VIDEO: Brightening Lives – Quixote Village Goes Solar

Quixote Village, a community of 30 tiny homes, stands as a symbol of support for Olympia, Washington’s most vulnerable citizens. Since its inception, the vision included incorporating sustainable solar energy into the infrastructure. Olympia Community Solar took the lead in spearheading this initiative, skillfully securing funding through various grant channels. The design and installation of the solar system was expertly handled by South Sound Solar.

Witness the incredible journey in this video, showcasing each tiny house’s roof adorned with four solar panels featuring APsystems multi-module microinverters. This innovative system contributes to annual savings of nearly $8,000 for the village, funds that are wisely reinvested into essential resources.

Learn more about this inspiring initiative in the full article here.

Watch this testimonial video from South Sound Solar.

Three-Phase Made Simple

This exclusive article from APsystems was featured in the recent Special Report by Solar Builder magazine, “The Case for Microinverters in C&I Solar.” It explores the growing adoption of microinverters in commercial applications, particularly the native 3-phase microinverters that have revolutionized the industry. The article highlights the simplified wiring diagrams and streamlined installation process made possible by the 3-phase system wiring, along with key considerations for PV module selection, layout design, next-gen microinverters, racking choices, and gateway placement.

To access the full article and gain valuable insights into the considerations and best practices for 3-phase microinverter design and installation:

READ THE ARTICLE HERE

Special Report: The Case for Microinverters in C&I Solar

Technology is revolutionizing the design of commercial and industrial (C&I) rooftop solar systems, and one innovation leading the way is microinverters. With panels reaching unprecedented capacities of 600 W and beyond, and the emergence of UL 3741 compliant systems that provide more options for meeting NEC 690.12, microinverters are set to simplify C&I solar, just as they have transformed the residential solar sector. In this special report, Solar Builder magazine explores the advancements and benefits of microinverters tailored for C&I applications with APsystems.

Inside you’ll find:

  • Cost comparisons vs. string systems
  • Benefits beyond shade mitigation
  • Making three-phase “plug and play”
  • Safety advantages
  • How to reduce failure points
  • Adding battery storage

READ THE CASE HERE

Uninstalling and Reinstalling: Optimizing A Residential Solar Array in Indiana

APsystems Project Award Residential Winner – Apollo Solar

The owners of a house nestled in an Indiana suburb were dealing with a variety of issues. Firstly, due to a poorly installed chimney flashing, the roof sustained water damage and needed replacing. That meant that their current 45-panel solar array had to be completely removed. However, this obstacle quickly turned into an opportunity for Apollo Solar to install a much more efficient solar energy system for the homeowners. 

Due to regulations the neighborhood’s homeowner association had at the time of the first install in 2016, the panels were currently positioned on the shadier back side of the house. On top of that, the previous installer did not have the best practices, leaving the homeowners with loose cables, extended rails, odd panel layouts, and conduit resting on gutters. Now, in 2022, no homeowner association regulations were stopping Apollo Solar from placing the panels on the much sunnier front side—-and doing the job right this time.

With this house being located in shady suburbia, installing inverters at each panel to maximize output just made sense. By using APsystems microinverters, Apollo Solar was not only able to optimize their client’s solar panels but give them the power to monitor each panel individually and, ultimately, give them confidence in their solar system that they didn’t have before. 

Congratulations to Apollo Solar and their “45-Panel Uninstall-Reinstall” project for being awarded APsystems Residential Solar Project of the Year for 2022!

See more pictures for this project here.

Learn more about other 2022 project winners here.

Quixote Village: A community vision for sheltering the homeless

APsystems Project Award Non-Profit Winner – Quixote Communities in partnership with South Sound Solar and Olympia Community Solar

When Quixote Village first opened its doors in 2013 to some of Olympia, Washington’s most vulnerable citizens, it was not only the culmination of years of hard work from countless individuals but the realization of a community vision; to provide a safe space and permanent housing to Olympia’s homeless population. Originally established in 2007 as a nomadic encampment called Camp Quixote, the camp’s members would take refuge in the parking lots of local area churches for up to 90 days before having to uproot and find another church willing to offer their parking lot for the camp’s uses. The camp existed like this for nearly seven years, ever moving from parking lot to parking lot, before interested community members took things into their own hands, started a non-profit, and petitioned Thurston County to provide permanent space for the camp. The county answered and granted the property where Quixote Village now stands.

The village consists of 30 individual tiny houses, roughly 140 square feet in size which includes space for a bed, modest storage space for belongings and small furniture items as well as a toilet. Showers and kitchen facilities are housed in the on-site community building. There is also a media room and a community garden where the residents find a great deal of joy and pride.

From inception, there was always the hope of incorporating solar energy into the infrastructure of the village but it always seemed just out of grasp. That is, until Olympia Community Solar, another community non-profit, reached out to the Village earlier last year and offered to spearhead the initiative and take on the often complicated and tedious task of securing funding through a number of different grant channels. South Sound Solar was also an instrumental partner, not only in the installation but of the design of the solar system, as well as coordinating with the necessary utility companies.

The roof of each of the tiny house units now boasts four solar panels, each tiny house solar array producing roughly 1KW. Coupled with APsystems YC600 microinverters which are critical to the system’s specific architecture, and supplemented by panels on the roof of the community building, the solar system saves the village nearly $8,000 per year, money that is reinvested back into the village in the form of on-site mental health support, facility maintenance, better food, and other enrichment programs designed to foster and support the health and safety of the residents.

Happily, Quixote’s vision doesn’t end here. They’ve already opened a second community for homeless veterans in Pierce County in May of 2021 and have broken ground on a third village in Shelton, WA. Both of these new communities have planned solar as part of their energy infrastructure.

APsystems is incredibly proud to award APsystems Non-Profit Project of the Year for 2023 to Quixote Communities in partnership with South Sound Solar and Olympic Community Solar for their inspiring efforts at Quixote Village!

See more pictures for this project here.

Learn more about other 2022 project winners here.

Watch our videos about the project here:

Founded in 2007 by Kirk Haffner, South Sound Solar has been a pioneer in the solar industry for over 15 years. In a recent project, Quixote Village, South Sound Solar demonstrated its commitment to innovation and sustainability. Partnering with an architectural firm, Kirk ensured that the village was solar-ready, utilizing the latest technology to optimize energy production. With the help of APsystems' dual-channel microinverters, South Sound Solar was able to maximize efficiency, powering each of the 30 tiny homes with just four solar panels. The decision to make APsystems the primary microinverter was driven by reliability and performance, a choice informed by years of experience and a commitment to quality. Join us as we explore the success story of South Sound Solar and its dedication to providing cutting-edge solar solutions.
See the full video about the Quixote Village project here: https://youtu.be/cksOv2xQ0w4
Learn more about this inspiring initiative in the full article here: https://usa.apsystems.com/quixote-village/
https://southsoundsolar.com/

"My name is Kirk Hafner I'm the owner founder president of South Sound solar. I started the business by myself back in 2007, so 15 years in the industry. The Camp Quixote Village was named for the roving tent encampment that was going around the city. I worked with the architectural firm, as I had on previous projects, to make the village solar ready. We had room for four solar panels on each building if we got the old standard 60 cell panels. APsystems worked perfectly for that because the YC600 is a dual-channel microinverter, so we have two microinverters for four solar panels which was optimizing each tiny home, and there's 30 tiny homes. So that was the perfect design solution for this particular project. The other thing about APsystems that we really like is that they are dual-channel as opposed to single-channel so we have two microinverters not four. Another one, as I mentioned, is they can do single-phase 208 which is really important. They're a very reliable product so we're confident that we can get these set up and they work. We made the informed choice to make APsystems our primary microinverter. There were other microinverters in the market but we saw a lot of changes, we saw company financials shift. We weren't sure one particular microinverter manufacturer was still going to be in business. We saw a lot of product failures – it is really frustrating to get 20 microinverters on a site and have a high percentage (double digits) fail and so for us we made that informed choice, and we know there's a lot out there. We know of other installers in the area that also use the APsystems. They have a good product driver from the small residential scale microinverters to larger, essentially 4 channel or commercial, or even three-phase microinverters that we really like as well."

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Success Stories: Sound Sound Solar discusses the Quixote Village Project

APsystems Solar February 6, 2024 6:08 pm

303 Battery: When the global benchmark for sustainability is a Net Zero

APsystems Project Award Commercial Winner – Sustainable Living Innovations with Adkisson Electric

The Belltown district in downtown Seattle is the city’s most densely populated neighborhood. Known for its vibrant nightlife, it boasts some of the area’s best restaurants, galleries, and music venues. It now also has the distinct privilege of being home to the world’s first high rise apartment building given the highly coveted Net Zero designation by ILFI (International Living Future Institute). 

Designed and built by Sustainable Living Innovations, the fifteen story building is unironically located on Battery Street and represents the pinnacle of sustainable architecture and design. Sustainable Living Innovations uses its patented building technology, which incorporates all necessary mechanical, electrical, and plumbing infrastructure into wall panels that are fabricated off-site to specification. Once the wall panels are completed, they are delivered to the project site and placed, much like legos, on the building’s steel frame. This process has huge benefits including an accelerated time to market, as delays due to PNW weather are no longer a factor, as well as much less material and labor force waste when compared to traditional construction methods. 

The largest contributor to the energy savings is the use of 622 solar panels, expertly installed by Adkisson Electric, which adorn a large section of the building’s facade as well as the rooftop terrace and balconies. Using over 300 YC600 microinverters from APsystems and in conjunction with a combination of PV panels from QCell and Lumos, the on-site solar array generates roughly 210k kilowatt hours annually. The microinverters also come equipped with power factor control capability which allows for power factor adjustment according to utility, transformer, or battery requirements from the building’s energy storage system.

Making up the difference are several other energy saving systems that include a DC low voltage lighting system and a waste heat recovery system from SHARC that pulls heat from hot gray water and converts it back into energy that is then stored for future use.

The 303 Battery building is truly one of a kind but with Sustainable Living Innovations lighting the way, we can be sure it won’t stay that way for long. 

APsystems is very proud to award the APsystems Commercial Project of the Year for 2023 to Sustainable Living Innovations with Adkisson Electric for their revolutionary 303 Battery project!

 

See more pictures for this project here.

Learn more about other 2022 project winners here.

2022 APsystems Installation Award Winners

Another historic year at APsystems is in the books! The strides we made—including surpassing 3 GW of installed capacity—mark significant milestones for our company and the industry as a whole. But, of course, nothing would be possible without our partner distributors, installers, and end-users that continue to propel APsystems forward.

This brings us to one of our favorite parts of each year—showcasing our project award winners. It’s always a pleasure to see the creativity and ingenuity that people are pairing with our microinverter technology. The 2022 competition also comes with some extra excitement as we have added a nonprofit category to recognize a special organization. Thank you to everyone who took the time to enter your project. Each entry was thoroughly considered and appreciated, but we ultimately could only choose three winners.

Learn more about this project here

In the commercial category, Sustainable Living Innovations, Inc. partnered with A. Adkisson Electric to take home the top prize for their solar innovation on a 15-story apartment building. Apollo Solar sits in the top spot of the residential category for its meticulous work on a 45-panel deinstall-reinstall. And lastly, our winner in the non-profit category, South Sound Solar and Quixote Communities, for their ingenious work of installing solar panels in a tiny home community that focuses on providing shelter for the homeless. Congratulations to all of our 2022 APsystems Project Award Winners!

Learn more about this project here

A decade ago, we couldn’t have imagined—although we hoped—seeing such incredible solar work being done on such a large scale. Each year, we are surprised and elated by the way that the industry is utilizing our microinverter technology. If you have an exciting project upcoming or already underway this year, keep it in mind, as our 2023 awards will be here before you know it! 

Learn more about this project here

2021 APsystems Project Awards *Finally* Announced

2021 was a remarkable year. And while we may be fashionably late in announcing our 2021 project awards, we are thankful for those who submitted entries of their APsystems projects. While it’s certainly true that a degree of the anticipation we felt as 2021 progressed was due to the feeling that we might’ve seen the worst of the health crisis, the year was also galvanizing because of the new spirit of optimism in the fight against climate change, most aptly represented by our new administration’s aggressive approach to finding solutions to the problem. For many, 2021 felt like it could be a turning point.

For APsystems leadership and staff at work, 2021 was also important because technological advances in our chosen field have been substantial (think building-integrated solar), because sales were brisk due to adoption of microinverter tech, and because remarkable designs from our clients were more the rule than the exception. To highlight the work of our clients, we held our annual project awards contest, and we received a huge number of entries.

Learn more about this project here

While every one of the entries we received for the 2021 project awards contest was worthy, and the decision-making was not easy, we eventually decided that Ontario solar specialist Kajk Constructors should be honored with our residential project design award for their Lakes Park Project, and that Indiana firm A.G. Technologies should take home our commercial award for their El Paso project on behalf of Beck’s Superior Hybrids. We congratulate Kajk Constructors and A.G. Technologies for their ongoing work in the field, and their imaginative and important work using APsystems microinverters. And we thank all the companies who chose to enter the running for the 2021 APsystems Project Awards.

Learn more about this project here

We would also like to thank all of our customers who made a difference in advancing the cause for solar power in 2021, and advocating for this financially and ecologically rewarding alternative energy source as it grows in popularity and moves toward mainstream acceptance.

Diversifying and Proliferating Solar: Generosity and Innovation in El Paso, Illinois

APsystems had many worthy commercial entries for this year’s installation awards. But we must say that the winning project’s narrative is particularly complex and exciting. The elements of it are agriculture, North American-built panels, installer-designed proprietary and newly-patented components, and a substantial contingent of APsystems’ YC1000 inverters…all joined under the aegis of solar power.

The firm that took on the project, A.G. Technologies, is a beacon in the Illinois solar industry. Its guiding spirit, Jim Straeter, is familiar enough with the ecological and financial benefits of ‘following the sun’ to adopt it as a secular gospel. And its company sensibility is entirely in-house, with no subcontracting of project elements.

A.G. Technologies’ incorporation of micro-inverter units in their installations, and their use of North American-made panels, makes them both a premium installer and a profoundly meaningful influence in the field. The company that contracted the array, Beck’s Superior Hybrids, was familiar with A.G. Technologies before work began; the company already had three large systems up and running courtesy of A.G. when the El Paso site work launched. Like other forward-thinking companies, Beck’s is fully on board with the substantial economic and environmental rewards of using solar power for commercial operations.

The YC1000 inverters were tailor made for the A.G. Technologies El Paso project. Due to the unusually stout power capabilities of the unit, the A.G. team was able to conduct the installation without the use of transformers and connect directly to the grid; quoting Straeter, “Microinverters in general make designing a project easy and the per-panel reporting makes post-install maintenance much less costly, and improves up-time of the project.” Additionally, the YC1000’s 480v design keeps wire size costs manageable, resulting in considerable savings.

In the end, the Beck’s Superior Hybrids El Paso location employed 30 arrays with 26 Hanwha Q Cell 430w Duo panels, each array using 9 APsystems YC1000 inverters. And a special shout-out to A.G. and their proprietary designs, which were used to facilitate the project and improve performance: the patented Solarcam™ stand that supports each panel, and the side-mount trencher that makes installation safer, faster and cheaper.

We give three cheers to A.G. Technologies and Jim Straeter for their generosity of spirit, their gift for invention in creating the right tool, their advocacy for solar power as a direct competitor of utility-based power, and their remarkable innovation.

Learn more about other 2021 project winners here.

The Lakes Park Project: A Versatile Design, an Artful Installation

Kajk Constructors, an Ontario company riding the lucrative wave of solar energy specialism, accepted the challenge of this difficult residential roof installation this year, and their inventive answer to what has become a nagging question during such installations earned them the 2021 APsystems residential award.

Kajk is a thoroughgoing solar firm, and the spirit of meaningful change and damn-the-torpedoes development in an emerging market is evident from a look at their portfolio and project approach. Green from stem to stern, they promote energy conservation throughout the build process, utilizing what might be termed holistic sustainability, a full-circle methodology that even incorporates a build envelope to lower a project’s carbon footprint.

For this project — called the Lakes Park Project — the Kajk team confronted that nagging question yet again: how does one reconcile optimal placement and the access forethought necessary for easy upkeep, updates and repair when dealing with a roof installation? They selected APsystems componentry to help them formulate an answer.

The team reported that the APsystems QS1 quad-unit microinverters were the hardware solution to that perennial installation question, allowing them to come up with a plan for an array that “maximizes energy production” while sandwiching the QS1 microinverters between the two layers of panels, “minimizing both the risk of damage to the panels, and the time spent on maintenance.”

We congratulate Kajk Constructors for their artful design, their abundant experience with solar array installations, their spirit of conservation and iconoclasm, and their ability to use the versatility designed into APsystems’ componentry to its full potential.

Learn more about other 2021 project winners here.