2012 National Solar Tour

Join the Nation Solar Tour by visiting the solar locations in and around Ypsilanti Michigan. SolarYpsi.org is organizing this year’s tour with eight solar installation within walking distance of each other in the City of Ypsilanti, and several more a short ride away. All sites are listed on the SolarYpsi.org website with details about each installation. We suggest visitors start their tour at 403 South Huron as they enter Ypsilanti from I94 (exit 183). Then stop at City Hall, 1 South Huron, where Dave Strenski will be giving continuous solar talks and answering questions about solar power. From there head over to 312 North River where you will learn about three installations on their roof: Ypsilanti Food Cooperative 2.3KW system, the River Street Bakery , and the Ypsilanti Food Cooperative 4.0KW system. Then visit Adams School at 503 East Oak Street to see a solar awning installation on the side of the school. If you need a WiFi connection during the tour, stop by Frog Island Park , at 600 Market Place where there is a solar power WirelessYpsi free WiFi hot spot. Then end your tour at the Corner Brewery where they have a very large installation of Detroit made PowerPanels . They will have a special solar beer on tap, Green Giant Organic Imperial Pilsner, and presentations from PowerPanel at 12:00 and 2:00 and local solar installer John Wakeman talking about the 25 by 25 legislation at 1:00. Don’t forget to also visit the other solar installations at 6232 Munger Road and 2114 Windmill Way either before or after you visit the City of Ypsilanti, a “Solar Destination”.

Solar Performance of 403 S. Huron for the Past Year

Kevin Krzyzanski the owner of 403 S. Huron sent me this note the other day about the solar performance at his rental.

Overall, I am thrilled with the performance of my system. The roof panels outperformed the carport panels by 37% for two obvious reasons — tilt and shading. However, having the microinverters in the back definitely minimized the impact of the shading and has proven to be a good choice in that regard.

Overall, the system generated around 12,900kWh in its first full year of operation. That equates to a little over 35kWh per day. It also means that, even with the shading issues, I received around 65% of the power (in AC) that the array was capable of (in DC). The numbers are skewed, however, due to the size of the carport array. The rooftop panels actually converted 92% of their expected DC power into AC power, which was very much in line with what the installers had told me the microinverters were capable of.

The overall energy was lower than anticipated (again, due to the slightly lower output of the carport array versus the anticipated totals) but after a full year of actual numbers, my payback has only adjusted from 5-6 years to 7-8 years, still a very quick ROI.

One thing of note for your personal knowledge bank — my 55 panel array was only completely up for a total of 60-80 days. The rest of the time, *at least* one microinverter was down. EnPhase was quick to send out replacements and my installer was quick to do the swap. But I had 6 of the 55 inverters fail at one point or another. I’m hopeful that Enphase gets the bugs out in the next few years while I’m still under warranty but it’s definitely something that I felt you should know about. Reliability with the Enphase microinverters could be an issue.

Hopefully with the failing EnPhase microinverters out of the system, he’ll be making more power next year.