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Swiss Solar Tech, Okanagan Solar earn 2018 APsystems Project of the Year Awards

2018-iconAPsystems congratulates installers Swiss Solar Tech Ltd. and Okanagan Solar Ltd., both of British Columbia, Canada, as winners of our annual Project of the Year Awards.

Swiss Solar Tech Ltd. is honored in the Commercial category for the Poplar Grove Winery/Vanilla Pod Restaurant project in BC’s Okanagan Valley. The project creatively showcases APsystems YC1000 true 3-phase microinverters as a visual design element in the 46.36 kW array, creating a solar-shaded outdoor restaurant patio.

Okanagan Solar Ltd. is honored in the Residential category for the Carrington View Apartments installation in West Kelowna, BC. The 225 kW project uses APsystems YC1000-3 microinverters to create an ambitious three-building, 240-unit solar-powered complex, demonstrating the vitality and growth of multifamily solar.

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APsystems thanks all installers and customers who participated in the 2018 Project of the Year Awards contest.

Read more about the Swiss Solar Tech commercial installation here.

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Read more about the Okanagan Sola residential project here.

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2018 Residential Award Winner: Carrington View Apartments

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As single-family residential solar booms across North America, multi-family projects are catching on as a vibrant market segment for developers and installers alike. 

A developer in West Kelowna, British Columbia, is leading the trend, now completing its eighth multi-family residential solar project in just a short time with installer Okanagan Solar Ltd.

Their newest showcase: the Carrington View Apartments, an ambitious three-building, 240-unit solar-powered complex.

For demonstrating the vitality of multifamily solar, Carrington View by Okanagan Solar, Ltd., earns an APsystems Project of the Year Award in the Residential category.

Robert Monteith of Okanagan Solar Ltd. credited “trust and training” received from distributor National Solar and the APsystems technical and sales team for choosing APsystems microinverters for the project. The rooftop arrays use the APsystems YC1000 3-phase units.

okanagan-logo“After our first APsystems install, we really liked the product for performance and ease of install,” Monteith said. “I have APsystems YC500s installed on my own home.”

Before the install, Monteith took APsystems microinverters and related components to the local electrical inspection branch for their review. He also invited them to an install at the nearby St. Hubertus Winery, where code-compliance inspectors tested the rapid-shutdown capability of the APsystems utility-interactive inverters.

Inspectors came away suitably impressed with the APsystems safety features, not least the fact that the microinverters went to low-voltage AC right at the solar panel. 

CR2-5c0aeb0277137“Since that encounter our licensed electricians rarely see them come for an inspection as they know there is nothing to see that they are worried about,” Monteith said. “Having credibility with the electrical inspection branch is an advantage in our business.”

At Carrington View, rooftop modules are arrayed in a crisscross pattern to fit amongst structural elements. Each array feeds the house “common area” panel, Monteith said, “so the common area power costs nothing for the owner to operate once completed.”

Notwithstanding its scale, Monteith said the install went without a hitch; technical challenges were resolved ahead of time with good planning and communication with the entire consultant team.

The APsystems technical support team made a site visit during planning and offered suggestions to make the install run smoothly.

CR3-5c0aeb027719fThere’s more to come – Okanagan Solar Ltd. will install 1.5mW of solar for this same client in 2019. The builder has embraced renewables, Monteith said, and will soon complete the first net-zero residential building in the province.

What is the most rewarding aspect of the Carrington View project? 

“Being able to showcase and demonstrate that we do not have to burn coal, dam rivers or build nuclear power plants to generate significant power at a cost per kilowatt-hour that is less than what the utility charges is great,” Monteith said, “because ‘deniers’ cannot argue with it.”  

Installer: Okanagan Solar Ltd.
Project name: Carrington View Apartments
Location: West Kelowna, BC
Total system capacity: 225kW (75kW/building over 3 buildings)
Microinverters: APsystems YC1000 3-phase
Total number of microinverters used: 204
Brand/wattage of modules: Canadian Solar 270W Mono all-black

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2018 Commercial Award Winner: Poplar Grove Winery/Vanilla Pod Restaurant, Okanagan, B.C.

2018-iconThe same temperate climate and generous sunlight that makes the Okanagan Valley ideal for growing grapes makes it perfect for a natural harvest of another sort: solar.

When Tony and Barbara Holler, owners of Poplar Grove Winery, decided to add a solar-covered patio to the winery’s Vanilla Pod Restaurant, they worked with installer Swiss Solar Tech Ltd. for a design that not only optimized harvest, but highlighted the solar technology itself.

For showcasing solar in a popular restaurant setting, the Swiss Solar Tech Ltd. is the winner of the APsystems 2018 Project of the Year Award for the Commercial category.

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Poplar Grove winery and its 100-acre estate vineyards are perched on a mountainside overlooking the picturesque Okanagan Valley Lake and the town of Penticton in British Columbia, Canada.

The decision to go solar, Tony Holler said, “really revolves around the Okanagan’s high sunlight hours, the increased efficiency and lower costs of solar panels and our belief that if you can use a renewable energy source like solar rather than fossil fuels, why wouldn’t you do it? Solar also has the lowest environmental footprint of other renewable energy sources like hydro and wind.”

It’s the Hollers’ second winery to go solar using APsystems microinverter products. In 2017, they installed a 389module array at their nearby Monster Winery.

poplargrove5At Poplar Grove, Swiss Solar Tech Ltd. came up with an attractive, innovative design: a solar shaded restaurant patio that would provide enjoyable lunches and dinners for visitors, while harnessing the sun’s energy year round.

The bifacial glass modules overhead make brilliant use of the sun by generating up to 35 percent more energy per watt than traditional single-sided modules. APsystems YC1000 3-phase microinverters tie in directly to the low-voltage DC modules, increasing safety for the guests under the patio awning while eliminating the possibility of high-voltage “arc” fires. 

A bold design touch: the APsystems microinverters were left exposed on the patio beam face, in full view of restaurant patrons below. It’s a rare moment in the sun, so to speak, for a solar component generally covered over by modules or otherwise tucked out of site.

poplargrove-1It’s a practical application, said Susan Huber of Swiss Solar Tech Ltd., as the open installation allows for easy inspection and maintenance, while the YC-1000’s NEMA-6 metal enclosures offer robust protection from the elements.

But there was a more important reason: for the Hollers, this project was not just about harnessing solar, but promoting it.

“The Hollers liked the sophisticated, hi-tech look of the APsystems microinverters,” Huber said, “and they want to share that with their customers.”

Installer: Swiss Solar Tech Ltd.
Project name: Poplar Grove Winery/Vanilla Pod Restaurant
Location: Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada
Total system capacity: 46.36kW
Microinverters: APsystems YC1000-3-208
Total number of microinverters used: 42
Brand/wattage of modules: Prism Solar Bi60 bi-facial, 368 watt
Number of modules: 126

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2018 North America Project of the Year Competition – $500 Award

Dear APsystems installer,

It’s been another great year for APsystems and we have you, our solar partners, to thank for it. You’ve put our advanced microinverter technology to work for customers in markets across the country.

Now it’s time once again to look back on the great solar successes of the past year and share your very best stories with the industry and the world.

Tell us about your very best project – what set it apart in terms of scale, design, power output, challenging conditions, or your creative application of APsystems microinverter technology.

We’d like you to submit the project details here, including a brief write-up about your best installation, or more – enter all the projects you like. Remember to include some high-res photographs and any close-ups showing our microinverters in action.  Your project can be completed or still in process. Entries will be judged by our APsystems team.

We’ll be honoring top North America projects in both Residential and Commercial categories.

And we’ll announce the APsystems Solar Project of the Year Award winners early in the new year through announcements and promotions that will highlight your project and your company. APsystems is committed to helping you grow your solar business even as we grow ours, so this is a cross-promotion opportunity you’ll definitely want to take advantage of.

The winner in each category will receive $500.

Our contest last year generated great interest from installers and brought out some fantastic projects; you can see the winners here.

Now we’re excited to present this competition, highlighting the very best APsystems microinverter installations of 2018.

Submit your project entries here by January 11th 2019. Please read the terms and conditions before entering.

If you have any questions, please contact our marketing coordinator.

Thank you for partnership and support, and for a great 2018 for our company and yours.
Your friends at APsystems USA
2017-icon2

Cleaveland-Price, Canada’s Got Solar? earn APsystems Project of the Year Awards

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Congratulations to Cleaveland-Price of Trafford, Penn., and Got Solar? of British Columbia, Canada, winners of APsystems Project of the Year Awards.

Cleaveland-Price is honored in the Commercial category for the massive 673kW rooftop array powering the company’s high-voltage switch factory. The project uses APsystems YC1000 true 3-phase microinverters to handle the 2,245-module array, the company’s first-ever venture into solar installation.

Got Solar? is honored in the Residential category for the Lowen family’s Coldstream Corner Farms net-zero project. The 29kW array atop the Helmi and Kornelius Lowen residence in Okanagan, B.C., earned distinction as Canada’s first 100-percent solar organic family farm.

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“Microinverter technology is the smart choice for projects of every scale, as these two outstanding winners demonstrate,” said Jason Higginson, senior director of marketing for APsystems. “While their installations are much different in size and capacity, they help the customers achieve the same goal of energy independence. Cleaveland-Price and Got Solar? set a great example for all commercial and residential installers looking for power, reliability and value from their rooftop microinverter arrays.”

Read more about the Cleaveland-Price commercial installation here.

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Read more about the Got Solar? and the Lowen family’s Coldstream Corner Farms net-zero residential project here.
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APsystems thanks all installers and customers who participated in the 2017 Project of the Year Awards contest. Special mentions were also awarded to Vision Energy of Canada for the Moose Jaw all-electric solar home project in the Residential category, and Sycamore Energy for the Optimist Holsteins 177kW Commercial installation.
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Lowen home and organic family farm, Coldstream, British Columbia

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Helmi and Kornelius Lowen of Coldstream, British Columbia, wanted to eliminate their power bill – or better yet, start getting a check from the power company under the local net-metering program. Working with a leading Canadian installer Got Solar?, they were able to populate three slopes of their farmhouse roof with solar panels powered by APsystems microinverters.

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The output from the solar array should come very close to achieving “net-zero” and maybe even “net-positive,” creating more power than the Lowen home and farm consume in a year. The grid-tied array was so ambitious, local power provider BC Hydro came out and upgraded the transformer and replaced the pole – at no charge to the Lowens.

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Add it up, and the Lowens earn distinction as Canada’s first 100-percent solar organic farm.

“What makes this project so special, is that even before we installed the solar system, the Lowens in essence already used solar power to create the majority of their profits,” said Chris Palmer of Got Solar? “The fruits, vegetables and other produce grown by this organic farm are all powered by the sun.”

The 3.7-acre family farm in Canada’s rich Okanagan valley raises tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, strawberries, spinach, lettuce, potatoes, beans, peas, beats, corn, squash, zucchini, and in one recent year, some 27,000 heads of garlic.

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“Just about anything you need in a kitchen, it’s right here,” Helmi Lowen told Okanagan Seniors in a video feature. “I get bored very quickly and so does Kornelius, so we enjoy doing the gardening.”

Perhaps more impressive: the Lowens, now in their late 70s and mid-80s, respectively, still work the farm largely on their own.

By helping the Lowens create enough power for both home and farm, Got Solar? and APsystems microinverters helped the couple complete the last link in their quest for self-sustainability. And they still plan to upgrade to an electric car.

Launched in 2015, Got Solar? provides grid-tied and off-grid solar energy systems in Kelowna, B.C., and surrounding areas for residential and commercial clients. They are also the only solar company in the Okanagan that caters to DIY installers.

For the Coldstream Corner project, Got Solar? selected APsystems YC500 dual-module microinverters to support 93, 315-watt modules by Canadian Solar, all but two being 72-cell units. Two 60-cell modules were required due to space constraints around a chimney.

Palmer cited the flexibility of APsystems microinverters that allowed system designers to handle the different module sizes seamlessly. That promises forward-compatibility through the life of the array, he said.

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“Should a solar module ever be damaged or fail in the next 30 years, APsystems has essentially ‘future proofed’ their product by making it so widely compatible through its wide-ranging input capabilities,” Palmer says. “No longer do you have to try and find vintage matching panels, rather, you replace with whatever is currently in use and in inventory.

“Thank you, APsystems, for allowing our crews to have shorter installation times, higher productivity, and ease-of-installation that has no equal.”

Like APsystems microinverters, the Lowens are proud examples of industry and productivity over the long haul.

“A lot of seniors come here and say, ‘I couldn’t do what you’re doing,’ and I don’t believe that,” Helmi Lowen told Okanagan Seniors. “A lot of people could do it. They don’t have to do it, but they could do it. They say no to big gardens, but they could start small in their own backyard or even in their apartment. There’s always a plot there for seniors to go and get their hands dirty.

“If you say you can’t, you can’t. But if you say you can, you can.”
Location: Okanagan, British Columbia
Capacity: 29kW
Installer: Got Solar?, B.C., Canada
Modules: Canadian Solar 315W, 72-cell and 60-cell monocrystalline
Number of modules: 93
Microinverters: APsystems YC500 dual module
No. of microinverters: 47

2017-icon

2017 Project of the Year Competition – $1,000 Award

Dear APsystems installer,

It’s been another great year for APsystems and we have you, our solar partners, to thank for it. You’ve put our advanced microinverter technology to work for customers in markets across the country.

Now it’s time once again to look back on the great solar successes of the past year and share your very best stories with the industry and the world.

 

Tell us about your very best project – what set it apart in terms of scale, design, power output, challenging conditions, or your creative application of APsystems microinverter technology.

We’d like you to submit the project details here, including a brief write-up about your best installation, or more – enter all the projects you like. Remember to include some high-res photographs and any close-ups showing our microinverters in action.  Your project can be completed or still in process. Entries will be judged by our APsystems team.

We’ll be honoring top projects in both Residential and Commercial categories.

And we’ll announce the APsystems Solar Project of the Year Award winners early in the new year through announcements and promotions that will highlight your project and your company. APsystems is committed to helping you grow your solar business even as we grow ours, so this is a cross-promotion opportunity you’ll definitely want to take advantage of.

The winner in each category will receive $1,000.

Our contest last year generated great interest from installers and brought out some fantastic projects; you can see the winners here.

Now we’re excited to present this competition, highlighting the very best APsystems microinverter installations of 2017.

Submit your project entries here by January 5th 2018. Please read the terms and conditions before entering.

If you have any questions, please contact our marketing coordinator.

Thank you for partnership and support, and for a great 2017 for our company and yours.
Your friends at APsystems USA
2016-icon

Lighthouse & Bombard earn prestigious APsystems Project of the Year awards

2016-iconCongratulations to Lighthouse Solar of Austin, Texas, and Bombard Renewable Energy of Las Vegas, Nevada, winners of APsystems Project of the Year Awards.

Lighthouse Solar is honored in the Residential category for their efforts in making PV systems a more standard feature in planned solar communities in the San Antonio area.

Bombard Renewable Energy is honored for bringing solar to a number of prominent nonprofit facilities in its market, helping local service organizations achieve energy self-sufficiency.
“Lighthouse Solar and Bombard Renewable Energy are showing real leadership as solar installers,” said Jason Higginson, senior director of marketing for APsystems USA. “We’re proud to have them as solar partners, and to highlight the excellent work they’re doing in their communities and the industry.”
Read more about Lighthouse Solar’s winning project here.
Read more about Bombard’s winning entry here.
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Bombard Renewable Energy wins this year’s APsystems Solar Project of the Year Award in the Commercial category

When the state of Nevada established a pilot program to bring solar power to marginalized communities, Bombard Renewable Energy delivered.

The Las Vegas based Solar PV contractor completed a string of projects for prominent area nonprofit agencies, putting the power of solar to work for citizens and agencies not often served by renewable PV resources.

For helping bring solar power to the nonprofit sector, Bombard Renewable Energy has earned the APsystems Project of the Year Award in the Commercial category.

“Nonprofit organizations are an overlooked segment of the commercial solar market, but that’s changing thanks to solar installation leaders like Bombard,” said Jason Higginson, senior director of marketing for APsystems USA. “We’re proud to see our microinverter products supporting the good work of so many worthy nonprofit agencies.”

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Bombard Renewable Energy is honored for a quintet of service-sector projects in the Las Vegas area, including:

  • HELP of Southern Nevada – An 81kW mix of rooftop arrays and solar carports supports an agency that assists families and individuals attain self-sufficiency through direct services, training and resource referrals.
  • Boys and Girls Club of Southern Nevada – An ambitious 242kW system provides nearly all the power needed for this facility, whose mission is to enable all young people to reach their full potential as caring, responsible citizens.
  • Las Vegas Rescue Mission – Rooftop arrays and solar carports totaling 125 kW support the mission complex that provides care, support and meals to the homeless and addicted population.
  • Veterans Village – A 48kW rooftop array powers an important regional center providing transitional and permanent housing for United States veterans in need.
  • Ronald McDonald House Charities – The 28kW shade structure supports the center’s mission of providing temporary housing for families who travel to Las Vegas to receive critical medical treatment for their children.

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The projects were built through Nevada’s Low Income Solar Energy Pilot Program, established by the state legislature several years ago to benefit low-income customers, including, without limitation, homeless shelters, low-income housing developments and schools with significant populations of low-income students.

Bombard Renewable Energy contracted with NV Energy for the engineering and construction of the projects, said Bo Balzar, Bombard Renewable Energy Division Manager.

Bombard chose APsystems’ YC1000 true 3-phase microinverters for the installations.

“Superior durability combined with a comprehensive warranty and exceptional design flexibility made APsystems the obvious choice for our projects,” Radford said. “APsystems is the only microinverter technology we found which supports both 60-cell modules at 240V and 72-cell modules at 208 and 480V 3-phase systems.”

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Lighthouse Solar wins this year’s APsystems Solar Project of the Year Award in the Residential category

It’s not unusual these days for homebuilders to offer solar as a “buyer option,” a splashy add-on that the purchaser may or may not decide is worth the extra cost.

Yet others across the industry see a renewable energy system on a new home as simply one more element of design, as intrinsic as windows and doors, plumbing and lights.

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“Solar as standard” could be the mantra for Lighthouse Solar. Partnering with real estate developer PSW, the Austin, Texas-based installer is powering new planned solar communities throughout the region in which PV on the roof is expected as the roof itself.

Prototypical is the 330 Clay Street project, a new 32-home development in San Antonio’s stylish arts district, where every home will be powered by APsystems microinverter systems.

2016-iconFor its leadership at 330 Clay and in the greater regional market, Lighthouse Solar wins this year’s APsystems Solar Project of the Year Award in the Residential category.

“Lighthouse and its partners are showing the way forward for solar in new construction,” said Jason Higginson, senior director of marketing for APsystems USA. “Making new homes energy self-sufficient should be a given, and the APsystems module-level solution makes it both achievable and affordable.”

Now celebrating its tenth year of operations in the fast-growing Texas market (the company’s New York unit is under separate ownership), Lighthouse sees planned solar communities as the next frontier.

At Clay Street, PV comes standard with every home as part of a larger sustainability package. The typical array is around 3kW, and the systems are designed to offset up to 50 percent of projected household usage.

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Some homeowners manage their consumption such that the systems offset up to 80 percent, according to Stan Pipkin, Lighthouse Solar vice president and managing director.

Lighthouse began using APsystems microinverters last year after consultation with The Power Store, a regional distributor. Lighthouse installer teams found the integration to be “simple, as advertised,” Pipkin says.

“We were looking at a distributed solution that can scale effectively with the smaller systems at the planned community,” he says. “The systems are also designed to be able to scale as people move into the homes and get used to living with their solar system. The module-level performance offers a design flexibility to ensure parity among all the homeowners in the community.”

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It’s a template that Lighthouse and its partners are carrying forward into the new year. More than 200 new solar-standard homes are slated to come online in several other new PSW planned communities.

“We thank APsystems for the honor and acknowledgement,” Pipkin says. “We look forward to more innovative and performative projects that APsystems technology is enabling.”