OK, our solar power system actually got installed a week ago, but I wanted some photos so I had to wait until the weekend.
Anyway, we now have solar power!
We got a 1 kW grid-connected solar power system from Earth Utility. Once again (we previously got solar hot water from them), their service was great and the finished job looks very neat and professional. The electrician who did the installation was very knowledgeable and friendly.
WARNING: Earth Utility appears to be in trouble (updated 28-04-2010).
The system consists of 6 photovoltaic panels on the northern side of the roof, and a Sunny Boy 1100 inverter (with a 1.1 kW rating) mounted next to the meter box. You can see the panels and inverter in these photos:
The Sunny Boy inverter has a display on the front that shows total cumulative power produced, daily power produced, hours of operation, and instantaneous power and voltage. My only criticism of it is that you can only view those figures while the sun is out. If you come home after dark and want to see how much power was produced during the day, you can’t.
So how much electricity does the system generate? One the clearest, brightest day we had this week it generated 4.3 kWh. That’s pretty good, considering we’re only about 5 weeks from the winter solstice (the sun’s lowest path across the sky). It’ll be interesting to see how it performs over summer.
Because our block slopes up from the road and we have a roof over our front deck, none of our solar stuff is visible from the street. It’s kind of a shame, as I’d really like people to see that normal houses can be retrofitted with this kind of technology.
If you’re at all interested in getting solar power, start making enquiries now. The current rebate scheme will end on June 31, and is going to be replaced with an inferior one. The only upside is that the new scheme will not be means tested. There’s still time to get the ball rolling – you just have to get your rebate application in before June 31, and then you’ll have 9 months from the date of approval in which to install your system.