On the roof of our building we have a 465 solar panel-100kW system. It is now hooked to the grid and producing electricity.
Check Out The Layout and Energy Output of the System Here
About: We have installed a solar photovoltaic (PV) electrical power system for integration into Ontario’s electrical grid. The project has a 100kW capacity and was placed on RCV’s church rooftops.
Why: The project’s main goals are to promote a more sustainable form of electrical generation to Ontario energy consumers and to provide a new revenue stream to River City Vineyard.
One of the first issues encountered was the building’s old and worn down roof. In 2011 Matt Olson was put in charge of the complete restoration of the roof. Almost a full year project alone that including tarring the roof, rocking the roof, removing an eight by five by 50 foot chimney, putting up a safety railing, and adding scaffolding for solar panel transportation. Many volunteers were up on the roof in the summers heat to help us finish us our goal. Early November 2011 we had all the major parts of the roof completed and then finished the whole roof by Summer 2012.
Another large issue was funding and receiving of the panels. With a multitude of new solar companies in the area it was a difficult decision to choose which company to go with. One company was ready to ship and install the panels when they suddenly declined River City because they realized we are a church or technically a religious organization. We also had many companies willing to fund the project for River City, but they wanted large portions of the financial outcome. In the end River City found funding from residents in Sarnia who were willing to invest in the project. Also Sentinel Solar was the company that was finally used for the purchasing and shipping of the panels. The panels and racking arrived in late November 2012.
A major reason we had such a large problem with finding funding from a good company was because we decided to install the solar panels ourselves with a large amount of volunteers. Most solar companies want to install their own panels. When the shipment arrived we had almost 20 guys show up to help move the panels and all other equipment into the building and onto the roof of RCV. What a relief to finally have the panels on our roof.
Again, we wanted to install the system ourselves (This was to keep costs low and to have a great learning experience) which brought about some unique stories. To move the panels we needed a fork lift that could take the panels from ground level to the roof. Pastor George was in charge of driving the lift and moving the panels onto the roof. We had several guys on the roof and it was quite late because it took so long for the panels to arrive. The guys were waiting when they suddenly heard a large bang come from the other side of the building. Running over to the roofs edge we found that a whole stack of panels had fallen over when George had changed gears with the fork lift. What an ordeal to have to restack expensive panels at 10pm at night in the middle of the road! We’re just thankful it was Pastor George who was driving the fork lift. Now we can make fun of his driving for a long time! Thankfully all the panels were completely fine and we all had a good laugh.
Installing the racking, wiring, and panels took several weeks. Volunteers were there most days to help get the project finished. During a PD day we had approximately 12 highschoolers working throughout the day to get the panels onto the racking. At the end of the day it started to snow just as we finished putting on the last few panels. We got it all done just in time before winter came.
The project was completed on December 21, 2012. We turned the power on and were connected to the grid.
This project is generating yearly revenue beyond other sources of revenue such as donations for River City. It will also use existing assets more efficiently, thereby building towards a more effective organization. River City is paid $0.713/kWh or 71.3 cents per kilowatt-hour for a guaranteed 20 years by the Ontario government. River City will produce an approximate average of 152,778kWh per year.
Want to find out how much we produced to today or even in the projects entire lifetime? Click Here