Customer Stories: Solar Power Prepares Resident For Natural Disasters

Our customer story this week features Susan from Ohio. Susan's neighbors have family in Puerto Rico. Back in 2017 Hurricane Maria devastated the entire island leaving their family in the dark. They lost the first level of their home and all electric power for several months. The realities of a natural disaster are a stark reminder of how everyone should be prepared and how the modern conveniences of everyday life can be taken away quickly.

The unfortunate circumstances of others caused Susan to step back and look at her own situation at home. A natural gas generator was her only power source, which is not designed to run 24/7. The lack of gasoline availability is also a core liability in the system. Susan needed an alternative – solar power. She knew that even with a shortage in gasoline, solar power would work independently to provide the electricity she needed.

Susan comes from a construction family – working on many different types of home projects. She never backs down from a challenge and this time is no different. After doing a massive amount of reading, research, watching videos, following discussion forums and Googling every solar power topic imaginable – she gained a full understanding of what she needed for her residence.

She based her solar power system not just on her needs but on the maximum number of solar panels that could be installed on her roof. The system max output needed to power an extra fridge, hot plate, washer, dryer, freezer, short wave radios and miscellaneous medical equipment. She wanted enough power to be able to help her neighbors if the need arose.

Knowing how the different solar power system components work together is certainly beneficial, but Susan needed help with the installation process. Susan headed up two teams – roofers and electricians which needed to place the anchors, mount the rails and solar panels, run conduit and wiring, and connect all the components together. But before they could begin work, Susan had to obtain engineering diagrams, an electrical permit from the city, and schedule the building inspector consultation to troubleshoot any problems or difficulties.

After a few bumps in the road, Susan’s team managed to get the system up and running. It passed inspection with flying colors. Susan is expecting a 7-8 year recoup of her money switching to solar power, which does not include the 30% tax credit.

Canadian Solar CS3K-310MS Monocrystalline 310 Watt Solar Panels

Support mount rails installed with first row of panels in place

Outback Radian GS8048A-01 8,000 Watt Advanced Inverter/Charger

Simpliphi PHI-3.8-48-60 3.8kWh 48 Volt Lithium Ferro Phosphate Batteries

Customer Feedback

It's always great to hear directly from the customer about their experience with our company. Feedback is highly valued, which allows us to deliver an even better product to the next customer.

Were our prices competitive compared to other competitors?

Yes. NAZ had the best prices of any of the suppliers I priced materials from. Full 15-day comprehensive insurance on the delivery was an important addition for peace of mind.

Do you think the free consultation provided value to you?

The free consultation was invaluable. We could not have done the install by reading the manuals and following the instructions. We tried that and it didn't work. There were things that needed a custom and innovative approach. The system works because James and Jason logged into the WIFI and adjusted the settings while telling my electricians what they needed to change and do differently in the actual wiring.

How are our customized solar systems more beneficial than out of the box solutions?

The customized system allowed adaptation for special needs such as an older generator, a roof with skylight and chimney and so forth. I did not like the take it or leave it prepackaged options from other companies. NAZ had the good sense to recognize that if a customer has figured out the value and investment of a Lithium Ion battery bank, don't try to sell that customer on a glass matted battery bank to quote a better upfront price. It would have been sheer stupidity on my part as a customer if I had gone that route.

How would you rate the solar system installation process?

9 on a scale of 1 to 10. The first time is always the hardest. There were a couple of glitches but all in all the process went smoothly.

Overall, did NAZ Solar Electric meet your expectations?

Yes. I am recommending NAZ to anyone and everyone considering a solar power system. It has been a pleasure to work with all of you.

Our Take

I was first contacted by Susan last Spring; she was wanting to create a grid interactive system that would integrate with her present back-up generator. She also expressed her want to not be as dependent on the grid and have a system capable of sharing power with neighbors in the event of a grid failure.

The Outback Radian 8kW inverter with a generator back up is a great solution for this. You have many different profiles that Outback has created for how you manage power from the different sources, this allows for lots of flexibility in different conditions.

Should the need for expansion arise, this could easily be done with Susan’s system. She can add in more SimpliPhi batteries to the system. She can add more solar panels, up to 8kW, if she has room. She can even add a second inverter if her load exceeds the 8kW that the single Radian provides.

Susan’s approach was to define her wants and expectations for the system, we then worked within the constraints of her physical space in order to supply adequate power to her home. She was understanding of limitations and was willing to learn. In the end we were able to put together a system that should provide her home with adequate power with or without the grid.

Solar Power System Components

Below is a list of components that were used in this system.

  • Canadian Solar CS3K-310MS Monocrystalline 310 Watt Solar Panels X18
  • Outback Radian GS8048A-01 8,000 Watt Advanced Inverter/Charger
  • Simpliphi PHI-3.8-48-60 3.8kWh 48 Volt Lithium Ferro Phosphate Battery X6

Solar Price Breakdown

  • System Cost: $31,973 (not installed)
  • Federal Tax Incentive: Qualifies for $9,592 U.S. Federal Tax Credit (if installed before 2019)

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