This urban homeowner wanted to install solar in advance of electric heat/cooling pumps and an electric vehicle.
With a smaller lot, a ground-mounted system was out. None of the roofs were large enough to support enough modules to meet their needs, and none of the faces were oriented due south. Plus, some trees to the west created moderate afternoon shade.
Sungineer Dave recommended three separate arrays on the roof faces that faced southwest or southeast. These conditions clearly called for microinverters instead of a string inverter – the microinverters optimize panel performance as the amount of sun the panels receive changes throughout the day due to the sun’s position in the sky.
Microinverters also allow for panel-level monitoring. This video shows one part of LG’s monitoring dashboard for this project. You can really see how different parts of the array receive more and less sun throughout the day!
For this project, the homeowner chose a black backsheet for their LG’s NeON 2 modules. You can still see the grid lines up close, but from a distance, they melt away and your eye reads it as a solid, flat black panel. We recommend this option for clients who prioritize the aesthetics of their PV system.
This project also included an upgrade to the house’s electrical service from 100 to 200 amp service in preparation for additional future electric needs (e.g. electric vehicle, heat pumps, water heater, etc). We specified a 225 amp panel to allow the homeowner to backfeed all on-site power generation to the grid when solar conditions are ideal.
Even though Dave and crew installed this system during the hottest days of July, they had a great time with the challenge. The homeowner was friendly, helpful, and accommodating. We hope they keep in touch!