Thursday, May 5, 2011

Solar array already in our midst

By Harvey Paige

Harvey Paige's solar array.

The solar array at 1440 Meadow Lane is now fully installed and producing carbon-free electric power. The system is fully instrumented and the output is available at the web site One may be surprised to see that some electric power is being produced even on cloudy days. The boxes on the web site represent the number of watts produced by each of the 15 modules. As I write this, it is very cloudy and the entire array will only run about seven 100 watt light bulbs. If we ever get a sunny day, each module will easily light two of those bulbs, or run whatever is plugged into the house outlets.


Mek Logan said...

Thanks for sharing the status URL, Harvey -- it was particularly interesting to see that there was a bit of shade on the upper left corner!

That's impressive power output, particularly on this fine sunny day -- and the long-term gains are going to be even better.

Don Beard said...

I dont know the cost , but how long until you see a return

Unknown said...

Yes, Mek. I was surprised to see how much energy I can collect on overcast days. Don, I did not calculate the payback, but did so now to answer your question. Based on no change to the approx 12.6 cents/kWh, our usage last year, and no tax or other advantages or payment for more energy produced than used, it would take 65 years. Assuming 30% tax credit, it drops to 45.5 years. There may be other payments that will shorten it more, but not likely to be paid in dollars in my lifetime The payback, in another sense, is immediate. I enjoy watching the electricity meter run backwards, and like the idea of leaving a tiny carbon footprint. Some prefer other payback scenarios, but I like this one a lot. Harvey