E3 Innovate & LightWave Solar: Partners in Creating a High Performing Home

This video features E3 INNOVATE and LightWave Solar working together to provide a comprehensive energy makeover for local homeowners. LightWave Solar installed solar panels to provide 85% of their energy needs, and E3 provided spray foam insulation, air leaking sealing, bathroom ventilation and other services to bridge the remaining energy consumption gap. These services will improve the energy savings, health, durability and comfort of their home.

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Where We’ll Be in December 2012

Open House Lunch & Learn on Dec 14: “How Solar Can Work for Your Business”

LightWave Solar is hosting a free lunch & learn to explain the benefits of adding solar photovoltaics (PV) to a business. We will cover TVA’s new solar incentive program and provide an overview of the available tax incentives. Homeowners and others are welcome to attend, too.

Friday, December 14 from 12-1pm.  Lunch provided!
LightWave Solar’s Office & Warehouse
3026 Owen Drive, Suite 104
Antioch, TN 37013

The event is free and open to the public. Please RSVP to Grace Robertson at grobertson@lightwavesolar.com or call 615-641-4050 x104.

Lunch & Learn in Sevierville on Dec 14: “How Solar Can Work for Your Home or Business”

LightWave Solar is hosting a free lunch & learn to explain the benefits of adding solar photovoltaics (PV) to your home or business. We will cover TVA’s new solar incentive program and the other financial benefits of adding solar to a home or business, including an overview of the available tax incentives.

Friday, December 14 from 12-1pm. Lunch provided!
Sevierville Civic Center in the Council Hall Room
200 Gary Wade Blvd
Sevierville, TN 37862

The event is free and open to the public. Please RSVP to Alexis Close at aclose@lightwavesolar.com or call 423-737-0151.

Lunch & Learn in Memphis on Dec 14: “How Solar Can Work for Your Home or Business”

LightWave Solar is hosting a free lunch & learn to explain the benefits of adding solar photovoltaics (PV) to your home or business. We will cover TVA’s new solar incentive program and the other financial benefits of adding solar to a home or business, including an overview of the available tax incentives.

Friday, December 14 from 12-1pm. Lunch provided!
River Tower at South Bluffs Clubhouse
655 Riverside Drive
Memphis, TN 38103

The event is free and open to the public.

Please RSVP to Grace Robertson at grobertson@lightwavesolar.com or call 615-641-4050 x104.

Back to the Basics: AC Modules and DC Modules

AC Modules

One of the newest technologies on the solar market are AC modules (or AC panels).  These are solar modules with microinverters already mounted on the back. Although they cost more, AC modules can be a great solar option for sites with shading and/or irregularly shaped roofs.

Here’s how it works: Standard DC modules are connected in series to make one or more strings that feed into one or more inverters.  Shading on one panel can affect the production of other unshaded panels in the same string.  With AC modules, however, an inverter is mounted on each module, so shading on one module will not affect the output of other unshaded modules.  For example, a tree might create shade on a single panel, and typically that obstruction would affect the output of the entire series-string of panels. With AC modules, the shade would reduce solar output for only the shaded panel(s).

Since AC modules are not constrained to stringing requirements, they can be added in any number to improve aesthetics and fully utilize roof space.

AC panels use what is called Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) on a panel level, whereas string inverters use MPPT at the string level. Panel level MPPT extracts the maximum power from each module in the array and provides energy production insight that was once previously unavailable. Online monitoring with AC modules allows us to monitor the output production of each panel.

Sharp and SunPower AC modules come with 25 year warranties, versus the typical 10 year warranty for string inverters.  Other advantages include a reduction of hardware and installation time. One drawback is that there are more units to fail.  The part is warrantied, but the service would be an additional cost to the system owner.

“AC modules make a lot of sense in some situations,” says solar sales consultant JP Plumlee.  “It’s an advanced technology that is made for roofs with less than ideal solar conditions.”

LightWave Solar currently has three customers who have chosen to use AC panels, and their installations are underway.