Northland Arboretum’s Solar Energy
Partly funded with financing awarded through the DNR Solar Energy Legacy Grant, the Arboretum installed a 9.87 kilowatt solar electric panel array (photovoltaics). Also installed was a real time, touch screen kiosk thanks to a grant from CERTS -Clean Energy Resourse Teams. Monitoring is done using software that merges energy cost data (usage) with solar production data (output). This monitor / kiosk creates an interactive exhibit in the lobby of the Arboretum’s Visitor Center designed to educate viewers about the value of energy conservation.
Power created by the panels that is not used by the Arb is sent to the community power grid and credited to the Arb by the power company.
Innovative Power Systems installed the hardware which include Enphase Energy microinverters that connect to each individual PV modules and perform maximum power point tracking (MPPT) and DC-to-AC power conversion.
Installation is simple with a built-in cable that connects microinverters end-to-end to form an AC branch circuit.
Monitoring of the array is through software called Enlighten also by Enphase Energy.
The Enlighten monitoring software provides an unprecedented level of intelligence to solar power system owners and installers.
Unlike conventional monitoring systems, which only monitor the inverter, Enlighten is continuously monitoring the health and performance of every solar module and Enphase microinverter in the array.
Enlighten's web-based analytics will identify and alert owners and installers to any deviation in performance, allowing for quick and hassle-free maintenance.
Before Innovative Power Systems installed the array they first conducted a solar site evaluation to measure all roof areas, conducted a solar shading analysis to quantify the shading on the site, determined where the balance of the systems would be located. After the solar site evaluation they provided a proposal which included roof drawings, specs of all components, schematics, and costs for all options.
We have all the energy we will ever need here on earth right now. All energy for all life on earth comes from the sun, whether directly or indirectly. Our sun is only a mid-sized G2-type star in mid-cycle, but it has unbelievable power. Every minute, enough direct solar energy strikes the earth to power all human contraptions and civilizations needs for a whole year.
Every second, the sun converts 657 million tons of hydrogen into 653 tons of Helium through a process known as nuclear fusion. The other four tons of missing mass is hurled into space as heat and light.
Our tiny earth receives only about 4 pounds of the missing four tons of the suns mass/energy released every second. While that amount of energy sounds small, it means the difference between night and day, winter and summer, or life and death to all currently living things on earth.
To harmonize best with natures plan for earth, we need to use more of this plentiful solar power directly, without all the polluting by-products of the other technologies and processes now standing between us and the sun.