Tag Archives: solar panels

Solar Pioneer Continues Roof Top Revolution

Solar Pioneer Continues Rooftop Revolution
Russ Lawrence joined the decentralized power revolution years ago with his home in the mountains outside of Hamilton. When he decided to move to town he knew he wanted to maintain his energy independent lifestyle.

Russ is an efficient user of electricity, so using average annual estimates of utility usage (he has not yet been in the home a full year) SBS Solar sized the system to provide 100% of Russ’ annual electric needs.  He is anticipating excess production and plans to convert from his efficient natural gas furnace to an air source heat pump.

One of his first FaceBook posts of his new system included his NorthWestern Energy net-meter running in reverse.

Feed energy back to the grid with NorthWestern Energy Net-Meter.

Feed energy back to the grid with NorthWestern Energy Net-Meter.

 

Selway the SBS Solar Dog Visits the Solar Electric System at the Darby Montana Library

SBS Solar Dog visits the Darby Library
Selway the SBS Solar Dog was reading the Darby Community Public Library’s web site.

“Described as the “Sistine Chapel of Small Diameter Roundwood,” the Darby Library is an inspiring example of what partners can do when they put their minds together. The Library Board worked with area architects and engineers to create a building that is not only functional, but also reflects the culture and heritage of a timber town that once employed hundreds in five sawmills, and the spirit of the many residents that contributed in ways large and small.”

Energy efficiency played a large roll in the design and construction of the Darby library.  It boasts a heat pump system that keeps the 5000 square foot structure comfortable as well as good insulation and energy efficient windows.  This made a net-metered solar electric system a natural.  Once again the volunteers sprang into action.  The Darby board contacted Dan Brandborg with SBS Solar and together they designed a system that will cover 88 % of the annual electric needs.  Grants were written donations made and collected and in Feb of 2017 the system was installed and the net-meter connected.

Today the Darby Library solar electric system features 62 SolarWorld solar panels and two SolarEdge Grid tie Inverters with 10,000 watt continuous output.  Using the  SolarEdge Grid tie Inverter, Model SE-10,000-US  the system can me monitored from anywhere.

The library continues to grow in community use, and is a beacon for energy efficiency and new technology. The library provides eleven desktop computers and five laptops for public use, a free meeting room for group use, free WiFi, and multiple book collections. Serving a population of 4,300 in a 1,376 square mile area, the library is the center for community activities.
Darby public library goes solar

Bitterroot Brewery Solar Electric Installation

Bitterroot Brewery Hamilton Montana Solar Electric System

Bitterroot Brewery, Hamilton Montana , Photovoltaic Installation

Bitterroot Brewery, Hamilton Montana , Photovoltaic Instalation

 

This system is comprised of 40 -255 watt modules to create a 10kW array. The brewery building is located next to a baseball park which includes a ball net held in place with a number of telephone poles south of the main building. Add to this a cell tower to the Southwest. All of which creates areas of shading at specific times through the solar day.

Because of this shading we opted for micro inverters as their primary advantage is a reduction in losses when portions of the array are shaded. We also mounted a portion of the array on the west facing roof as this is totally free of shading and very visible from the main street intersection. Unlike string inverters with one MPPT channel where all modules need to be of the same orientation and angle, micros give us flexibility and allow any orientation for multiple modules.

A smart TV is mounted in the main room of this local watering hole where it is easy to see just how much power the array is producing. This is a great way to show off your solar system if you have a public area.

The owner and managers of the brewery utilized every possible incentive available here in Montana. Because of their location they were able to secure the USDA 25% grant, a partial grant from NorthWestern Energy, and the low interest loan program (3.25%) from Montana DEQ.