Tricolour Solar Roof microFIT installation

Table of Contents: Live Output Data:

Live Camera Views (click for larger view)

Garage (looking south) House (looking NW) Garage (looking S)
garage panel cam live view west house panel cam live view east house panel cam live view


We are embarking on a microFIT residential rooftop Solar PV system grid-tied to Hydro Ottawa, with a contract to generate power for the Ontario Power Authority.

Here are the Solar Pathfinder calculations for shading on the garage roof and the images for shading on the house roof.

Hydro Ottawa requested that we move our existing meter base from inside the basement on the back wall to outside the house on the west side wallnear the front of the house. Since the electrical service feed is buried, I did some digging to intercept the Hydro feed to connect generation meter and here's the final pit. A new dual meter base will be installed at that location, one meter for the existing load, replacing the inside meter and a second meter for power generated, both meters connected in parallel to the grid.

The roof of the house was re-shingled and reinforced in 2006, just before we bought the house, but it is still pretty wavy, hence needing the Schletter racking for the extra height and adjustability. Here's a view of the inside of the attic (2007). The two large vents at the peak of the house roof will be moved to near the peak of the north facing roof. The bathroom vent will also be moved there. The main cast iron stack pipe will be cut off and rerouted to the north face as well. Here'sa a view of our house roof from the garage roof and a panorama of views of the shading issues for the garage. The structural engineer's report indicated that the rafters in the attic needed sistering out of concern they might crack when the solar panel lag bolts were screwed in. Here are more photos of the inside of the attic when I went up to take measurements for the wood needed. In the process, I found a number of inactive wasp and hornet nests and a dead bird. In preparation for doing some remedial work on the attic rafters, I cleaned up the insulation from half of the attic. I found, buried in the insulation, a copy of the structural report for the roof done 8 months before we bought the house. I also found newspapers in french (Le Devoir) and english (The Ottawa Citizen?) from 1927 amongst other treasures. I do wish I had cleaned up some of this mess before the insulation contractor sprayed in another R40 of cellulose insulation on top, burying it... The house rafters have now been sistered and better jacked up on the south face where the solar panels are going.

The main chimney on the house is spalling and needs some work anyways. We have already decommissioned one of the flues when we installed a new high-efficiency direct-venting furnace in 2007. The other flue is for the gas fireplace, which was poorly installed and appears to be a medium efficiency unit, so we should probably look at replacing it with a high-efficiency unit to prevent the significant updraft that is currently happenning. This will allow us to cut off the top of the chimney to reduce the amount of shading on adjacent solar panels.

I did some remedial work to the garage roof trusses to eliminate the sagging that had occurred. It looks like the sagging had occurred before the shelving was installed at the back of the garage, before we moved in, since it had to be detached to straighten the roof. I was concerned that it had happenned after we had moved in, either in the winter of 2008 due to near-record snowfall (435cm) or due to the 9 bicycles hanging from hooks on one truss. The existing 2x4" 16' beams were sistered with 2x6" beams. I used three random mechanical car jacks with 2x4s to prop up the centre of each beam, then screwed them together with 3" #8 construction screws. This seems to have worked very well.

The electrical contractor will be Mike Tinker Electric Ltd.

There will be three circuits on the house roof and two on the garage.

In the process of preparing for this installation, I've been doing some minor renovations to strengthen the structures of the house attic and the garage trusses. I've been getting my materials using the Greenspeed tandem with the overhead racks: six 2"x6"x16' for the garage trusses, 6' + 12' of 3" ABS pipe to extend the stack pipe and flashing to cover the holes from the 4 vents that need moving, fourteen 2"x4"x12' for the house attic rafters

On the way, I found out a bit about insulation... Here's a table of R-values of common construction materials from Colorado Energy. Here's also an information page from Natural Resources Canada. For construction connectors, see Simpson ties.




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(C) 2011 Richard Guy Briggs Web Page last updated by Richard Guy Briggs Sat Dec 16 11:52:57 EST 2023