Cattle Rancher Goes Solar

Member Name: Bill Purcell
Project Title: Residential Ground Mount System
City & State: Danville, CA
Rated DC Output: 21.8 kW
Rated AC Output: 18.4 kW
Modules: 128 ET Solar ET-M572170’s (170 Watts each)
Inverters: 1 SMA SB6000US (6,000 Watts) & 1 SMA SB7000US (7,000 Watts)
Monitoring: SMA web box
Total installed cost: $130,000
CSI Rebate: $27,800
Tax Credit: $38,500
Net Cost: $63,700
Net Cost per Watt: $3.46 AC, $2.92 DC
Date of Installation: August, 2009
Designer: Dick Hansen
Installer: Pacific Solar Energy

To help offset the electrical load of this member’s small cattle ranch, a solar array was installed on a southwest facing hill, surrounded by barbed-wire to keep the cows out.

The customer owns a large tract of land and had a sizable electric bill which he wanted to reduce to near-zero at the lowest possible cost. The only option was a ground array. A suitable southwest facing, un-shaded site with a 15 degree slope was available, but unfortunately the site was about 900 feet from the main house and electric interconnection point. This long distance required digging a trench 18” deep, laying 3” conduit, pulling in the conductors, and installing a water line to facilitate panel cleaning. At the system site, two arrays were constructed with disconnect switches located beneath the panels, all enclosed by a barbed-wire cattle fence. The three inverters and web box monitoring system are located in an out-building mid-way between the array and main house, which saved some money on cable costs.

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