A Multifamily PV Project at Ecovillage at Ithaca: Page 5 of 5

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Ecovillage at Ithaca
Ecovillage at Ithaca
A PV array at Ecovillage
A PV array at Ecovillage
Ecovillage has a car-free zone between the rows of townhouses.
One of the design elements of the Ecovillage was the creation of a car-free zone between the rows of townhouses.
A 6 kW solar-electric system on the common house.
The common house’s south-facing roof already showcased a 6 kW PV system.
Ground-mounted PV arrays away from the village allows for full sunlight.
Ground-mounting away from the village allows the PV arrays to receive full sunlight and allows each home in the Ecovillage to receive equal portions of credit for the energy.
Tricky roofs and lack of individual ownership can complicate adding a PV system to multifamily buildings.
Tricky roofs and lack of individual ownership can complicate adding a PV system to multifamily buildings.
The EKM meters monitor the electricity consumption of each residence.
The EKM meters monitor the electricity consumption of each residence.
One of two power walls.
One of two power walls, which include performance metering, disconnects, the inverters, and the members’ consumption meters.
The second power wall.
The second power wall. Each power wall holds the inverters for two of the neighborhood quadrants, with one set of AC outputs going underground to feed the remote quadrant.
The Sunny WebBox is the communications hub between the inverter data and the Internet
The Sunny WebBox is the communications hub between the inverter data and the Internet, so that users have online access to monitor the PV system remotely.
Residents celebrate the new 50 kW PV system.
Residents celebrate the new 50 kW PV system.
Ecovillage at Ithaca
A PV array at Ecovillage
Ecovillage has a car-free zone between the rows of townhouses.
A 6 kW solar-electric system on the common house.
Ground-mounted PV arrays away from the village allows for full sunlight.
Tricky roofs and lack of individual ownership can complicate adding a PV system to multifamily buildings.
The EKM meters monitor the electricity consumption of each residence.
One of two power walls.
The second power wall.
The Sunny WebBox is the communications hub between the inverter data and the Internet
Residents celebrate the new 50 kW PV system.

Benefits

This project has many benefits for our community. The system has been paying for itself from day one. For the 15-year life of the loan, our neighborhood gets more than 50% of our electricity from a local, carbon-free source at utility rates. After the loan is paid, our utility bills will drop by more than half for the system’s lifetime. At no point will we pay extra for having a PV system. In addition, the interest from the loans remains among neighbors, helping community families rather than disappearing into the corporate financial system.

Our residents also have new tools to monitor electricity use, which numerous studies have shown can lead to energy savings approaching 10%. We can also track changes over time, allowing us to evaluate the effects of investments in more-efficient appliances and lighting, or behavioral changes.

There are also less tangible benefits. We learned that everyday people can come together to respond in an active way to the problems of living on a finite planet. We don’t have to wait for others to provide solutions.

Now, when the sun shines, we feel something more than its warmth on our faces. We’re also aware that it’s powering our homes, cooking our food, running our computers, and even spreading over the grid to feed clean energy to others, while putting a little change in our pockets. By tapping the sun’s ongoing daily flow, rather than further drawing down nonrenewable stores, it feels like we’re on a more robust path than before. And that may be the biggest benefit of all.

Access

Jeff Gilmore is a former computer engineer with a long-time interest in renewable energy and community projects. He currently helps manage a variety of technology projects at Ecovillage at Ithaca, where he lives with his wife and three sons.

Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE) • dsireusa.org

Ecovillage at Ithaca • ecovillageithaca.org

Hayes Electric • 607-279-6964

PVWatts • nrel.gov/rredc/pvwatts

PV System Components:

EKM Metering • ekmmetering.com • Smart metering

RBI Solar • rbisolar.com • Racking

SMA America • sma-america.com • Inverters

Trina Solar • trinasolar.com • PV modules

Comments (1)

Dzhafer Mekhmed's picture

Principled action of inventions that will change the world and
scientific article on how to create electricity: www.eco-energysource.com

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