Recently we published a blog post about Treehouse Village’s solar power (“Here Comes the Sun“). The post piqued the curiosity of several people who wanted to learn more about our solar installation, so we asked our resident expert, Wayne Groszko, to provide some more details. Here’s what he had to say:
The total capacity of all the solar power systems installed at Treehouse Village is approximately 236 kW (DC). As there are 30 households in the village, this averages to 7.87 kW per household, which is fairly close to the average size of solar power systems per household being installed in Nova Scotia in general (about 8 to 10 kW).
The whole solar power system at Treehouse Village is grid-tied and will be net-metered. However, in our Common House we will also install a grid-interactive and solar-interactive battery pack (18 kWh capacity) to provide backup power to the Common House in case of an emergency power outage. The solar panels on the Common House will be able to recharge this battery so emergency operations can continue as long as there is enough solar energy. The individual apartments at Treehouse Village will not have backup batteries, at least initially. In the event of an emergency power outage, we will use the Common House as our place to charge phones, keep lights on, maintain an internet connection, keep some essential food in the fridge and freezer, etc.
One great thing about Treehouse Village is that the buildings are so well insulated (Passive House Standard), that if a lengthy power outage occurs in the depth of winter, the individual apartments will stay above freezing temperatures (and likely above 10 degrees C) from the solar radiation that enters the windows and the heat generated by the occupants. While such a situation would be uncomfortable, at least the pipes won’t freeze and there will be little to no damage.
Wayne Groszko, PhD, is a sustainable energy researcher and consultant.