What started out as a typical residential solar installation in Williamstown, New Jersey became a lot more exciting when the solar installer, NJ Solar Power LLC, switched from the 265 Watt solar panels that they usually used to 325 Watt Panasonic HIT. “We were wondering what kind of module puts out 325W and is roughly the same size as what we were already using,” said Will Wiencke, foreman of NJ Solar Power LLC.
Homeowner Patrick Gallagher wanted to go solar to reduce his electric bill to zero. According to Wiencke, the house has a pool pump and 2 AC zones, the needs of which could have been met with generic 265 Watt panels. Instead Wiencke chose 325 Watt Panasonic solar panels. “When they were delivered, we were taken back by the slender, glossy frames and deep uniform cell color. The water drainage cuts on the top side of the frame were also an interesting innovation and very sharp at that. Right away we knew we liked these modules.”
The roof mounted 8.775kW system includes 27 solar panels, which cover about 440 square feet of roof. For the supports they used EcoFasten flashing, F-111 compression bracket adaptor plate, which raises the roof mount system up and off the roof deck. It can be used with 3rd party racking, and NJ Solar Power LLC chose Unirac’s Sunframe with the “C” cap strip and Unirac’s L foot. The Sunframe is a shared rail system that has a low-profile design with gap-free rows. “We chose this because of its seamless design and low roof profile,” Wiencke said. Once the racking was up, bonded and inspected they the modules. “The thin frames made them easy to handle but moving about the constructed array was difficult, due to the fact that the panels are only 35mm and don’t support much weight,” Wiencke noted.
Wire management was simplified because of the open frame on the top, bottom and sides of the 325’s. Wiencke added that, “The width of the frame edge was perfect for the Nine Fasteners’ DCS-1307 wire management clips we use.” The stainless-steel fasteners lay flat after the clips are attached, so there are no protruding leads. Due to multiple roof pitches and orientations, they used both a SolarEdge SE7600 A-US single-phase inverter with SolarEdge P-400 power optimizers.
The installation took about 2 days total, not including the rough and final inspections. It was complete on 27 May of 2016. At that point, Wiencke said he could do his favorite part of the job, which is to “take a step back and look at what we had made.” The installation has saved nearly 10,000 pounds of Co2 or the equivalent of 251 trees planted or enough to power about 20,000 light bulbs for a day.
Written by Anne Fischer, Managing Editor, Solar Novus Today