Sunergy Systems Featured Projects

First Go Solar Seattle Northwest Family

Our project of the month is the first family to go solar as part of the Go Solar Seattle Northwest program. 

The Kahles decided to go with a 5.5kW Silicon Energy System. They’ve have been following the solar market for several yearsand recently bought an electric vehicle. For Paul and Vanessa, the timing just seemed perfect to go solar now. As Paul proudly says, “I’m putting as many watts on my roof as it will hold. It’s green, it’s cool and the price is right”. They couldn’t be happier with their decision to Go Solar.

The Kalhe's 5.5kW Silicon Energy System will offset 69% of their power usage and will produce 164,605kWh over the next 30 years; which offsets 334 barrels of oil needed for the average American home to generate the same amount of electricity over the same amount of time! 

 

 

 

 

Edmond Community Solar Cooperative- Phase II

A truly cooperative enterprise between Sustainable Edmonds, City of Edmonds, Tangerine Power, Sunergy Systems. The co-op model was chosen for this community solar project to benefit people whose roofs face the wrong way, live in the forest, or apartments, condos, don’t have the money for an entire system, or simply don’t want solar on their home.

The 90 members bought SunSlices in increments of $1,000 each and will receive about $100 back each year over the 8 year contract. Plus surplus, by whatever the members decide to do with the system at the end of contract with the City of Edmonds. And with the co-op structure, it is 1 member, 1 vote. Our original 34 members built a 4.2 kW Silicon Energy system in the summer of 2011. With 56 new members, and existing members buying more Slices, we raised enough to build an additional 18.9 kW in late summer 2012.

The Edmonds City Council was concerned about us penetrating the flat roofs and the Historic Preservation Commission was looking at the impact on a registered historic building, during the planning stage 3 years ago. We chose Silicon Energy, partly because of their ability to hold up to the harsh marine climate that the panels are exposed to on the roof of the Frances Anderson Community Center, with salt air & exposure C wind classification. The Cooper B-Line Arista racks needed no anchoring, with proper ballasting, according to the engineers (mfr. & City). The Silicon Energy panels, though barely visible from the street, are a beautiful addition to the flat gray roof.  And boy, do they have a nice view!

The 18.9 kW Phase 2 system consists of Silicon Energy (L) and Itek (R) solar modules. The racks are from Sunmodo, in Vancouver, WA.  The extra layer of roofing under the ballasted racks is the kind of conscientious installation that got Sunergy Systems the encore job of installing Phase 2. The City of Edmonds, as a US DOE Sunshot partner, is working to streamline the permitting process for solar installations and they exempted the costs of the panels and inverters before determining valuation for permit fee calculation. This saved the Co-op thousands. The City is buying all the power from both systems at a 40% discount, as well as getting a yearly roof lease fee. The Co-op maintains insurance on the system and the building.

This project represents 90 people who put their money where their values are.  The cooperative efforts of a multitude of kindred souls made this (as far as we know) the first truly community owned solar cooperative project in America.

6.4kW SolarWorld System

Our project of the month comes from Seattle, Wa; a 6.4kW SolarWorld system. Mark Dexter of Seattle couldn't be happier about the production of his new SolarWorld system as it is producing more than half of his home's energy consumption. 

"I'm very satisfied with the system that Sunergy installed for me. Everyone I worked with was very professional, friendly and helpful. The installation went very smoothly and the system is operating as expected. Greg was extremely helpful in explaining how everything worked and answering all my questions. The system generates more than half of all the power we use! I would definitely recommend Sunergy to anyone looking to add a solar power system to their home!" M. Dexter
 
Mark Dexter's system will produce 177,466kWh over the next 30 years; which offsets 360 barrels of oil needed for the average American home to generate the same amount of electricity over the same amount of time! 

Bainbridge City Hall Community Solar Project

In August 2012 the City of Bainbridge Island will shine as the 71.28 kW Community Solar Project on the City Hall roof goes live. The idea of Community Solar was first germinated at City Hall during a community gathering there in 2005. It took several years and the tenacious leadership of Senator Phil Rockefeller in Olympia to turn it from good idea, to Washington State law. Following the unanimous approval from the Bainbridge Island City Council, the City selected Community Energy Solutions (CES) to make the Bainbridge City Hall Community Solar Project a reality.

Community Solar is an emerging field, based on the simple proposition that more people will go solar provided that it is easy, affordable, and free of site barriers. Ron and Ann Morford, one of the Project’s participants said:"We decided to invest in the Bainbridge City Hall Community Solar Project after finding out we could not put solar cells on our home due to excessive shading from tall trees. This project was a great way for us to make an investment in sustainable energy, partner with others from our community, provide much needed savings for our local government, and get a future return on our investment. What a win-win-win-win project! We need to do more of this."

It is also important to recognize the positive impacts Community Solar brings to the local economy and the greater environment. As another project participant, Kathleen O'Brien, put it:"My husband, John Cunningham, and I invested in the Bainbridge Island City Hall Community Solar Project primarily because it combines an opportunity to support our community using a sustainable technology and an innovative local investment model. We need more and more examples of this kind of leadership and thinking in our region. It's just plain smart." 

In all, twenty-five Islanders actively participated in the Project. Sunergy Systems was the selected solar contractor for design and installation. They were also the chosen contractor for Go Solar Bainbridge, a recent CES-led community-based campaign that more than doubled the amount of installed solar capacity on the Island.

All two hundred ninety seven panels and thirty inverters are from the Bellingham manufacturer Itek Energy, becoming their largest single project. The Bainbridge City Hall Community Solar Project is truly community-base; created and financed locally while benefiting the local economy and global environment. Not only will the system provide the City of Bainbridge Island with clean energy for many years to come, it will showcase for other communities what can be accomplished in this economy.

Components: 297 Itek Energy IT240 (240W) photovoltaic modules and 30 Exceltech XLGT inverters

This project was featured in Home Power Magazine. Read full article here

9.6kW Itek Energy System In Bainbridge

North Pacific Mini Storage of Bainbridge Island goes solar with a 9.6kW Itek Energy system. The owner of North Pacific Mini Storage is ecstatic about the new addition to his business and can't wait to see what the summer will produce.

Owner Jim Llewellyn decided to go solar to take advantage of our state's incentive program, "I chose to go solar because of the state and federal incentives which were so clearly explained by Sunergy's Greg Williams. The incentives made being green a "no-brainer" and with the great folks at Umpqua Bank the financing proved to be an added bonus by reducing my previous rate from 6.5% to 3.95%. The installation looks good and will more than pay for itself by 2020 and I'll enjoy the "free" power for many, many years after that. Sunergy Systems was great to work with and I only wish that I could repeat the program three more times for the other three meters on the property."

With Washington State's production incentive, North Pacific Mini Storage's 9.6kW Itek Energy system will be getting paid $0.54 per kilowatt-hour produced until July 2020, because both the inverter and the solar module are manufactured in Washington State.

Now that we have installed North Pacific Mini Storage's system, he is telling his friends! "I love telling my friends about my positive experience becoming part of the solar program. I tell them, we all have heard the adage which admonishes, "If it sounds to good to be true it probably is" but this opportunity was one of the rare instances where something this beneficial is true. All the people I have dealt with at Sunergy Systems from the office staff to the electricians, and of course my solar design consultant, Greg Williams, have been great to work with. The the extent that opportunities have arisen I've recommended Sunergy Systems to anyone interested in this perpetual power."

21 Acres Center 25.6kW Photovoltaic System

With Mt. Rainier to the south and the entrance to the new 21 Acres Center for Local Food and Sustainable Living to the north, one cannot help but be awed by the roof-to-roof coverage of the 25.6kW solar energy system!  21 Acres is a non-profit organization committed to supporting sustainable, local food systems through its school, commercial kitchen and farm market with an eye on changing the conventional food system landscape.The innovative facility is designed to LEED standards targeting a platinum rating. The design incorporates numerous energy and water conservation features to reduce the overall impact of the built environment on human health and our natural environment.

From the facility’s initial conceptualization over six years ago, the incorporation of renewable energy was never a question for 21 Acres, but rather, how large would the array need to be to offset 10% of their consumption. The initial design included both photovoltaic and solar hot water. After assessing the needs of the facility it was determined that the water usage was small, not justifiable for a solar hot water system. Instead, more PV panels were added to reach their production goal. To meet this goal, 21 Acres partnered with Sunergy Systems back in 2007 for the system design and all the way through the building’s completion last fall.        
                                                                                                                                                                                                                
The 25.6kW solar electric system consists of 140 Day4 Energy 48MC photovoltaic modules and 4 SMA Inverters. The system incorporates sophisticated monitoring and reporting of real time data. Through funding received from a PSE Renewable Energy Education grant, students from Cascadia Community College used this data to create a digital display of both solar electricity generation and building power consumption (see live real time data). These monitoring devices make the system a great educational tool for interpreting how environmental conditions affect the system’s efficiency and performance.                                                                                                                    

Day4 Energy is headquartered and manufactured just across the border in Burnaby Canada and presented a good match for 21 Acres’ goals of:

  • Regional solar manufacturer and sustainability     
  • Showcase the latest cutting edge photovoltaic technology with Day4’s patented Electrode cells
  • Refined aesthetics with Day4’s uniform appearance
  • Best real world performance compared to traditional specification ratings, and
  • Highest quality product available for reliable performance with minimal lifespan degradation.  

     

The Day4 Electrode is the heart of the MC48 solar module, which incorporates a fundamentally new method of contacting to and interconnecting photovoltaic cells for a more homogeneous and efficient collection of electrical power within a module. This is done by replacing the traditional tab and stringing process, resulting in no solder stress along with 20-times more contact points. This, combined with their advanced encapsulation system and an additional moisture barrier protection, make for one of the most durable solar modules available.

One of the great byproducts of the Electrode technology is its refined appearance that matches 21 Acres goals of clean energyand the aesthetic appearance of their surroundings.

Not only is 21 Acres’ solar energy system consistent with their mission for a sustainable future, it is projected to offset 16% of their consumption in the first year of operation. Partnering with an experienced solar contractor has been very beneficial for 21 Acres, as evidenced by a system that exceeds expectation. The decision to partner with Sunergy Systems was made, according to Gretchen Garth, 21 Acres Board President, because of the company’s “ . . . solid reputation and when we began to look for a conscientious partner, Sunergy Systems was and continues to be a knowledgeable, enthusiastic and committed company that could service our capacity needs.”

For more information about the 21 Acres, their innovative facility, and school offerings visit their website at www.21acres.org.

Lippert Residence on Mercer Island

Al & Meg from Mercer Island placed one of the first orders for a Nissan LEAF. Wanting to make sure the all-electric vehicle was powered by truly greenenergy, they went solar at the same time. Their 16 ITEK 240 module (3.8kW) system is to produce over 3500kWhs its first year and over 100,000 over its 30-year or more life-span. Their LEAF averages around 3.6 miles per kilowatt hour. That's over 12,000 miles per year powered from the modules on their roof!

They'll also save the state of Washington the need to waste over 9000 gallons of water per year.  An NREL study of water use for electricity production shows Washington loses 2.7 gallons per kWh from evaporation at hydro power reservoirs and thermal power plants. 

The Lippert's system is a great example of clean electricity use and production; a model for world energy that has finally come of age.

October - Edmonds Community Solar Cooperative pioneers new Cooperative Solar Model

36 Snohomish County residents + 7 organizations join forces for a solar “Barn Raising”

Community Solar legislation, passed in 2009, made it possible for renters, condo owners, forest dwellers and thousand Aires to share in the triple bottom line of solar energy use. We can: reduce our carbon footprint (good for our planet), provide discounted power to the cities and schools (good for our community), and receive federal, state and utility incentives (good for our wallet).  Edmonds Community Solar Cooperative is a 100% locally owned enterprise set up to make more clean energy under Washington's Community Solar program. 

Key Stats on Edmonds Community Solar Cooperative

  • 4.2 kilowatts of Made in Washington solar equipment installed on the Frances Anderson community center in Edmonds, Washington.
  • 36 charter members each bought between $1,000 and $3,000 in SunSlicestm to launch phase one of the project.
  • 100 watts of solar power owned in each SunSlicetm holder’s name.
  • 100% of each SunSlice holder’s original purchase amount is expected to be returned out of the project’s revenue from energy production.
  • One of the first Citizen-owned Solar Energy Cooperatives in the United States.
  • 4 City Council meetings attended to educate community leaders about the costs and benefits of community solar.
  • 3 days for Sunergy to construct the system (on time and under budget.)
  • 30 media mentions worldwide for this groundbreaking project – from Edmonds all the way to Germany.

How we got here

In spring of 2010, Sustainable Edmonds began investigating the possibility of installing community-owned solar arrays in their town. In particular, Chris Herman, owner of Winter Sun Design and a longtime solar activist, led the determined charge that made this project happen. Along with Mark Mays, an engineer at Outback Power Systems, Chris worked with City of Edmonds to identify appropriate sites for rooftop solar and received preliminary approval from Edmonds City Council to lease roof space. The site chosen was the Frances Anderson Center, a longtime community institution hosting the arts, recreation, and special events for the surrounding area which would provide great visibility to the community solar array.  Sustainable Edmonds wanted this project to be open to EVERYONE in the community. After consulting with Tangerine Power, a Seattle solar developer, they settled on a Cooperative form of shared ownership for the solar array they were going to construct. The Cooperative allows people of modest means to band together in unlimited numbers to fund solar power in their community. Edmonds Community Solar Cooperative was established in December 2010 for this purpose. As we developed the project, we heard a lot of fears and concerns that the proposed solar array didn’t make sense for the City of Edmonds.  

Here are some of the ways we addressed those concerns and completed the project.

They told us “Solar is best delivered by big development companies”.  To meet the challenge of building a municipal-scale solar array, we built an all-star team of local small businesses: 

  • Tangerine Power (One of the first Community Solar Developers in Washington)
  • Sunergy Systems (The top volume installer in Washington)
  • Silicon Energy (The first certified Solar Module and Inverter maker in Washington, HQ'd right in Snohomish County)
  • Lloyd Lynch Construction (Original installer of the Frances Anderson Center Roof).
  • Mark Codispoti, PE (Delivered a thorough report demonstrating how the roof can hold the weight of the panels.)

They told us “Solar is too expensive”. While solar is still often seen as an upscale purchase, we pooled our money in affordable $1,000 chunks called SunSlicestm to reduce the cost of going solar for any one person.  We found support for the array within our own community:  PCC Natural Markets, Edmonds Unitarian Universalist Church, and 36 individuals each bought one or more SunSlicestm to fund Phase I of this project to completion. Each of these members will share in energy payments and incentive payments from the state and federal government.

 

They told us “Solar is a bad deal for local government.” Actually, the Cooperative’s agreement with the City of Edmonds will save them money on all solar-generated energy they use from the day the system is flipped on. 

They told us “Solar will void our roof warrantee.”   We worked with Lloyd Lynch Construction and Soprema, the roofing material manufacturer, to put down protective pads under the solar array. We also built the first ballasted solar system in Edmonds to eliminate the need for roof penetrations.  They told us “Solar is incompatible with historic property.” We earned the trust of the Edmonds Historic Preservation board, who agreed with our argument that part of historical preservation is keeping a building functional and relevant into the new century.

Next Steps

The phase one solar array began making clean power for the City of Edmonds in September. There is plenty more room on the roof to install solar now that the basic groundwork is done. Edmonds Community Solar Cooperative will open phase 2 of the Frances Anderson Center project to new members throughout Snohomish County in late October 2011. Breaking news on the project is always available at www.tangerinepower.com/edmonds.