My first solar installation
Solar power is a fascinating technology and a great tool for showcasing the need for energy efficiency and awareness of our natural resources.
Thursday, June 9, 2011 - 10:25
Photo: Ryan Saunders
I remember the first time I heard someone mention photovoltaics and my slow learning curve. I still get laughs when I talk about solar system installation as they ask how am I going to reconstruct the entire solar system.
Soon I will be able to invite them down to my office so they can see for themselves. We will be installing a 28.8 kw system consisting of 120 modules and 3 inverters. The system will operate as a net metering system which allow us to net the production against our usage, thereby lowering our monthly power bill. Our system will produce approximately 40,000 kwh each year which will supply about half our consumption for an 8,000 sq. ft building.
The process of installing a solar system is time consuming but it is rewarding and I can't wait to complete the project and begin many more.
My interest in solar power and green energy was cultivated during my time at Appalachian State University — first, through my time working for the student newspaper covering all topics green, and then further with the motivation of my professor. A group of professors and students created the Renewable Energy Initiative a few years back in an effort to increase awareness of renewable energy.
The organization REI (Renewable Energy Initiative) and a commitment by the university to reduce its carbon footprint has paved the way for Appalachian State to serve as a model for schools around the country. I am thankful that the culture stuck with me and carried through into my career (I'm fortunate that my family has been in the electrical business for 50 years).
As I begin my career in the electrical industry, I am faced with many challenges and exciting opportunities. Things are changing more than ever before with increased awareness of energy efficiency, the second coming of the electric car and the growing presence of renewable energy in everyday culture.
The best thing about working with renewable energy is the people. There is such an excitement and optimism as you visit conferences as there is such a diversity of gender and age. Lucky for us, the North Carolina Solar Center is an hour away, which has served as our hub for interactive learning and exhibition. I will forever be thankful for the class that I attended there and their presence which has made North Carolina a viable hub for renewable energy on the east coast.
Today as I write, we have 120 modules sitting in our warehouse waiting to be put to good use. The journey began with a trip to Los Angeles to attend the International Solar Power conference. We left there with an excitement for the industry and a curiosity to learn more. In the months since, our momentum has continued to build.
At Beco Inc., we hope that our installation will serve as an educational tool for our community and a springboard for more widespread acceptance of renewable energy.
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