Great Oak has finally, after years of trying to make the financing work, installed 19.44kw of Photovoltaic solar panels on our common garage roofs to feed our Common House electric meter (our local utility, DTE, requires the inverters to be tied to the single largest consuming meter for net metering). As of today, after various permitting and logistical hurdles, not to speak of the cloudy weather, we finally have some impressive generation!

GO South facing Garage Bank solar panels

The bright sunshine and low humidity today means that even though the sun is low in the sky, the panels, while producing about 12kw, or only about 50% of their rated capacity, are still producing more than the Common House is consuming currently, around 3kw:

GO CH current usage of electricity around noon on 12/24/2013

which means that since the panels are producing more than the instantaneous production, and that we do not have batteries to store the excess, they are feeding that back to the electric grid and GO is being credited for that — so the electric meter is running “backwards” (or would if we had the old analog style meter, but instead it shows a negative consumption instead on the digital meter!)

GO CH electric meter negative consumption on 12/24/2013

and for those interested in some details, we have 4 Renovo 5kw inverters tied together, installed by Srienergy, and financed out of our electrical operating budget for the Common House with the capital coming from our Great Oak Cohousing Association reserve fund.

Here is some detail from one of the inverters: