all wiring in and outside the Table Closet. The wiring of the system is expected to be completed in January or February 2016 when a newly designed three phase inverter (by Solar Edge) is in production and available to be wired into our system.

Our system, like most, is connected to the electric grid, and does not have any battery backup equipment – instead, excess power is sent to the electric utility system. When excess power is supplied to the grid, the meter runs backward and we are credited (net metering). Our 16.5 Kilowatt system will generate about 45% of our electrical usage per year, saving us around $1,000 per year starting when connected.

The 300 Watt output, 37 pound, 18.3% efficient panels by LG, are located in a manner to provide the best access to sunlight. This means most panels have been mounted on the south (toward Hudson Road) and west side facing roofs.

The inverter will be located in the Table Closet off the Parish Hall. A solar inverter converts the voltage variable direct current (DC) output of photovoltaic (PV) solar panels into a 60Hertz utility frequency alternating current (AC) that can be fed into the commercial electrical grid, which is Eversource. A data monitoring receiver has been integrated into the inverter which monitors performance data from each PV panel.  –  Please always leave 2 feet of space empty from the outside wall (on the right or west side), where the inverter is to be located, before and after the inverter is installed.

Snow: With solar collectors now on the Atkinson (RE) Wing roof, we should all be aware that snow will slide off when least expected if there is a significant amount of snow on the collectors.  When and if snow suddenly slides off the roof, it can start with little or no warning, and we want to avoid anyone being injured.

When there is a significant amount of snow on the solar collectors, we suggest keeping around 10 to 15 feet  from the side the snow would slide down (front by the playground and rear by the Bracket Room sliders). The pitch of our roofs is only a low 23 degrees, so snow will tend to stay on them longer than most systems and may not avalanche off at all and just melt.

We will have to pay attention to see how it behaves and be extra cautious until we have some actual observations. This will all depend on how much snow we get this Winter.

On the photograph of “Whole PV Solar Panel Array” at FPS on Atkinson (RE) Wing roof, the pitch of panels on south facing roof (towards Hudson Road over Commons) is the same as roof pitch. Panels over north facing roof are horizontal. Pitch of panels facing west (over offices), same as roof pitch. This photograph from the steeple is the only spot where thesolar photo dec 16 2015 whole array can be seen.