New Franklin Solar Array Dazzles
The 14th annual Green Energy Ohio tour took place from Friday June 3rd through Sunday June 5th. One of the 88 tour sites was at the Sedlack residence in New Franklin, just southwest of Akron. YellowLite was proud to have designed and installed the solar panels and have a presence at the Sedlack house. In all, eight tours of the house were conducted with solar enthusiasts amazed at the splendor of the Sedlack’s solar panel array.
The solar power system has been generating electricity since April 8th. In the nearly two months in operation the Sedlack’s have generated just over 3.6 MW of electricity. Mr. Mark Sedlack said he built the solar energy system because it was the right time to do so.
“When we first moved into the house, the prices for solar were just too high. Now, seven years later, the prices dropped to the point where we could justify it economically,” said Sedlack. “The solar system has a payback of around nine years so we decided to go ahead and do it.”
YellowLite was initially contacted in late January and construction started in March. Sedlack said that he did his research on the Internet and saw that YellowLite had a good reputation. Still, he got several quotes for his system and YellowLite matched the lowest quote he got.
The Sedlack home is a marvel of energy efficiency. During the tour he showed pictures of the Anasazi Indians, a society of pueblo Indians living in Colorado and New Mexico who used to build their cliff dwellings to take advantage of the angle of the sun. During the winter the sun was lower in the sky and provided more warmth inside their caves. In the summer, the sun was higher in the sky and their caves did not receive direct sunlight. This is how the house was also designed, with awnings covering the windows to block the sun from coming in full throttle during the summer and warming the house during the winter. This helps the house stay cool during the summer and warms it during the winter.
The house takes advantage of solar thermal technology to help cut down on their hot water bills. The water is pumped up out of the well at a temperature between 52 degrees during the winter and 55 degrees during the summer. The solar collectors are built against an outcropping just below the main floor which also provides shading to the finished basement. Here we can see Mr. Sedlack explain the function to tour participants.
The showcase of the house tour was the array itself. The home solar power system is a 14.4 kW array set on his garage which is also home to his engineering laboratory. In total he has 45 LG panels with microinverters from Enphase.
The solar energy system currently offsets around 2/3rds of the total electricity usage. Mrs. Sedlack said that when their children are grown and leave the house and Mr. Sedlack retires, they will be near completely independent in energy usage for decades to come.
One of the coolest images was the dichotomy between Sedlack's refurbished old gas pumping station that he purchased several years ago and had LED lights installed for a nighttime ambiance. The old fueling station provides a wonderful contrast of the past with an old-time machine dispensing carbon burning fuel pumped out of the ground with the technological marvel harvesting clean energy from the sun in the background.
Tour participants asked a great deal of questions about the array, oftentimes commenting on how aesthetically pleasing it is. Participants enjoyed coffee, bagels, and pastries inside and enjoyed themselves immensely. Other questions that were normally asked were what the most efficient solar panels are, the best solar panels, if Sunpower solar panels were worth the investment, and whether solar panels for your home are right for you.