New Solar Roof System

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
78,140
South Puget Sound, WA
That was a 2017 article and it sounds like they are still in the "Taking reservations" mode. Before investing I would really like to know more about the construction of the roof panels. If they are laminated that may be a failure point in several years.
https://www.forwardsolarroofing.com/
 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
4,610
Northern NH
Like, Tesla, short on details. There was a fire training video on the Tesla solar roof details floating around on the web and there was a lot of small details that didnt match up with the hype. Each shingle is its own separate low wattage panel so that meant a lot of small gauge wiring and connectors that need to be connected in the field. That was a downfall of many of the shingle type systems. The limited details on this system are that the PV panels are larger reducing field wiring. I do agree that if they go with field laminated module to the underlying metal substrate, that is weak point as all the field laminated attempts in the past have not lasted.

I am not advocating anyone buying either system. Both companies could either go up in smoke long before the warranty is over or just plain decide to abandon the technology. Hard to beat standard panels on a roof.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
78,140
South Puget Sound, WA
Half of our system is made of factory laminated glass panels. At the time they were the only made in WA panels available and required for the maximum credit. The lamination started failing in the field at about 5-6 yrs. It seems inevitable with the heating and cooling of the panels. A couple of our panels are starting to show delamination in the corners. We thought we were well covered with a 20 yr warranty but the company moved out of the state to avoid claims and then went bankrupt. No more laminated panels here, the second half of our system is made of conventionally manufactured panels.
 
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SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
2,624
Downeast Maine
Half of our system is made of factory laminated glass panels. At the time they were the only made in WA panels available and required for the maximum credit. The lamination started failing in the field at about 5-6 yrs. It seems inevitable with the heating and cooling of the panels. A couple of our panels are starting to show delamination in the corners. We thought we were well covered with a 20 yr warranty but the company moved out of the state to avoid claims and then went bankrupt. No more laminated panels here, the second half of our system is made of conventionally manufactured panels.
It seems weird to "like" your comment, but first hand experience like this is invaluable for people investigating and researching solar.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
78,140
South Puget Sound, WA
That's why we're here. Not every experience or stove is golden. If our experience can help someone else then there is some value there. Our panels have the cells laminated between 2 thick sheets of tempered glass. There may be other more durable lamination processes out there, but personally I would stick with some of the better proven brands and technologies unless the price is exceptionally good. What burned us is that the sales pitch was that these were a superior product. They certainly carried a high price.
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
2,624
Downeast Maine
That's why we're here. Not every experience or stove is golden. If our experience can help someone else then there is some value there. Our panels have the cells laminated between 2 thick sheets of tempered glass. There may be other more durable lamination processes out there, but personally I would stick with some of the better proven brands and technologies unless the price is exceptionally good. What burned us is that the sales pitch was that these were a superior product. They certainly carried a high price.
That's unfortunate. I'm surprised to see so many delamination failures. There are laminated glass products in use that get tons of light and heat but don't delaminate. What makes it such an issue with solar panels vs a windshield?
 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
4,610
Northern NH
The older laminated systems I have seen are peel and stick. They are typically one step away from a clear bumper sticker.. The cells were typically flexible and laminated between two sheets of plastic with a so called permanent adhesive applied. Laminated glass has glass on the outside and plastic on the inside. UV eventually cooks the plastic and the high temps destroy the adhesive.
 

MTY

Member
Jan 9, 2019
197
Idaho
It's all good info. I am still trying to figure this stuff out. I end up with more questions than answers every time I do a little reading. The poco is having a seminar a week from today. Luckily it is on a day off and starts after dark. I have plenty of questions regarding the house and the solar well pump. I am more confused than when I started thinking about this.

The good news is the septic is finished. Standing in the driveway looking sidehill, I have the cistern gravity feeding into the house, and further down the hill the septic gravity fed from the house. Even a couple of years ago, I would never have thought I would be trying to limit my use of the grid.
 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
4,610
Northern NH
It's all good info. I am still trying to figure this stuff out. I end up with more questions than answers every time I do a little reading. The poco is having a seminar a week from today. Luckily it is on a day off and starts after dark. I have plenty of questions regarding the house and the solar well pump. I am more confused than when I started thinking about this.

The good news is the septic is finished. Standing in the driveway looking sidehill, I have the cistern gravity feeding into the house, and further down the hill the septic gravity fed from the house. Even a couple of years ago, I would never have thought I would be trying to limit my use of the grid.
Do yourself a favor, buy this book" Solar Power your home for Dummies and read it. It covers all the basics. Note given your location, panel angle and snow management is a significant issue. If someone tells you it isnt an issue find someone else to talk to. Unless you have a lot of cash to burn up front and long term, do not go off grid and realize that off grid requires a different far more complex design that very few contractors are skilled with since the vast majority of solar systems are relatively plug and play grid tie systems.
 

MTY

Member
Jan 9, 2019
197
Idaho
Sorry for the hijack. Will do on the book. I am in the banana belt of ID. I have little snow, good souther exposure and lots of sunny days.

I grew up with little water. We hoarded every drop. I did not enjoy that very much, I also did homework by oil lamp. That did not bother me at all.

ID has net metering, and the more I read it seems as if I am better off going solar for the entire property rather than just the well. If the power failed, and it will, I'd be relying on the 4200 gallons of water storage that will be gravity fed to the house and yard. The 2100 gallons that is potable should take a long time to drink. The second 2100 gallons is spring fed and could be used for flushing etc..

I am the last house on the mail route and trash pickup. I'd also be the last house restored in the event of a major outage.
 
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peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
4,610
Northern NH
I agree planning for efficiency and an inevitable long outage is the way to go. Just hard to beat the cost of a generator and transfer switch for when it happens compared to the high initial and ongoing cost of off grid.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
78,140
South Puget Sound, WA
I agree planning for efficiency and an inevitable long outage is the way to go. Just hard to beat the cost of a generator and transfer switch for when it happens compared to the high initial and ongoing cost of off grid.
That's the way we fly, though it is painful during an outage on a sunny day when the solar panels sit offline.
 

MTY

Member
Jan 9, 2019
197
Idaho
I'm thinking that with wood heat and gravity fed water I could be quite content for some time with only a small generator for the freezer and fridge.

I have to dig several hundred feet of water and power trench, which then brings up the question of geothermal heat pumps since I will already have trenches dug. There is no end to this.
 
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spirilis

Minister of Fire
Sep 8, 2009
907
New Market, MD
Startup I heard about in a podcast this morn-

https://www.solpad.com/

Main contribution is the use of GaN (gallium-nitride) transistors for their microinverters to improve power handling vs. heat and size characteristics, and batteries spec'd to withstand roof temps so the battery storage+microinverters are up on the roof along with the panels. After the SolPad Home product rolls out, they will eventually release SolPad Mobile, a mobile solar panel+battery+microinverter for the field:
https://solpad.com/solpad-mobile/
 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
4,610
Northern NH
So when the batteries cycle out someone would need to pull the panels to get at the batteries? Let alone that batteries like to be kept cool for maximum lifespan?. I just don't see the improvement over someone installing optimizers if they need to for shading, then sending high voltage AC through the interconnecting wiring to a central inverter to reduce line loss then plug in a central battery in a basement or garage. Perhaps there are warm battery technologies but the ones I see are all "cool" unless it move up to the "hot" batteries that run at very high temps.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
78,140
South Puget Sound, WA
Yes, batteries generally don't like to get too hot. Heat and lack of sufficient battery cooling killed the Nissan Leaf in the southwest. Hopefully they are using heat tolerant capacitors in the inverter or they will fail prematurely as well.

Solpad has been discussed in the media for a few years now. I am surprised and a bit dubious when their website still has no info other than the flashy graphics. No press kits, investor info, specs, etc..
Sept. 2016 article says that they will be using a solid state battery, "not widely available yet". A little more searching shows that both Dyson and Bosch have walked away from this tech.

http://fortune.com/2016/09/22/solpad-solar-panel-batteries/
 
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spirilis

Minister of Fire
Sep 8, 2009
907
New Market, MD
Yes, batteries generally don't like to get too hot. Heat and lack of sufficient battery cooling killed the Nissan Leaf in the southwest. Hopefully they are using heat tolerant capacitors in the inverter or they will fail prematurely as well.
Yep from what I heard on a podcast ( https://theamphour.com/443-an-interview-with-jp-norair/ btw) the high temperature features are validated already, but I don't know what that means. I do know that with GaN FETs for the inverter and such, they can probably use smaller capacitors (& inductors) which might enable the use of ceramic capacitors, which tolerate super high temperatures.
 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
4,610
Northern NH
Hype is lot cheaper to crank out than product. If it wasn't for RSD requirements at a panel level I would steer clear of any electronics on a roof under a panel.
 

Where2

Feeling the Heat
Feb 3, 2013
344
South Florida
That's the way we fly, though it is painful during an outage on a sunny day when the solar panels sit offline.
It's probably MORE painful down here on the edge of the tropics after a hurricane when my generator and every neighbor's generator in our suburban neighborhood is screaming away at 3,600RPM, while our 4.4kW PV array on the roof sits quietly idle. That's the way we fly too...

I'd look for an 1,800rpm diesel generator, (because our cars are diesel, and diesel is easy to come by prior to hurricanes) but they're 2.5x more complicated to work on than my air cooled gas generator which I just drain the last drop of fuel out of the tank, drain the carb bowl, change the oil, and park until the next storm...
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
78,140
South Puget Sound, WA
I go for even less complicated by running our generator on propane. No drain, just turn it off. Oil is much cleaner too.
 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
4,610
Northern NH
Look up a Listeroid diesel still plenty of them out there, as simple as you can get. https://www.utterpower.com/listeroi.htm

The EPA banned them but there is company in Canada that sells a compressor that can be converted to diesel to get around the import ban.
 

Where2

Feeling the Heat
Feb 3, 2013
344
South Florida
I go for even less complicated by running our generator on propane. No drain, just turn it off. Oil is much cleaner too.
I have an all electric house, and the end of the nearest NG line is 4 houses down the street. Getting NG to me wouldn't be free, and when I looked up the minimum monthly cost to have a gas connection, I was astounded to see they get $35/mo just to be a customer before the first therm of energy comes through the pipe... At that rate, I could just stock up on gasoline for hurricane season, and give it away in December...

As for the listeroid diesel, if the EPA banned them, they probably had a good reason...
 
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