We’re Pleased As Punch

It’s hard not to catch ‘solar fever’ after talking to Gary Elliott. “We’re pleased as punch!” he remarked during a recent phone call. “On a good day, we do about 15 or 16.” He was talking about how many kilowatts of electricity his 3.29kW solar system produces each day. “It’s living up to expectations,” he said.

Gary and his wife Debbie built an energy-efficient custom home with Stitt in 2007. They knew they wanted solar after they settled in, so they closely monitored their energy use. This let them calculate their average electric base load. (A base load is how much energy a home uses every month without heating and cooling loads.) Knowing your base load and how much a system will produce helps determine system size.

Because their utility company seldom experiences power outages, Gary and Debbie chose a grid-tied solar electric system with no battery backup. The system uses Enphase micro-inverters, which let them monitor the production of each solar module in real time on the Enphase website. The monitoring software shows how much power their system has generated since it was installed.

A unique feature of Enphase software is that it equates their system’s total production to the number of homes or other buildings they could power for a day. It also shows how much carbon dioxide they prevented by comparing it to the number of trees it takes to remove that much CO2 from the air. To date, their system has generated 20.1 megawatt hours - enough to power a stadium for a day, and it has offset 13.9 tons of carbon - the equivalent of one acre of trees! Way to go, Gary and Debbie!

Solar Creates Smiles in Winfield

Clyde and Lois Vasey became the first to ‘go solar’ in their retirement community in Winfield, KS. But first they had to present a solid case for solar to the Property Owners’ Association, city officials, and the city-operated utility company.

The Stitt Group provided them with installation photos and equipment specifications, which they presented to the city. Clyde followed up with a phone call to Winfield’s City Manager. “Much to my surprise, I found out that Winfield is encouraging people to go solar!” he said.

Stitt chose 20 MAGE solar modules and a SolarEdge inverter with power optimizers for the installation. The 4.6kW system is installed on the southeast facing roof of Clyde and Lois’ energy efficient home. The modules give them a 30-year power guarantee and a +5 power tolerance.

A positive tolerance means the module should never produce less than its nameplate rating but often produces more. The SolarEdge components offer module-level monitoring and power management similar to microinverters, plus they can handle higher wattage modules.

Clyde emailed a status report shortly after the system was up and running.  “Our electric utility bills have certainly been showing change! Today was meter reading day, and we used 1000 fewer units then the same time last year… Lois certainly supports the idea of renewable energy. She just turned on the dishwasher so she could use solar heated water and solar power.” Thank you Clyde and Lois for supporting clean, renewable energy!