Pros: Estheticically pleasing
Cons: Company fails to honor warranty
BUILDING INTEGRATED SOLAR PV
· 4.3kW Atlantis Sunslates Building Integrated PV System with batterie backup
· Beacon Power M5 Inverter
· Battery Bank with 8 SunXtender sealed marine batteries
· Software monitoring with Beacon Power Software
The system was initially purchased in 2001 and consisted of 336 Siemens II Sunslates. The installation was done in the Fall of 2001 and PG&E connected it to the grid in February 2002. The M5000 inverter was able to monitor the production of the array and we realized in 2004 that the array was not putting out the same amount of electricity than when it was originally installed. A warranty claim was made to Atlantis in 2005.
Over the last three years Atlantis has made multiple attempts to fix our array and to provide the promised power. None of these attempts have resulted in an acceptable solution. Atlantis stopped communicating with us in June of 2008 and has not fixed the warranty issues to date.
The issues that we had for the last 3-4 years are due to low production of the solar array. This has been proven by multiple sophisticated IV Curve Tracer tests. Shading, which does occur at my location, is not a major factor. Recent shading analysis shows that the average shading is 80% with 85% in the summer and 72% in the winter. Since we produce most of our energy in the summer and we get a window of almost 6 hours, the conditions are fairly good.
PV calculators can provide a good idea of how much energy the system should produce. The calculator comes up with a minimum of 4,700kWh for 384 Sunslates installed. Currently we have 384 Sunslates installed, but produce only approx. 3,600 kWh annually. Therefore, we are producing only 77% of what the system should provide after 20 years of operation!
Atlantis Energy provided us with a one page document (Photovoltaic Quick System Report, 5/4/01) through ALL Roofing on 5/3/2001 that showed that our 4kW system (336 Sunslates) should produce 5,986 kWh under STC Conditions based on location Sacramento, CA.
Below please find historical production data for our array:
Year Solar Energy produced in kWh
Average last 3 years 3481
*Inverter was out for first 6 ½ month of the year **projected for Oct, Nov, Dec with 2007 data