Before Solar Installation - Some obstructions have to be best managed with panel optimizers for panel by panel isolation and performance.
10kW MicroFIT Project with 40 - 250 kW panels, two five kW SolarEdge inverters with panel optimizers, a Schletter Gridnorm racking solution and 104 Smartmount roof penetrations.
Roof is prepared for the 104 penetrations, 48 on upper and 56 on lower rooftop.
Structural Review and Engineering Drawings, Niagara Escarpment Commission Approval, Credit Valley Conservation Approval and a Building Permit is required for this installation.
There are two roof vents and a plumbing vent on the lower roof that will not be covered with panels. Upper roof has a stove vent and a Turbine vent that needs to be considered.
Close up of the lower roof; all penetrations go into rafters and are flashed into the existing shingles.
Aluminum racking is staged to be installed after the roof penetrations.
Snow slows the progress but as a result we learn how to safely work in the snow and the cold.
Not your usual warm and sunny installation - weather is certainly a challenge during a Canadian winter; even a mild one as this in 2012.
The hardest part is complete; the rest just takes time and patience.
Close up of the roof penetrations with some of the racking attachment hooks visible above the snow.
Upper roof receiving penetrations; this roof was only three years old so, aside from some repairs, a re-roof was not required.
The moment before the "winds", the "snow", and the "dark clouds" arrived!
Next moment .... blustery, high winds and we were about to call it a day when .......
Out came the sun, calmer air, and, aside from more snow, a beautiful day! Roof as cleaned off again and work continued!
Weather makes for slow and careful progress; however the system advances.
Sun makes an otherwise cold day that much more bearable!
Roof penetrations take two days in the cold and snow. Every penetration needs to be pre-drilled into the rafters, filled with caulking and then installed with a roof lag bolt with shingle flashing and a rubber gromet to the mounting blocks. Slow, careful placement as per engineering drawings leads to an absolute perfect leak free installation.
104 penetrations complete - on to racking.
A better view of the upper roof.
Constant clearing of the roof to continue the work makes slow progress at this time of year.
Most residential installations require a switch out of the single meter base for a dual meter base and meters have to be placed electrically in parallel.
Soon a pvc conduit will run up by the downspout and onto the gable separating the two roofs to where the four strings will be wired and run to the inverters placed in the basement by the service entrance to the house.
Racking is installed and the panel orientation is in landscape mode to take advantage of the panel diodes for best performance.
Racking is installed on both roofs, levelled and true to the engineering design.
This roof was warped in a number of directions but with plastic shims and racking adjustment we levelled the grid.
Juli New Energy 250 kW panels from SolarForm and made in Ontario provide the Domestic Content requirements for the MicroFIT contractual agreement between the Owner and the OPA (Ontario Power Authority).
Roof penetrations up close show the detail in the installation.
A penetration with the two levels of racking. This also provides additional cooling of panels being approximately eight inches above the roof.
Another shot of the penetrations; see how the block is at an angle to shed moisture running down the roof; also displays the connecting hardware for the Schletter racking.
Optimizers are installed on the racking and hooked together; panels are installed and hooked into the optimizers; all wiring is tie wrapped with UV resistant ties.
This system will be setup with four strings, two strings to each of two inverters. The optimizers allow for panal by panel power management. For a site that will experience daily shadowing from trees and roofing obstructions, this is the highest performance and most cost effective architecture available.
View from the ground of the panels going up straight and true.
Shot showing the two roofs with the grid installed and first two rows of panels installed.
A view under the panels shows all the wire tied up off of the roof to prevent abrasion of wires against the shingles.
And another .....
Lower roof from the ridge showing how the panels are all in plane with the plumbing vent exposed.
Another shot showing how flat and true the panels look installed.
Lower roof complete with the two roof vents and the plumbing vent exposed.
View from the ground flat and true the way it should be.
Upper roof starts to make its appearance. Panels are grounded by the panel attachments pins and the racking is grounded with a ground wire on all of the vertical and horizontal rails. Optimizers are grounded with special star washers that break through the aluminum oxide layer to create a low resistance bond.
The furnace chimney is not ideal, but the system will accomodate this structure.
The work continues!
From the roof!
Showing a ground attachment. the copper ground is protected from the aluminum rails with a grounding lug specific to solar installations.
The upper and lower roofs are now complete and the snow is again gone. Work is much easier without the snow!
Look at that alignment! Every roof has its challenges!
And look at that shadow! Each panel is specifically managed by the architecture so at least the whole string is not affected!
The result of an excellent base is a level plane at the panel face! More pictures to come ............... Electrical and grid connect next ..... stay tuned!