June 25th – Solar Array Goes Online

Engineering students Matthew Bell and Jeremy Pearman (holding meter) checking DC voltage prior to inverter startup.

Engineering students Matthew Bell and Jeremy Pearman (holding meter) checking DC voltage prior to inverter startup.

On Friday, June 25th at approximately 2:30pm (CDT) the solar array was brought online to a bright sunny day in Fayetteville. Within minutes the system ramped up to producing near 10kW of power. Many factors including clouds, temperature, and angle of the sun will cause production to flucuate. The array has a theoretical maximum output of 13.5kW and has produced as high as 13kW since the inverter was brought online.

During the previous week, the solar team installed conduit, ran the wires to each PV string and installed the combiner box on the roof. A PV string is a group of modules (solar panels) connected in series. The library’s solar installation has six of these strings. Each “string” consists of ten solar panels. Each panel can produce 225 Watts. The combiner box brings all the strings together and combines them into two wires, a positive and a negative. The library’s solar installation has six strings so there are 6 sets of positive and negative wires that combined into two. These two wires run down conduit to the electrical room and into the Solectria inverter chosen by the students. The inverter changes the direct current (DC) produced by the solar panels into alternating current  (AC) that the library can send into the utility. The inverter outputs 3-phase, 480-volt AC power.

Click here to view real-time inverter direct solar energy production.

Engineering students and professor Dr. Roy McCann (kneeling) install grounding wire.

Students and professor Dr. Roy McCann running the ground wire.

Pulling wires to the combiner box.

Pulling wires to the combiner box.

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