Advice on shading an inverter

My solar contractor is wrapping up the install of a 6.21 kW system. Since space inside my house is limited and the garage is detached, they installed the inverter on the west-facing wall next to the power meter. I am in Portland, OR so the inverter will get direct sun during the late afternoon. They are now being told by the Energy Trust of Oregon that they must shade the inverter or move it inside the house.

A picture of the inverter:

http://imgur.com/a/kw2yq

Their solution is to put a little "roof" over the inverter. It's not a design that I find very attractive:

http://imgur.com/a/5Jnou

I came across this solution, which could work. However, I suspect that it's no longer manufactured (and is specific to an older inverter model). 

http://evolvedenergy.bigcartel.com/product/sunny-shade-sb

Does anyone have good ideas? The inverter is a Sunny Boy 7.0 if that makes a difference. I'm pretty sure the 7.0 has more than enough power to handle the needs of the array since they originally were going to provide a 5.0 (I don't fully understand why they ended up installing a 7.0 instead of 5.0). 

I do like the idea of fabricating something out of outdoor-grade sheet metal that bolts onto the inverter in some fashion to provide shade. But, I'm not sure how expensive this would get. A pre-existing solution would probably be more palatable to the contractor. 

Comments

  • EstragonEstragon Posts: 2,618Registered Users ✭✭✭✭
    I would check with a local stainless steel fabricator, the sort who make up commercial restaurant equipment. It's no more complicated than a range hood or prep table, and could be made of a pretty light gauge SS.

    Another thought that might look nicer on the wall is copper roofing over a wood frame. Specialty roofing supply might even have an off-cut they could sell cheaper.
    Off-grid.  
    Main daytime system ~4kw panels into 2xMNClassic150 370ah 48v bank 2xOutback 3548 inverter 120v + 240v autotransformer
    Night system ~1kw panels into 1xMNClassic150 700ah 12v bank morningstar 300w inverter
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Posts: 3,891Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    The inverter is not rated for sun or blowing rain. It is the wrong type for the install unless, as you now know you address the issue.
    Seems funny that the installer does not know this. It is about the most common inverter in the world now.

    You can have the installer look up a NEMA 3 rated enclosure (not cheap) or do what Estragon suggested.

    He probably used a 7 KW inverter because the cost is not much more and he can install 10KW of solar later.
    Two kinds of people, those who want solar,  and those who want more :)

    Good Luck!
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • BradBBradB Posts: 3Registered Users
    edited April 2017 #4
    The inverter is not rated for sun or blowing rain. It is the wrong type for the install unless, as you now know you address the issue.
    Seems funny that the installer does not know this. It is about the most common inverter in the world now.

    You can have the installer look up a NEMA 3 rated enclosure (not cheap) or do what Estragon suggested.

    He probably used a 7 KW inverter because the cost is not much more and he can install 10KW of solar later.
    Two kinds of people, those who want solar,  and those who want more :)

    Good Luck!
    The enclosure is NEMA 3R rated. Maybe you're thinking of an older model?

    http://files.sma.de/dl/27676/SB30-77-1SP-US-40-IA-xx-14.pdf

    See page 71.
  • BradBBradB Posts: 3Registered Users
    Estragon said:
    I would check with a local stainless steel fabricator, the sort who make up commercial restaurant equipment. It's no more complicated than a range hood or prep table, and could be made of a pretty light gauge SS.

    Another thought that might look nicer on the wall is copper roofing over a wood frame. Specialty roofing supply might even have an off-cut they could sell cheaper.
    Thanks. I sketched up a design and sent it to several fabricators. 
  • dennis461dennis461 Posts: 106Registered Users ✭✭
    Let the installer put up what is needed for inspection, take it down later (if the inverter is truly 3R rated)
    Camden County, NJ, USA
    19 SW285 panels
    SE5000 inverter
    grid tied
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