Show Me Yours And I'll Show You Mine:)

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  • pleppikpleppik Solar Expert Posts: 62 ✭✭✭✭
    Day 1 of my Solar Installation

    Today was the first day of the solar installation on my home. They expect to be done by the end of the day Wednesday.

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    This is the "before" photo. We will have two arrays, each consisting of 8 410W TenK modules. One array will go on the garage roof facing SE, and the other will go on a SW facing section of the roof off the left side of the photo. The SW-facing roof is almost impossible to photograph from the ground because it's three stories above ground level.

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    The installers said they would arrive at 7 AM this morning, and they were ten minutes early (that's the first time that's ever happened to me). The first order of business was unloading the delivery truck with all the materials and taking inventory. In this picture is the stack of PV modules: those 410W modules are monsters, only a little bit smaller than a sheet of plywood. It's a bit of a challenge figuring out how to get them onto the roof safely. Our installer insists on two pairs of hands per module when moving them on the ground, and four pairs at all times when moving them on the roof.

    The TenK modules have a lot of the electronics built-in, including MPPT, self-check, and ground fault/load detection. As the installers were unloading and re-stacking each module, they would briefly turn it face up into the light. After a second or two, a little green LED on the module would start blinking, indicating that the module passed its self-test. So we were able to verify that each module was working as it came off the truck. Once the installation is complete, you will be able to verify the status of each module just by watching the blinking lights (different blink patterns indicate different conditions).

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    Finished working for Day 1. All the racking is installed, and tomorrow the real action begins. We're parking our cars outside for a couple days, since the garage has been taken over as a work/staging area.
  • pleppikpleppik Solar Expert Posts: 62 ✭✭✭✭
    Day 2 of my Solar Installation

    There wasn't as much progress today as we had hoped due to warm weather (lots of hydration breaks) and a minor snafu with one of the rack rails. It had been cut to the wrong length and will need to be replaced tomorrow.

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    This is our roof at the end of work today. Most of the AC wiring and the inverter buses are in place. The equipment attached to the left end of the center rack row is the inverter bus. There are 7 500W microinverters serving 8 410W modules on a shared DC bus for each of the arrays. Because the modules have built in MPPT, all the modules on the bus can be at a common voltage even if they are outputting different power levels. As the light level increases and the array powers up, the inverters will turn on one at a time to absorb the power. This helps keep the inverters operating near the peak of their efficiency curves even in low light, reduces the duty cycle on each inverter, and provides redundancy in case an inverter fails.

    The big grey junction box contains a DC circuit breaker. I was a little concerned that resetting this breaker would require a trip up to the roof and removing a PV module (and remember, these modules are huge). It made me feel a little better when the installer explained that because the electronics in the module are supposed to limit the DC current and shut down when there's a ground fault, if the breaker ever trips it would indicate a major fault which would need to be checked out anyway.

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    This is the roof penetration for the AC connection as viewed from inside the garage. This will terminate at a production meter for the "Made in Minnesota" production credit, but right now the other end of this cable is just dangling.

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    This odd bit of midair conduit carries the AC cable from the SW roof back to the garage where the breaker box and utility meters are located. Routing the cable this way saved several hours of work by the electrician in trying to fish the wiring through inaccessible walls, and it's far enough up from the roof that it shouldn't be bothered by snow or ice in the winter. This is tucked away in a corner of our roof which is only visible from one particular spot on our back deck, so we can live with how it looks.

    Our installers still expect to be basically done by the end of the day tomorrow, though there will still be some cleanup details, inspections, and installation of the meter to take care of over the next couple weeks.
  • pleppikpleppik Solar Expert Posts: 62 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Day 3 of my Solar Installation

    We had good weather for working on the roof today: cool and overcast but no rain. The installers put in a heroic 13-hour day and got the project wrapped up (mostly).

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    Here are the first modules getting lifted onto the roof. This was the first residential installation this company has done of the 410W panels (and, I am told, only the third residential rooftop installation of these modules anywhere--these have been mostly marketed for flat roof or ground mounted systems until now). If it looks like they are trying to figure out the best way to get them on the roof, that's about right. These are at about the limit of what you can move around on a roof by hand, and the installer told me that for future installations they're going to consider renting a lift or crane for a day.

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    The completed installation over the garage. An identical array sits on the upper-level roof off the left side of the photo, but can't be easily seen from the ground. 6.56KW total in 16 modules.

    Of course the advantage of these huge modules is that once you horse them into place, there's fewer bolts to tighten, fewer cables to connect, etc. With 250W modules there would have been 26 modules to get the same capacity, and correspondingly more stuff to fuss with to complete the installation.

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    Our wall of meters, with a blank place for the production meter which the power company will supply when we complete the final inspection. The two existing meters are for our the home and for the geothermal HVAC (which is metered separately because it gets a special rate). The power company also gets a special disconnect switch they can use to completely isolate our solar panels from the grid for safety. Even though the solar inverters are supposed to stop producing power if the grid ever goes down, the power company is understandably paranoid about keeping their linemen safe.

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    And a third set of breakers which disconnect the solar production. All told there are three ways the system can be shut down: automatically if there's a blackout, using these breakers, and with the power company disconnect. Definitely some belt-and-suspenders going on here.

    There are some minor cleanup details left to be done, and we have to pass three separate inspections (in sequence!) before we can start producing power: an electrical inspection, a building inspection, and a power company inspection. I'm told that the power company is the longest wait, and they won't even schedule it until the other two inspections are done. It's likely to be a few weeks before we're fully activated.
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 4,284 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Day 3 of my Solar Installation

    Nice, those panels really are monsters!
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Prosine 1800 and Exeltech 1100, ForkLift battery. Off grid for @13 of last 14 years. 1000 watts being added to current CC, @2700 watts to be added with an additional CC.
  • pleppikpleppik Solar Expert Posts: 62 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Day 3 of my Solar Installation
    Photowhit wrote: »
    Nice, those panels really are monsters!

    Now we're just waiting for the utility to install the new meters. We passed the building inspection yesterday and the electrical on Monday.

    For what it's worth, I understand the cost of installing solar is much lower in Europe, and part of the reason is less red tape.
  • Iron BranIron Bran Registered Users Posts: 10
    Re: Show Me Yours And I'll Show You Mine

    Home system - XW 4024, dual XW 60 MPPT charge controllers, 200Ah 24V Iron Edison battery

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  • DMJ72DMJ72 Solar Expert Posts: 125
    Re: Show Me Yours And I'll Show You Mine

    Updated the setup @ Home :

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  • CALLDCALLD Solar Expert Posts: 230 ✭✭
    Re: Show Me Yours And I'll Show You Mine

    It's a completely amateur DIY system, but has served me relatively well over the last 4 months and is still going! Need some proper deep cycle batteries though. The smaller batteries serve as a reserve "booster system" that can be switched on via a 60A breaker if needs be.

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  • 11JAGAN11JAGAN Solar Expert Posts: 34 ✭✭
    System Detail:
    solar panel:3 x Kyocera solar KD 220
    SCC:victron blue solar Mppt 30A/100V-12v/24v
    Battery bank : 2 x ritar 200Ah
    Inverter charger : Poweron 1500va/24v
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  • AllTradesAllTrades Registered Users Posts: 1
    I am really new to off grid solar. After some trial and error and a lot of online research I have finally built my small off grid system.
    4 x 320 watt suniva panels ran series/parallel
    8 x 6v 232 ah Interstate deep cycle batteries ( ran series/parallel as a 24v system)
    Outback fm-60 charge controller
    Samlex 1000watt pure sine wave inverter

    fun... lots.

    here is a link to the youtube video I made on how I sized and built my system.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XlK-B-CgUwY



  • stillchillinstillchillin Registered Users Posts: 42 ✭✭
    18- 235 W Kyocera panel, 12- 4-KS-25PS Rolls 1350 Ah, Magnum MS4448PAE, ME RC50, ME AGS, Outback FM 80, Generac 8KW LP generator, 6.5 Honda Portable generator
  • stillchillinstillchillin Registered Users Posts: 42 ✭✭
    this is about 2 1/2 years ago, we are going on our 5th year and could not be more pleased living here on Willard mt. Will post more recent photos when I've got a little more time.
    18- 235 W Kyocera panel, 12- 4-KS-25PS Rolls 1350 Ah, Magnum MS4448PAE, ME RC50, ME AGS, Outback FM 80, Generac 8KW LP generator, 6.5 Honda Portable generator
  • Lucky 777Lucky 777 Registered Users Posts: 1
    edited May 2016 #314


    I started this this battery backup as an experiment, it was a fun project and I learned a lot. The batteries are C&D 180ah 12 vol AGM telco batteries in a 24 volt configuration.  The chargers are all AC powered, I don't have any off grid capabilities yet.  The only two items on the rack I actually bought were the inverter and battery desulfator.  I am in the communications business and have access to a lot of "junk".  This spring I just had a 9.1kw grid tie system installed.  I have 29 LG 315 watt panels and am using the SolarEdge inverter system.  So far it has exceeded my expectations.
  • BenABenA Registered Users Posts: 15 ✭✭
    nu2solar said:
    My husband and I are coming up on our 3 year anniversary of building our off grid berm home. We are now in the stages where we can tweak and hopefully perfect what we have done.

    I would love to see pictures of other off grid homes/cabins/shops. Please post what you have and the equipment you use. I think this could be very helpful for people interested in going off grid.


    You folks have such beautiful property.  Maybe one of these decades.   :-)

    I've been helping a farm-owning relative put together a system but I'm making tons of mistakes .... not enough initial planning.  So, two steps forward, one step backward.  ouch.   :-)

    Here's the current equipment setup in a shed:









    Today, ~ 2pm.



  • offgridmojooffgridmojo Registered Users Posts: 6 ✭✭

    Hello all!

    This is my work in progress, 24 panels.



    4 VFX3648s



    and 1600 ah of battery



    We just finally got everything ready and replaced 24 Interstate batteries.

    So far, so good!

    ~Moses
  • kamchukakamchuka Registered Users Posts: 52 ✭✭
    Heres our place. Ball'n on a budget! some of these set ups are unimaginable to me. so clean and so much power. Moses, is that for 3 houses? lol
    my battery room is under construction....dont judge!
    700 watts pv (building on) on poles, off grid 60a mppt, magnum 2k 12v msw, 1400 ah forklift battery (rewired to 12v), 8k diesel gen for house. honda eu6500, 2x 8D, coleman 800w inv for shop, honda 5k for well (pumps to 1000g cistern), ryobi 2k suitcase for mobile ops. 
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