Solar Energy: Charging into the future with Photovoltaics
By Justin Roberts, Benoist TSM
Over the next five years the HVACR industry will see an unprecedented amount of change, including different efficiency measurements, changes in standard refrigerants, and a significant increase in construction regulations. As the rest of the trade industries look to become more efficient and reduce their carbon footprint, the HVACR industry has an equal responsibility to do so as well. One way Benoist Brothers Supply is trying to help our contractors meet these expectations is through the introduction of photovoltaics.
According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), it is estimated that the cost of solar has decreased by up to 70% in the last 10 years. This decrease in cost per kilowatt and the increased pressure to reduce the use of fossil fuels, has created a demand that the United States has not seen before. More often contractors are being asked about reducing utility cost and the incorporation of solar energy into local homes and businesses. Heating and cooling contractors have a unique opportunity to not only install the appropriate sized solar array to handle their customers’ needs, but also – because of their skill set - to evaluate the current efficiency of their customers home/business and make informed recommendations on areas of improvement.
Benoist Brothers Supply strives to be at the forefront of innovation for our industry. Introducing photovoltaics to our customers is one more way for us to meet that goal. Through our suppliers we are able to offer high quality, cost-effective solar components that meet the growing demand within our industry. Some contractors have already taken advantage of this unique opportunity and have started installing roof and ground mount solar installations.
A Benoist Case Study ...
DP Heating and Cooling recently finished up a roof mount installation consisting of 26 panels with a single inverter. Due to local restrictions the contractor was only able to install 10 kW worth of Q-Cells 400-watt panels.
The solar panels were mounted to the roof using Iron Ridge’s FlashFoot2 mounting system with their XR100 rails.
SolarEdge P505 optimizers connect all the panels together. On this installation the wires were routed through the attic and into the garage where the inverter was located next to the load center for the home.
Once all the connections were made, the system was brought online and the SolarEdge SE10000H-US inverter was powered up. A quick firmware update, along with information on panel type and arrangement, was all that was needed to get a live update on panel output and kW production for the array.
The application that SolarEdge created is a great tool for customers who like to monitor their system output or to quickly see if any maintenance is needed. The SolarEdge App monitors current output, daily output, current month output, and lifetime output of the array
In preparation of the solar array, this customer also opted to have the contractor install a Ruud 20 Seer heat pump system with gas backup. With such a substantial increase in efficiency over their existing system, they were able to get even closer to covering 100% of the home’s electrical use throughout the year.
A special thanks to Dustin Powell with DP Heating and Cooling for allowing us to work with him side-by-side on this project. We will be monitoring the production of the installation as well as the energy usage of the home. For more information on the products used on this installation or for a custom-designed system for your specific application, please contact your local Benoist Brothers Supply representative.