Category: Solar Panels

SolarWorld Americas Sheds Some Light On Company Status

SolarWorld Americas Sheds Some Light On Company Status

Some of our readers may have heard that SolarWorld was facing some financial trouble in May 2017. While that is true, and some difficult decisions had to be made by the company at an international level, rest assured, SolarWorld is still with us in the form of SolarWorld Americas.

SolarWorld Americas, based in Portland, Oregon, strived to pick up the slack from its German home company and continue the tradition of providing the highest quality crystalline-silicon photovoltaic panels and solar power systems on the market, retaining a standard of excellence even in the face of stiff competition from overseas manufacturers.

The 42-year-old solar company aims to improve its services immediately with the introduction of dual-warranty protection. A little extra peace of mind at no added cost, the Dual Warranty plan goes into effect immediately in the event the original warranty can no longer be supported (due to expiration, invalidation, etc.). This provides an extra layer of protection guaranteed on your expensive solar equipment, so you can worry less and enjoy the summer weather more.

This new package, dubbed SolarWorld Assurance, offers these protections with zero premiums, zero deductibles, and transferable policy ownership – you, the customer control the policy with no strings attached. In the wake of the parent company’s insolvency, this shows SolarWorld Americas sending a clear message: quality matters, the customer is king, and they intend to keep American-made solar coming for a long while yet.

Dual Warranty SolarWorld With Wholesale Solar

This shows SolarWorld Americas sending a clear message: quality matters, the customer is king, and they intend to keep American-made solar coming for a long while yet.

So what does this have to do with Wholesale Solar? Well, SolarWorld’s Dual Warranty is 3rd-Party backed and guaranteed, meaning we get to offer it when we sell you solar power systems featuring SolarWorld products – such as our 4th of July Free Shipping offer! We always help our customers ensure their warranty info is filed with the manufacturer and guaranteed to be honored, so this new SolarWorld Assurance policy provides a new level of customer confidence, offering peace of mind at the perfect price: free.

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Install of the Month – September 2016

Install of the Month – September 2016

 

Rolling the Meter Back with Joe P.

This month’s Install of the Month honor goes to Joe P., who we think completely embodies the DIY solar spirit. The self-described “tool guy,” who’s also a retired builder, aerospace engineer, and boilermaker, has always loved to build his own stuff and has been doing so since junior high. A solar ground mount array that would cover his home’s energy needs and roll his meter backwards was just the kind of project Joe was looking for.

Helping him take his project from idea to reality was sales tech Jeff B., who gives us his perspective on Joe’s install. “Joe called in May with a desire to cover his household load with a solar electric system. After discussing his household needs, which were around 1000 kilowatt hours per month, we settled on a 20 panel ground mounted system with the SMA Sunny Boy 7000 inverter.” Jeff said that to ensure all of Joe’s usage needs were covered, “A couple of extra panels would need to be added on as well.” Working together, they fleshed out the rest of the build. Jeff explains, “The SMA inverter was selected because of its high quality construction, and the fact that in the future it can be coupled with a battery based inverter so he can add battery backup in the future.”

Two months from the date of his purchase, Joe had an inspected and fully functioning PV system providing power to his house! – Sales tech Jeff B.

“Joe has plenty of construction experience,” Jeff added, “So building the ground mount was no big deal. When it came to the electrical side of the installation, Joe had a lot of questions.” But Jeff was there for him. “Through a series of phone calls and emails, we got to a place where he had everything installed and was ready for inspection. The inspector showed up at his place and could find nothing wrong with his system. Two months from the date of his purchase, Joe had an inspected and fully functioning PV system providing power to his house!”

 

Components in Joe’s System

 

Interview with Joe

What was your primary reason for adding solar to your home?

Electricity and all power isn’t getting any cheaper. I had the cash sitting in the the bank drawing low interest, and this investment pays way better than savings. And after the initial ROI where it pays for itself, it basically starts paying me.

After the initial ROI where it pays for itself, it basically starts paying me. – Joe P.

How long was the full installation process from receiving your equipment to flipping the switch? How many people did it take?

I talked with you for three to four weeks about various scenarios using different inverters and the advantages of each. My purchase was delayed due to lots of rain and bad weather. I sent payment on June 17th and the system shipped the following week. By the time it arrived the following Friday, I had the posts set for the ground mount and the inverter and disconnect mount installed. The rack and panels were installed by Saturday afternoon, as I didn’t want them sitting on the ground. I installed the conduit and wiring between the ground mount and inverter mount at my leisure.

I had one minor setback in the form of a 1965 breaker box that was in bad shape and had to be replaced in order to tie in the PV system. The rest of the work was completed over the next few weeks and actually finished by the middle of July. I contacted the co-op and they did final inspection and installed the NetMeter on August 1st. Even with the overcast and rainy weather here the last few days, the system is running right on the prediction to cover 90-95 percent of my electric bill in its first two weeks of operation.

All of the work was done by myself and my son who is on summer break from college. I had one master electrician and his apprentice available for advice, but did the actual work myself.

 Did you have any previous construction experience?

I have worked as a boilermaker working on power plants for a few years. I also built custom houses for a short while, then transitioned into aerospace engineering and retired after 29 years there.

What was the most confusing or difficult part of the installation?

The actual install and hands-on part of the project was very easy and straightforward. That’s one of the advantages of dealing with a professional company: the parts are all there, they work in unison, and there is no guesswork. The site plan for the ground mount and the wiring harness diagrams spelled everything out. The most confusing part, believe it or not, was the labeling requirements and placement. There are many, many examples and I had to pick and choose between which part of which document I used.

Were there any unforeseen additional parts or tools you needed?

I’m a tool guy. I had everything tool-wise except a crimper for  the MC4 connectors… and I probably have over a dozen different crimpers. I didn’t really need one and could have done without it, but wanted bulkhead plugs at my junction box. So I bought some connectors and a crimper to make it prettier. After having so much fun with this one, I know I will be doing more so it will come in handy down the road.

How/Why did you choose to self-install?

I’ve always built my toys since I learned to in junior high! I have been studying solar and wind for a long, long time. The ROI finally shifted in my favor and I could make it happen quicker by doing all the work myself.  I did a lot of research and even checked with your competition before I settled on Wholesale Solar. Most of the other places wanted your whole life history before they even discuss prices, and none of their prices are listed. Most of the information I wanted was listed on your site with prices and a list, so you knew what you were getting up front. Any and all questions were answered quickly and intelligently.

Install of the Month – August 2016

Install of the Month – August 2016

Coming directly from our System Design and Salesperson Todd E.:

“This month’s Install of the Month has to be my favorite yet! I really love the Craftsman styling of the home, it is not a Tiny Home, but has similar qualities with its efficient design aesthetics.”

“Gary had electrical needs very similar to my own home, so the system design was very easy. What is really the stand out feature of this system is the ability to run his mini split Panasonic Air Conditioner! Gary even sent a photo of his Magnum ME-ARC showing his system putting 24 amps into his battery bank while running that AC unit, and doing laundry. Amazing.”

“This system has 15 Astronergy 255 watt panels (current model 260 watt), a single Four Star Solar Magnum MS4448PAE power center, with a Midnite Classic 150 charge controller.
He has 16 Rolls Surrette L16 batteries for a total of 800 amp hours at 48 volts. That is roughly 12 kWh of power per “reasonable” cycle. The panels were mounted to his comp shingle roof using Quick Mount flashings and IronRidge XR100 racking.”

“Gary made his own battery box out of Hardieplank cement board siding. Smart choice, its fireproof! I reminded him that his battery cable conduit run should be lower than his battery box vents so that the hydrogen gas does not flow right up to the inverter. Hydrogen naturally rises and needs to exit the battery box, but you need to keep it away from your sensitive electronics. [Editorial Note: Lead acid batteries need to be vented because the chemical reaction releases gases as water molecules are split into hydrogen and oxygen. Read more about battery maintenance.]”

“This medium size system is the most popular one I sell. It will easily provide typical energy needs for a family of 2-4 people as long as you put the high energy demand items on propane, things like the water heater (on demand propane heaters are great!) clothes dryer, kitchen stove, and space heating. For an investment of under $20 grand, he now lives where he wants and is not tethered to the power company, does not have to worry about black outs, or disconnection notices for late payments. Once you go off grid, YOU are in charge. Off grid property is almost always a much better deal (read CHEAP LAND) and therefore leaves you money to build your house and buy your solar. Your property taxes are generally lower due to the low purchase price of the property. It’s a win win, as long as you don’t mind the lack of neighbors.”

“Thanks for sharing your project / vision with us Gary! Job well done!”

System Components in Gary W’s Solar Install:

We don’t get a lot of rain or cloudy days here, but I’ve only had to crank up the generator once since we got the solar system up and running, and that includes electric use by the contractors. – Gary W.

Interview with Gary W.

How long was the full installation process from receiving your equipment to flipping the switch? How many people did it take?

Took a day to install the panels; two guys on the roof, two on the ground. I installed the power center and wired up the batteries, and the electricians did the hardwiring. One day and one guy each. Actual time from delivery to switch-on was a few months, but that was because we were building the house.

Did you have any previous construction experience?

Nothing like this. I had a million questions for Todd.

What was the most confusing or difficult part of the installation?

Now that I know how, it would be a snap. It was difficult because I had no experience or knowledge of the parts or connections. I wish systems came with a simple install manual, but Todd tells me that such an instruction set would be difficult to come up with since there are so many variables. So you just buy the stuff and ask questions, and before you know it, you’re an “expert!”

Were there any unforeseen additional parts or tools you needed?

Nope.

How/Why did you choose to self-install?

Probably the same reason everyone does: money. Also, being out in the boondocks didn’t keep the delivery truck from coming, but it might have made it hard to get an installation company to come out here, 60 miles from the city.

What was your primary reason for adding solar to your home?

No choice. No power lines nearby, and the electric company told me each pole would cost me $10,000. I’m so happy I went solar – with free energy handed out by the sun every day, it’s a no-brainer.

Living literally in the shadow of the Power Link, I am off the grid. No power lines, water, gas, or cable come to my property.

I read on the Wholesale Solar site that “To capture the maximum amount of solar radiation over the course of a year, a solar array should be tilted at an angle approximately equal to a site’s latitude, and facing 15 degrees of due south.” With this in mind, I oriented the house exactly south and specified an 8/12 pitch roof. The latitude of Campo California is 32.6°, and the 8/12 roof is 33.7°. That’s as close as I could get for a fixed roof mount array.

With just the AC running, I’m putting about 35 amps into the batteries, which are usually at 100 percent by about mid-day. I also have a one horse well pump and a one-horse pressure pump, but I have the well pump on a timer to only come on in the middle of the night to top off my 5000 storage tank. That’s to avoid an unexpected surge when I’m using a lot of power for other things. Too big a surge can shut down the system, but it only requires the push of a button to restart.

We don’t get a lot of rain or cloudy days here, but I’ve only had to crank up the generator once since we got the solar system up and running, and that includes electric use by the contractors. I couldn’t be happier with my system and the fact that all this free energy falls on my house every day. Thanks to Wholesale Solar and especially Todd for all the help, advice, and encouragement (not to mention great equipment) that made my little homestead possible.

Install of the Month – June 2016

Install of the Month – June 2016

Greetings Solar Fans, and welcome to the Wholesale Solar’s Install of the Month for June 2016. This incredible install is brought to you from the great state of Massachusetts. With the generous net metering policy, Solar Renewable Energy Credit incentive program, and 30% federal tax discount, Seth certainly installed at the right time!

Seth F purchased a 11.88kW Suniva/SolarEdge System utilizing 36 of the Suniva 330 Watt panels and one 11.4kW SolarEdge Inverter. (We’ve since modified that system to be an 13.6 kW Grid‑Tied Solar System with SolarEdge and 40x Suniva 340 Watt Panels) Although it’s simpler for us, and easier for you to use one of pre-packaged complete solar systems we can easily modify them to meet whatever roofing limitations, HOA requirements or permit requirements you might have.

The solar tech that helped Seth F put together his system was our very own Jeremy A. He reassured Seth that even though he was going on vacation before the install, Seth had the entire Wholesale Solar team behind him and we would be there for any questions or support he needed. They went over a number of different systems and what Seth’s requirements were and the system that was purchased was actually Jeremy’s first suggestion to the customer (What can we say, we know what we’re talking about!). Knowing that this is one of the highest value systems that we keep in stock he also knew that we have a ton of successful installs for the system under our belt and would be able to help Seth in any way he needed.

Even though it took more than a year to work out the details and ship the system to the customer, Jeremy said Seth was a real pleasure to work with and enjoyed how Seth was always looking forward to the next step.

Components In Seth F’s System

Interview with Seth F

How long was the full installation process from receiving your equipment to flipping the switch? How many people did it take?

The actual physical install took me (and two good friends) basically two weekends, with bits an bops during the week. After the install, the inspections and the meter swap took about two more weeks. The permitting and state approval took the most time, about 2 months. [Editorial: bet he wishes he’d gotten the SolarPro Pack to help with permitting!] I had two friends help me one at a time. I sat on the equipment for two months before actually starting the install.

Did you have any previous construction experience?

No professional construction experience but I’m a Ship’s Engineer by trade so I can figure most things out and I’m decent with my hands.

What was the most confusing or difficult part of the installation?

Installing the mounts and securing the panels so they were level and square.

Were there any unforeseen additional parts or tools you needed?

The electrical inspector pinged us on the labels. I had to order a much larger label kit. I purchased a pvc conduit bender to make it look clean. [Editorial: We recommend PVlabels.com for your one stop shop for labels, stickers and placards.]

How/Why did you choose to self-install?

Much cheaper than hiring someone to do it

What was your primary reason for adding solar to your home?

To reduce my electric bill and carbon foot print


Congratulations Seth on the successful install and incredible home from all of us here at Wholesale Solar!

Install of the Month – May 2016

Install of the Month – May 2016

Having previously worked as an electrician on residential and light commercial as well as automation design and wiring, Chris D was comfortable in wanting to install his grid-tie system.

Since I love to build things, it wasn’t even a consideration to have someone else install my system” said Chris. “I’m pretty strong in the do-it-yourself category so, although the installation was work, it felt fairly easy to me.

Working with one of our Sales Technicians, Anna H, Chris was able to get the best deal on his system.

Chris was clearly prepared when he first called, having done research into what it would take to complete a DIY solar project. He was particularly excited about the expected return on investment!

System Details

Chris’s system was purchased as a complete solar package. Utilizing 24 Astronergy 260w solar panels and SolarEdge optimizers feeding a SolarEdge SE6000A-US inverter, the array is rated at 6.24 kilowatts with a potential output of 848 kWh per month. Purchasing the system while on sale, Chris saved nearly $1,000 on shipping charges alone.

The Installation

From the initial planning phases to “flipping the switch”, the entire process took approximately three months. According to Chris, the most most confusing part of the installation was creating the plans and understanding how to represent the DC circuit and SolarEdge optimizers on the one-line diagram. Through some internet searching, Chris was able to find examples on the SolarEdge website.

Unfortunately, these type of time-consuming setback aren’t unique to Chris’ installation, especially when it comes to preparing permit documentation. Recognizing these obstacles, Wholesale Solar can now produce all this documentation for you through our revolutionary new Solar ProPack™ service. (Sorry we didn’t get it out in time for your install Chris!).

After receiving his equipment, Chris installed everything in his free time over a period of five weeks. All in all, the installation went smoothly. However, mounting the back-board for his panel and inverter required setting anchor bolts in concrete.

A hammer drill was the only tool I didn’t already have but was able to borrow one for the project.  Of course there was all the miscellaneous conduit, fittings and connectors, but nothing unexpected.

When asked why he decided to go the DIY route with his grid-tie system, Chris stated:

The first, last and only reason I put solar on my home is that the financial investment of self-installing solar has an internal rate of return of at least 15% over 20 years based on my personal investment and 20 year forecasted electrical costs. There’s no investment available anywhere that will earn that kind of return.

Kudos to Chris for putting together a great looking system. We think his pictures say it all, particularly the one showing his nearly obsolete power bill. =)

Solar ProPack
Solar ProPack Design and Permitting Service

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Winter Maintenance Tips for Solar Systems

Winter Maintenance Tips for Solar Systems

Preparing Solar System for Winter

In January 2015, the East Coast was pummeled with a winter storm dubbed “Snowpocalypse,” and another winter is just around the corner. Winters are the most demanding time for solar power systems. In addition to the inclement weather issues we discuss below, people generally spend more time indoors using more electricity—especially those with electric heating.

However, if you take the proper precautions, you can be sure your solar energy system will function properly even during the harshest winter weather.

Your solar system doesn’t require any additional maintenance to run smoothly in snowy weather, but it may require your attention more frequently. Keep these simple tips in mind to keep your system operating safely all winter long.

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Solar-Powered Airplane on Round-the-World Flight

Solar-Powered Airplane on Round-the-World Flight

Screen Shot 2015-06-30 at 2.18.33 PMThe Solar Impulse, a solar-powered airplane currently circumnavigating the globe, is now almost halfway between Japan and Hawaii on a 120-hour segment. Once it reaches Hawaii, it’ll have completed the longest leg of its 22,000-mile journey across the world — all on solar power! Progress is updated in real-time, with a live video feed, on their website: https://www.solarimpulse.com/

Screen Shot 2015-06-30 at 2.20.47 PM

Charging by day and running off battery power at night, pilots Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg take turns at the helm. A variety of systems monitor everything from avionics to solar equipment to the pilots’ food, water, and oxygen rations.

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“Pallet Specials” Offer a Price Break on Going Solar

“Pallet Specials” Offer a Price Break on Going Solar

Pallet Special. Get better than pallet pricing on Grid-tied Solar Power Systems. Wholesale Solar is offering a deal on their solar power systems that include full pallets of ET solar panels.  Wholesale Solar’s “Pallet Special” Grid-tie Solar Power Systems are made up of one or two full pallets of twenty-six ET solar panels and are ready to ship. Equipped with the necessary components and a wiring diagram, the pricing of the solar panels in these systems is lower than their already low pallet pricing, Racking is not included but can be estimated at $65 to $75 per solar panel for a basic mounting solution.

“Pallet Special” Grid-tie Solar Power System packages are available in three technologies: SolarEdge, Microinverter and the more traditional, and usually more cost effective, centralized inverter.  Systems either include 245-watt or 300-watt ET solar panels.

View “Pallet Special” Solar Power Systems here.

 

93 Cents Per Watt Sale – The Best Sale So Far This Year

93 Cents Per Watt Sale – The Best Sale So Far This Year

93 cents per watt sale on black-framed 245-watt solar panels.
Quality black-framed ET solar panels on sale.

ET Solar 245-watt polycrystalline ET-P660245B solar panels are now available for 93 cents per watt when you buy a pallet of 26. Complete pallets are available at $5,924.00. Single panels are available at $258.

This ET-660245B solar panel is one of the best out in the solar market right now. Photon’s international performance test proves it.  ET 660 series solar outperformed other named brand polycrystalline solar panels in like conditions.

These panels also have the more sought after black frames.

Read more about this solar panel.

Green Gifts for the Holidays

Green Gifts for the Holidays

Holiday Gift IdeasDo you want to see how solar works first hand or teach the basics of solar to your kids? Are you looking for a useful, affordable and fun gift for someone you know? Check out these solar-powered shed lights, desk lamps and lanterns with 1.5 watts to 10-watt solar panels. They range from $25 to $170.

If you’re looking for a gift for someone who is really ready to get started with solar, check out this  solar starter kit for grid-tied applications. You’ll also be interested in small off-grid solar packages or RV/Boat kits.

Here’s Wholesale Solar’s list of gift ideas.