Rawlins' Pole Mount System

Snowy Range, WY

The Challenge:

Though positioned at 7,500 ft in the foothills of the Snowy Range in southern Wyoming, Chip Rawlins' carefully engineered greenhouse can keep tomatoes growing through the dark of winter. In 2004, Creative Energies installed solar on Chip's previous home and now, he was ready to install solar on his current home too. Chip wanted to meet all of his electrical needs from the sun, knew he did not want solar on his roof, and also knew that snow piles up deep in those high-altitude winters.

The Creative Energies Solution:

Working closely with Chip, and starting with a system plan that he had developed himself, Creative Energies fill in the remaining details and specified the equipment that best met his circumstances. The solar array is mounted on two large pole mounts. These mounts are tall enough to avoid substantial winter-time losses due to snow build-up. Each mount has a pivot and tilt angle adjustment setting so that Chip can adjust the tilt angle seasonally to maximize year-round energy production.

A year after the systems commissioning, the results were in. Chip's system was producing an incredible 1,840 kWh per kW of solar capacity. His high altitude setting gives him year-round cold temperatures which helps increase panel efficiency. Long months of snow-covered ground give him a boost from reflectance and the seasonal adjustment of the tilt angle adds at least 5% to the annual generation.

The System:

  • 4.1 kW residential grid tie PV system
  • 18 REC 230W solar modules
  • 2 Direct Power and Water Top-of-Pole mounts
  • 2 SMA High Frequency 200 W inverters

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