150-Panel Inspection Helps School Go Solar

By Kristi Brodd | August 19, 2015

A private Pre-K–12 school in central North Carolina recently received a unique donation: 240 solar photovoltaic (PV) panels. The 435-watt panels had potentially been damaged in a severe storm, so the school wanted to verify that they could be used to generate solar energy. Advanced Energy’s solar team worked with a local solar contractor to test the panels during a half-day assessment at the school.

Spotlight_Solar_sandy_grove-3285-crop

Utilizing a state-of-the-art PV Analyzer, the team took voltage and current measurements at 500 different points to generate performance curves for many of the PV modules.

“Measuring how the module is performing compared to expected generation under actual weather conditions is very important in designing and evaluating solar PV systems,” said Shawn Fitzpatrick, energy engineer at Advanced Energy. “Using the PV Analyzer, we are able to determine which of the panels are still viable to use in a system.”

“We were able to test 151 panels during our assessment time, and most all of the panels were usable,” commented Staci Haggis, energy consultant at Advanced Energy. “While a few had damaged connectors, overall the panels are in excellent operating condition.”

Other schools, businesses and residences wishing to install solar PV panels should take the time to have design drawings reviewed, request site evaluations and ensure code compliance issues and system modifications are accurate and up to date. Our qualified team identifies items that are critical to your system’s safety as well as best practices for optimal performance. We can also work with you to evaluate locations to determine the technical feasibility of a potential PV system and provide independent engineer certification of as-built PV system operation and asset configuration.