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Now Net Positive

My solar panel installation was completed yesterday! On a yearly basis, I now generate more power than I consume (at least until I get my EV).

8.58 KW of panels on the south facing roof

They started last Friday installing the brackets for the racks for the panels.

Execon Installers on roof
Accessed roof from deck
Brackets used and the sealant they use to close up new holes they make in metal roof
When they left the racks and wiring were in place

The next visit was by the electrician hooking up the cable from roof to inverter, connecting it to the breaker box and installing the hard shut off switch outside the house. In the event there is a fire or emergency, workers have outside access to the emergency shut off to make the site safer to access.

External ‘Chachunga’ Switch
Inverter installation – in garage so we don’t make any new holes in my building envelope

I picked this specific inverter as it is the only one currently able to supply power when grid goes down. My system is using net metering, which means my house is still on the Hydro One electrical grid. When the panels produce power it is used in my house and any excess is exported to the grid turning my meter backwards. When my panels don’t produce power (night or when covered in snow/ice) or enough power, I use power from the grid which drives the meter forward.

Once the system detects grid loss, it must stop producing power as this would be dangerous for anyone working to restore power to the grid. This is part of the building code.

The Sunny Boy inverter from Germany can however still offer 2000 W of power to this outlet from which I can run my freezer, fridge, internet and power a few rechargeable devices (phone, tablet, lights) during the day. At night, the freezer and fridge will be off and I will operate lights and devices off battery. This can work indefinitely. If I buy a small battery unit, I can run these devices day and night.

Once I get my EV, I will use the EV batteries to run the house, charging them during the day with solar panels. This will give me indefinite autonomy during the summer and a several days autonomy in the winter.

Yesterday the panel installer came back with the panels.

Installation of panels from ground using lift (blue) attached to ladder
Solar Panel (1 of 22) each producing 390 W
Panels with cables at the back which get connected together on the roof
Installing the lower row of panels – you see the lift on the ladder on the right
Second row done and installing the critter guard to keep squirrels from gnawing the wires

The last step is for Hydro One to come and install a 2-way meter and to bring my power generation online. Then I hope it starts driving the meter backwards and reducing my electrical bill. As we head into the dark season though I won’t see full potential of my array. Once the sun comes back and the days get longer again, I will be producing much more power than I need and driving the meter backwards. With Net Metering, you can keep your power credits for one calendar year so my summer credits will cover me for next winter. This winter I will only see a few credits if any at all.

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