MAILBOX: PV System Salvage

A salvaged PV system finds new life.

I wanted to let you know about a change we made earlier this year to the solar-electric system on our home. There has been a lot of commercial development in our area, to say the least. I noticed one of the buildings slated for demolition had a recently installed array of solar panels. I took down information about the developer and after six months of pursuing him through four contact references, I was able to get salvage rights for the system from the demolition contractor. I arranged for a local solar contractor to remove and reinstall it at our house. Our old system came off and the new system, with 5.4 kW of capacity and a larger inverter, was installed. It is pumping out more electricity than we use in a year, more than compensating for the addition of our Nissan Leaf EV. Below is a view of the new PV array layout.

I am working with my neighborhood association to incorporate the old system—3.5 kW of Sanyo PV modules and a 3.0 kW Sunny Boy transformerless inverter—into a new shelter to be built as part of a landscape rework. AC power from the inverter will feed into the association’s electrical system in grid-tied mode, and supply up to 1,500 watts of offline backup power during daylight hours for use by the local emergency response communication hub designated to assemble at the facility in the event of a disaster.

Jack Herndon • Seattle, WA

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