Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Ray and Suzanne Dezern - Photovoltaic System

The 40 panel ground mount photovoltaic solar system is located in a field 210 feet from their rural residence in Middlesex County, Virginia, about 12 miles from Gloucester Courthouse.  It consists of 40 (four, 10 panel circuits) Sharp NU-Q235F2 watt solar panels installed with Enphase M215 240V micro-inverters, connected to their electrical service panel via #4 wire and two 50 amp circuit breakers. Their installation was completed in December, 2011. The installation included an Enphase “Envoy” communications gateway (power production reporting & recording system). 

Their contractor was Royer Technical Services, Inc. located in Hampton, VA (“Royer”).  Royer designed and fabricated in-house an impressive, strong ground mount system consisting of 3” and 2” stainless steel pipe and bolts anchoring the array.  A seasonal shading issue was identified following installation, but Royer has agreed to rectify that situation and has proposed a couple of different solutions. They have been pleased with the contractor. Dominion Virginia Power installed an Itron bidirectional net meter on January 12, 2012. They were fortunate to receive a rebate from the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (“DMME”) funded pursuant to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 passed by Congress to stimulate the U.S. economy.

Following their installation, the DMME notified them that they qualified for additional rebate money. They were prepared to install either a solar hot water system or an additional 20 PV panels on a separately metered building, but they elected not to proceed because of the “Envoy”  reporting problems they were experiencing at the time. Their problems with the “Envoy” have been electronic, not electrical. They have been very satisfied with the performance of the PV panels and the micro-inverters. 

On most days they have had to resort to counting the pulse readout/display on Dominion’s Itron electrical service meter to ascertain their power production (i.e. 10 pulses/minute = 600 watts [120 pulses/minute or 12 x 600 watts = 7,200 watts]). Their peak power production on clear days has been in the7800 to 8700+ watt range. The “Envoy” has reported similar power levels, albeit sporadically.  The problem persists, notwithstanding the fact that almost all of the suggestions or protocols offered by Enphase customer service and materials on their website, have been tried.  They hope to have the problem resolved shortly.


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