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Old 11-19-2014, 03:45 PM   #1
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Fantastic New Solar System Doesn't Need Direct Sunlight!

So, I walked out of the house a little while ago to discover that our neighbor was getting a solar system installed on the house. I thought, Good for them!! Then I noticed that the installers were working on what I thought was the wrong side of the house. When I came home, I checked a compass, then Google Maps, and sure enough they appear to be installing a fairly large array on the North-Northeast facing roof! What the heck?!?

Apparently, Solarcity has found a new hyper efficient solar panel that doesn't need direct sunlight! What a breakthrough!!!

I'm totally puzzled, I am not a solar expert, but I do understand that direct sunlight is a major key to a good installation. Our neighbor has a great Southeast exposure on the roof, no trees in the way. Maybe they will continue installing the rest of the array on the other side. I don't know.

Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't early morning the best time for solar with cooler temps=higher voltage and more electricity? Or has Solar city gone off their engineering rocker.

Tom
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Old 11-19-2014, 05:42 PM   #2
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Solar City likely has a plan. I expect you will see additional panels appear on the southerly facing roof. Or perhaps the owner does not want them there for esthetic reasons and will compensate with additional panels.

I have 28 panels on my roof. Just 3 degrees off due south facing. Works great.
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Old 11-19-2014, 06:10 PM   #3
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That should have been the panels are facing North-NorthWEST, oops. Plus, Forgot to add that there are 75 foot redwood trees right next to the west side of the house. Plenty shade for the house, but for solar?

Both sides are perpendicular to the road, so can be seen equally from the front of the house.
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Old 11-20-2014, 02:09 PM   #4
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It would my guess that some installer is not quite certain of the concept.

Reed and Elaine
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Old 11-22-2014, 11:57 AM   #5
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It is similar to the discussion where you say you have solar on your 5th wheel and they ask "on the roof?" and you want to answer "no, under the floor and it does not work very well!", but I don't

I guess they could be referring to movable panels that you unpack and place next to your rig.

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Old 11-23-2014, 10:07 AM   #6
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And the rest of the story????

LEN
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Old 11-30-2014, 09:28 AM   #7
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Ok, so they completed the install last week, Solar City put another array on the opposite facing roof, so facing South-Southeast, which makes far more sense. But it appears to be at least 5 panels smaller than the array facing NNW. There is an equal amount of roof area on both, about the same number of roof penetrations, but only covering about half the available roof area on both. Still a mystery to me
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Old 11-30-2014, 09:39 AM   #8
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Why don't you go ask your neighbor about his installation and report back?
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Old 11-30-2014, 09:46 AM   #9
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Home solar systems are designed to accommodate the installation site. The panels can be placed pretty much on any side of a roof (except inside!) with additional panels installed to compensate for less than optimal site characteristics.

We have 8 kW worth of panels on an east facing roof slope. Works great - electric bills are $0.00 plus we get small checks from the local electric utility every month.
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Old 11-30-2014, 11:10 AM   #10
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South facing is not necessarily a hard rule. For example, coastal areas that commonly have morning overcast condition that clear towards mid day can benefit from westerly facing panels.
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Old 12-01-2014, 07:33 AM   #11
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Western facing and eastern facing can be quite effective as vesheetz noted above but northern facing really should not be effective in the northern hemisphere.
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Old 12-01-2014, 09:48 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glennb100 View Post

...

We have 8 kW worth of panels on an east facing roof slope. Works great - electric bills are $0.00 plus we get small checks from the local electric utility every month.
Have you checked out replacement cost for the grid-tie-in inverter yet? Life span of the unit is about 5-6 years and the cost might be born by you alone if you want to maintain your grid tie-in.
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Old 12-01-2014, 05:33 PM   #13
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Our inverter (Sunpower) has a 10 year warranty - so the manufacturer expects it to last at least this long
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Old 12-01-2014, 07:26 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BendOR View Post
Have you checked out replacement cost for the grid-tie-in inverter yet? Life span of the unit is about 5-6 years and the cost might be born by you alone if you want to maintain your grid tie-in.
First I have seen this short a lifespan commented. can you share the source? Usually stated grid tie inverter lifetime I have encountered is 15-20 years.
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