All of the solar collectors and expansion tanks are mounted on the roof at the Fort Myers Broadway Apartment Solar Hot Water project. This photograph of the 20 solar collector systems on the north building is taken from the roof of south building. All of the collector systems are mounted on aluminum rails attached to the roof with non-penetrating S-5 Clamps. Today we started mounting photovoltaic (PV) panels that will run the integrated control modules and circulation pumps. We are also starting to connect the FAFCO crosslinked polyethylene tubing so we can begin filling the collectors with heat transfer fluid tomorrow. The progress has beenRead More →

I get asked all the time, “how’s business.” I tell people it’s good, but that’s hard to quantify sometimes. Then someone asked me this weekend how many people have solar products in Southwest Florida. When I told them it was tens of thousands, they could not believe it. Most of these systems are solar pool heating or solar water heating systems, but increasingly solar electric systems are mainstream due to plummeting prices. Today at work I was mapping over 13,000 customer locations in Southwest Florida where my employer has solar products installed. It’s awesome when you come across a street that has four homes inRead More →

I could post a spectacular solar tubular skylight job just about every day on SolarSouthwestFlorida.com. Rather than inundate you, I decided only to pick out a select few. I thought this kitchen lit up by an 13 inch skylight looks amazing! This light really makes the marble countertop stand out and provides tremendous light at the sink and range for daytime kitchen work. The kitchen has no windows, so a tubular skylight was a great way to bring natural and pleasing light into this previously dark space. The higher ceiling allows for the use of a larger light without making the space overly bright. SmallerRead More →

The Broadway Apartments affordable housing project in Fort Myers is going solar, and panels are starting to be placed on the south facing roofs. Each of the 40 dwelling units will have a solar water heating system that will save water heating costs for the residents. Each system contains two Fafco Revolution 500 Series solar collectors totaling 48 square feet of collector area. Inside each apartment is an integrated control module that circulates a heat transfer fluid to the roof mounted collectors, heating the domestic water supply with a heat exchanger. Fafco Solar is on the roof this week and next installing the panels. TakeRead More →

We’re working on a solar energy project in Alva, FL. The first thing my customer said when he saw his ground rack for the 11kW solar electric systems was, “Wow, it’s big!” I responded, “No, it’s powerful!” The truth is, ground racks for solar panels can be quite robust, especially in Southwest Florida where required design wind loads can be as high as 150 mph. This particular system is a Unirac U-LA (Large Array) design using 3 inch galvanized steel pipe and 3 inch square aluminum tubing for the main substructure. The solar panels will sit atop Unirac HD rails and will be bottom clampedRead More →

Solar tubular skylights never cease to amaze me. Solar lighting is somewhat of an art form. Determining where a light should be placed and how large of a light to install takes experience.  This light was artfully installed centered with the cabinetry and at the entrance to the kitchen. It highlights the wood flooring beautifully. There are a variety of diffusers available, and UV filters eliminate fading of furniture and surfaces. Since this room is in the middle of the home, and traditional skylights are not an option, a solar tubular skylight was a natural choice to bring natural light into the space. Absent thisRead More →

Today was an exciting day at Naples Botanical Garden. Fafco Solar started installing the photovoltaic modules on the roof in a phase that is expected to take about three days. The guys were “treated” to a light breeze to cool things down despite the sunny weather. It’s still hard work and very hot up there… I’m very impressed with these SolarWorld SW245 Monocystalline modules. These have the Version 2.0 frame at just 31mm thick for a sleek appearance. The new glass coating is gorgeous! This job is a great opportunity to cross-train employees who are normally assigned to Solar Pool Heat installation or the serviceRead More →

The FGCU Naples Botanical Garden Photovoltaic System installation is progressing well ahead of schedule. Decent weather has allowed this exciting solar installation to progress through the mounting system and microinverter installation in under one week! Solar modules will begin to be installed on Monday, and this 40+ kilowatt solar array should be substantially complete by the end of next week. I can’t say enough about the guys on the roof. They are working in extremely hot and humid conditions on a very reflective roof, but they want to impress the owner (FGCU), facility operators, and prime contractor (Manhattan-Kraft Construction). Of course, there was lots ofRead More →

I had my first taste of solar energy living off-grid in the Caribbean in 2000. This old system still exists in some form, and it brings back great memories. It’s mounted on the roof of a farm building in which I had an “apartment.” In the Caribbean, solar water heating tanks are integrated with the collector. Storage is minimal. Production is great. The two larger photovoltaic modules are Astropower 110w modules used to charge four Trojan T-105 batteries which provided power for a pump to pressurize the water system. I think there was also a small Trace 1200w inverter for lighting. The other module looksRead More →