- By: John Rountree
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In the summer of 2013, I designed a new 1 car garage to replace a dilapidated garage that was about to collapse.
I wanted the design to be compatible with our 1910 farmhouse, which we had renovated in 2008. I also wanted to experiment with a “building integrated photovoltaic system” (BIPV) using the Sanyo 200 watt bi-facial panels. The panels use a “glass-on-glass” PV laminate with the cells spaced slightly apart to let light filter into the space. I bolted them into 4×8 timber frame rafters spacing them approx. 1″ apart. I then used a foam backer rod and silicone sealant to make then “almost” watertight (almost, because in a heavy downpour, a small amount of water gets in). I built-up the roof around the panels using 2″ of rigid foam insulation so the the panels would be flush with the roofing.
There are 10 modules for a 2 kW system and my plan was to use the power they generate to charge an electric car I have yet to buy (maybe the new Tesla soon!!). The panels feed DC current to a Xantrex hybrid inverter with battery back-up which supplies power to the house in a grid failure.
Jim Basli of Basli Construction was my contractor and Encon Solar was my solar integrator
I am please with the way it turned out and hope to convert the garage into my office someday. Someone said to me when it was finished that this is too nice a space to store lawnmowers, bikes and yard stuff in.