Installing Solar PV on the Olympic and Kitsap Peninsulas and Islands Since 2003
Power Trip Energy is dedicated to improving the future of our community and our state through the use of renewable energy technologies. We specialize in the design and installation of grid-tied PV systems on the Olympic and Kitsap Peninsulas, and have installed over 2 MW of grid-tied pv on over 400 homes and small businesses since 2003. Call us for the finest renewable energy technologies to help you reduce your energy usage by harvesting the free and abundant solar energy that surrounds us.
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The third quarter of this year was a high water mark for us, and our success matches the nation-wide trend. For our part, in our little corner of the world, we installed 168 KW of residential pv in the third quarter. This is equal to the amount of pv we installed in our first 4-1/2 years, from 2003 through the first half of 2007.
Nation-wide, over 300 MW of residential pv was installed in Q-3, and over 1.3 GW was installed in total, when counting the larger commercial and utility projects that came on-line.
Thanks to SEIA for keeping track!
I’ve been seeing solar window ideas for years and I am skeptical about their practicality. Check this recent article for more info http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/188667-a-fully-transparent-solar-cell-that-could-make-every-window-and-screen-a-power-source (Thank you Deanna for bringing this article to my attention.)
I’m surely open to new ideas, but here are some of the challenges I see with this idea:
1. I always wonder about wiring all the windows together and getting that electricity to the electrical service panel. It is obviously not a casual retrofit, so maybe just applicable to new construction. There are other electrical challenges that could be addressed by standardizing size and shape of the window pv modules, but possibly at the cost of some aesthetics if everybody’s home begins to have identical windows. That is not my biggest worry though.
2. They are claiming 1% efficiency currently and hoping to quintuple that to 5% eventually with this product. The leading SunPower pv modules we are installing currently are in the 20-22% efficiency range, meaning for every 1000 watts of light energy that hits the pv module, they generate about 200 watts. We are usually using the highest efficiency modules we can get because we are striving to make as much energy as possible per installation.
3. Even using the highest efficiency modules we can get, we are often limited by available roof space and can’t make as much energy as we would like. There is much less window area compared to roof area. The roof, being highest, is generally the sunniest portion of the building.
4. Windows are basically holes in our insulated buildings; even the highest tech triple pane Argon-filled windows are major heat losers here in the PNW. I wouldn’t want to see people increasing window sizes and decreasing the insulation value of the building’s envelope in order to make more electricity – that would be going backwards fast overall. And in the summer, having too much south-facing glass is the best way to require air conditioning, a huge energy load that should be unnecessary in PNW homes.
After 12 years installing pv, and seeing so many new solar innovations announced without coming to fruition, I have become convinced that until we put standard pv modules (currently available and fairly inexpensive) on every sunny roof, products like solar windows are solving a problem that does not exist.
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“To all the employees of Power Trip Energy! Thanks for the awesome solar installation, you have motivated me to save more energy and promote solar power even more.”Kevin Koski - Bremerton, WA.
“By generating our own clean electricity, our family is reducing air pollution while being energy independent. And we’re doing it now so that our children can inherit a better world.”Stuart MacRobbie - Sequim, WA
“It’s been great to work with you all, from the office support to the sales staff, all the way through the electricians and the guys on the job. We couldn’t ask for more!”Susan and Ernie Kroll