Installing 10 panels on privacy fence line

I have limited roof space facing south, and that space is not really useable for solar, as there is a shade issue. Brainstorm... I am going to be replacing my south facing privacy fence (120') and I will be using 5"x5"x120" concrete square fence posts. I am planning on mounting 10 panels horizontally on a horizontal bar/pipe running along the fence, mounted to the cement posts. I also want to have the panels adjustable for the different angles of the sun throughout the year. So I am thinking that I will need to have the bottom of the panels also on a long bar/pipe or maybe sectioning off the bottom bar/pipe to make it easer to make the angle adjustments. Has any one attempted this type of installation yet? Anyone know of any mounting kits for this? Would also like to use some type of security mounting bolts/brackets just in case. The nice thing of having it on the fence line is that it is not visible to anyone outside the yard. This will be an interesting project for me.

Any thoughts and or suggestions are REALLY welcome!!

Don

Comments

  • vtmapsvtmaps Solar Expert Posts: 3,739 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Installing 10 panels on privacy fence line
    Mustang65 wrote: »
    I will be using 5"x5"x120" concrete square fence posts.

    How much of those posts are above ground? What I am getting at is that panels shouldn't be too close to ground level. One reason (doesn't apply to you in Florida) is to keep snow from building up and blocking the lower part of the panel. The other reason is that when mowing, you don't want debris from the mower hitting your panels. (and if you don't mow, you will have shading problems from weed growth)

    --vtMaps
    4 X 235watt Samsung, Midnite ePanel, Outback VFX3524 FM60 & mate, 4 Interstate L16, trimetric, Honda eu2000i
  • bill von novakbill von novak Solar Expert Posts: 891 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Installing 10 panels on privacy fence line
    vtmaps wrote: »
    How much of those posts are above ground? What I am getting at is that panels shouldn't be too close to ground level. One reason (doesn't apply to you in Florida) is to keep snow from building up and blocking the lower part of the panel. The other reason is that when mowing, you don't want debris from the mower hitting your panels.

    A third issue is that the bottom of the panel is close to the ground, rain will kick up dirt and tend to coat the bottom of the panels. And if they are close to touching the ground, weeds will grow, touch the bottom of the panels, and corrosion will result due to the constant moisture. (Learned this the hard way.)
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Installing 10 panels on privacy fence line

    Will your neighbor be able to strike his head on the panels, seeing as they will be on the fence? The sharp corners can leave bald spots on his head, and put blood in his eye in more ways than one. :D
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,183 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Installing 10 panels on privacy fence line

    a lot of the adjustable, with metal piping, are hinged in the middle of the PV panels, lifting the bottom, dropping the top. There is even a hi end motorized single , large pipe, model...
     
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  • Mustang65Mustang65 Solar Expert Posts: 42 ✭✭
    Re: Installing 10 panels on privacy fence line

    Good Points!!!
    The fence is a 6' privacy fence and you can not see through it. The tops of the panels will be a few inches below the top of the fence leaving the bottom of the panels at about 32" above the ground. There will not be any grass around the panels as we are are getting rid of all the grass and going to "Florida Friendly" landscape, will probably be pea gravel below them I know about the mounts for the center of the panels, but I want to be able to keep the panels flush against the fence line when in the down position. So the way that I want to go is to have the pivot point at the top of the panels. My neighbors is about 5'4" and would need a ladder to look over the fence, and the panels will be a few inches below the top of the fence. They call me Mr Wilson (Tim Allan's Home Improvement Show) as I am 6'2" and all they see is from my nose up when I am looking over the fence to talk to them. :-)
    The concrete fence posts (with 1/2" rebar inside) are 10' long and will be 6' above the ground.
    I wonder if the center mounted systems can be modified for a top mount? Hummm
    Don
  • westyd1982westyd1982 Solar Expert Posts: 85 ✭✭
    Re: Installing 10 panels on privacy fence line

    I have two panels mounted to my 8 foot high privacy fence. They have been in service for almost two years with no issues. I change the tilt for each season. I built my own rack system using Iron Ridge rails and clamps and heavy angle aluminium from Home Depot. I wanted these two panels in this location to shade my pool equipment in the summer and keep the snow off of it in the winter. I had no issues with the county inspector on this installation. Below are two pictures of my set up:

    Attachment not found.

    Attachment not found.
  • rgk1rgk1 Solar Expert Posts: 132 ✭✭✭
    Re: Installing 10 panels on privacy fence line

    I have mine mounted at but below the fence line. It is ground mounted instead of to the fence itself. Pros: nobody but me can see it. Easy to clean. Cons for me: have to be careful around it with the sharp edges (make sure kids don't run into it), birds like to sit on the fence and poop on them, backyard activities involving a ball have anxious moments.
    4-Risen 320 watt in series/parallel, 8-215ah 6 volt GC2 batteries in series, Exeltech 1100 watt/48 volt inverter, Tristar 45 MPPT controller.
  • Mustang65Mustang65 Solar Expert Posts: 42 ✭✭
    Re: Installing 10 panels on privacy fence line

    I would like to hinge them at the top and have the adjustable mount on the bottom connected to the fence also. This will allow me to drop them to the vertical position fast and easy in case we get the Florida golf ball size hail. I know that the glass should withstand the hail, but I would rather be safe than sorry. Westyd1982 has a design that may work for my system. Now to the drawing board. (Hmmmmm maybe remote control?)
    Thanks
  • westyd1982westyd1982 Solar Expert Posts: 85 ✭✭
    Re: Installing 10 panels on privacy fence line
    Mustang65 wrote: »
    I would like to hinge them at the top and have the adjustable mount on the bottom connected to the fence also. This will allow me to drop them to the vertical position fast and easy in case we get the Florida golf ball size hail. I know that the glass should withstand the hail, but I would rather be safe than sorry. Westyd1982 has a design that may work for my system. Now to the drawing board. (Hmmmmm maybe remote control?)
    Thanks

    For my system, I have a set of lower supports for winter, spring/fall, and summer. I just loosen the top bolts, and then replace the lower supports four times a year. It does take 2-3 people due to the weight of the panels, inverters, and rack (~120 lbs). Changing them is really quick (~15 minutes), but I only do it a four times a year.
  • Mustang65Mustang65 Solar Expert Posts: 42 ✭✭
    Re: Installing 10 panels on privacy fence line

    Ok, one last "Probably dumb question", before I start the project. I do not believe that there is any difference in receiving more sun as the angle will be the same (from the suns point of view), but I notice that the majority of solar panels are mounted in the vertical position versus the horizontal position. I am going to be installing mine horizontally along the top of the fence line, which I know will take a little more space along the fence, but it will keep them higher above the ground and closer to the fence. So that is my dumb question for the day.
    Don
  • SolarPoweredSolarPowered Solar Expert Posts: 626 ✭✭✭
    Re: Installing 10 panels on privacy fence line
    Mustang65 wrote: »
    Ok, one last "Probably dumb question", before I start the project. I do not believe that there is any difference in receiving more sun as the angle will be the same (from the suns point of view), but I notice that the majority of solar panels are mounted in the vertical position versus the horizontal position. I am going to be installing mine horizontally along the top of the fence line, which I know will take a little more space along the fence, but it will keep them higher above the ground and closer to the fence. So that is my dumb question for the day.
    Don

    Please do some home work on angle of incidence. Tilt horizontally or vertically doesn't matter, if it fits it fits.

    In my region (altitude/longitude) I get the best annualized PVwatts (sunhours to common folk) at 28*, find what works best for you with annualized production by plugging in the the total watts of panels, and assumed angle of incidence (array tilt) in to PVwatts calculator. You may not need to adjust month to month and the racking is weaker when its adjustable.

    Kindest Regards

    http://pvwatts.nrel.gov/
  • vtmapsvtmaps Solar Expert Posts: 3,739 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Installing 10 panels on privacy fence line
    Mustang65 wrote: »
    Ok, one last "Probably dumb question", before I start the project. I do not believe that there is any difference in receiving more sun as the angle will be the same (from the suns point of view), but I notice that the majority of solar panels are mounted in the vertical position versus the horizontal position. I am going to be installing mine horizontally along the top of the fence line, which I know will take a little more space along the fence, but it will keep them higher above the ground and closer to the fence.

    I think you are asking about mounting the panels in portrait vs landscape position. (you indicated in the first post that you would be able to adjust the tilt).

    It shouldn't matter (in Florida) whether they are portrait or landscape. In snow country there is an advantage to mounting them in landscape orientation.

    --vtMaps
    4 X 235watt Samsung, Midnite ePanel, Outback VFX3524 FM60 & mate, 4 Interstate L16, trimetric, Honda eu2000i
  • Mustang65Mustang65 Solar Expert Posts: 42 ✭✭
    Re: Installing 10 panels on privacy fence line

    Thanks vtMaps,
    That is what I was trying to ask, portrait or landscape position. Thanks for the reply, I did not think there was any advantage/disadvantage, but I thought I would ask anyway. I felt it was better to ask before starting the project than after the project was completed.
    Don
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