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colinmcc

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Posts: 157
Reply with quote  #1 
For this who don't know I'm in Osoyoos, Canada, just a few miles north of the BC-WA border. Two years ago when I had just installed my first PV panels,  a massive forest fire just south of me in WA filled the sky with smoke for weeks and I had no real idea as to how well my panels were working. Last year I installed more panels and we had clear sky summer so I had a good idea of production.

Now, this year BC has apparently 140+ fires burning and there is a 27 hectare fire just over the border in WA, it has been some weeks since we've seen a clear sky.

This year I've been keeping daily records of panel output, and on June 22nd, before the first onslaught of smoke, with a clear sky and a cold north wind had my best day of generation yet, 90.93kWh. Since the smoke started I've been fluctuating in the 51 to 82kWh range, and two days ago (Aug 4th) when the smoke in our area was thick enough to almost chew, it dropped to 48.76kWh for the day.

I haven't compared notes with other folk in the area as to how smoke has affected their PV production, but looking at a satelite image showing a plume almost all the way to the Great Lakes yesterday, makes me wonder how any other folk here are being affected?

I knew that cloud would be a problem, one of the reason's that I'm doing this in what is considered to be the sunniest parts of Canada, but smoke?? A learning curve for sure!

colinmcc

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Reply with quote  #2 
Yesterday Aug 9th, was even worse! Thick smoke fills the valley and my PV output dropped to 43.81kWh.....[mad]
SolarInterested

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Reply with quote  #3 
I feel for you Collin. I'm east of Jasper and we've had a few days of heavy smoke from the fires in the interior of BC. It does spread far and wide.
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colinmcc

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Reply with quote  #4 
hi solar interested,

Sorry 'bout our smoke! We've had 2 fires start in Osoyoos itself over the summer, both apparently started by folk in hotels going out for a smoke and throwing their fag-ends on the ground before they went back inside. I spoke with our local fire chief yesterday, apparently about 30% of the BC fires are believed to be cigarette started.. 

I wrote to Fortis yesterday (my hydro provider, who permit me to have grid tied PV). As part of the contract they state that the contract is to allow folk to generate part or all of their personal electricity need, but they reserve the right to throw you off the scheme if you produce more than you use within your property over the course of a 12 month period. I asked how they would view overproduction if we have a sunny summer as opposed to the 2 of 3 since I stated installing my PV where we have smoke filled skies. Also in a climate where winter can be clear skied or fogged in for months, winter production too is an unknown.

We could have series of cloudy winters and smoky summers followed by a blue sky year, and as result they can throw you off the net metering program because your system produced more that you use. A classic case of 'how long is piece of string'.
robertpelletier

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Reply with quote  #5 

Smoke from wild fires can cause a layer of ash to settle down on solar panels, blocking sunlight.This can cause a reduction in power production by up to 30%.This should be cleaned for better power.


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