what to do with the space under a ground mount system?

KenthKenth Registered Users Posts: 10 ✭✭
Hi everyone,a lot has happened since my last post. I started with a small off grid system. With help from this forum it is running perfectly. Since then I've added a grid tied 9.5 kw ground mount system. It's been running for 2 months and it also works great. My only gripe is the back of the system looks like under grand stand at a high school football stadium. I don't want to completely enclose it. I want the airflow to keep the panels as cool as possible. The front edge of the panels are 3 feet off the ground and back about 9 feet high. Partially enclose and use for garden tool and lawn mower storage? Get sheep and let them keep the weeds down? Any thoughts would be appreciated.
   I'm located in north central PA about 42 degrees north. If anyone needs an installer in this area the guy who did mine does excellent work.He did exactly what I wanted when he said he would do it. Very neat and professional job. Inspection by the power company and our electrical inspector went perfectly with no changes needed.Thanks in advance for any thoughts.
                           cheers kent

Comments

  • porch13porch13 Registered Users Posts: 65 ✭✭✭
    I park our ATVs under our array to keep them out of the sun.
    Northern Arizona...4050 Watt off-grid system - Outback FP1 - Rolls 605 in a 48V bank
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,800 admin
    Usually it is a good idea to limit access to the rear of your solar array... Between kids yanking at the wiring, and "kids" (baby goats) eating just about anything--At the very least, some sort of wire fencing helps keep your equipment safe, and the people/animals safe too (depending on what type of GT inverter you got, and the wiring of the array, you may be looking at 400-500 VDC working voltage at the array--And that can easily kill somebody.

    And the old issue of baseballs and rocks (thrown by mower)--Protecting your array is a good thing.

    Many have used the solar array over a plywood shed... If you get hot summers, the solar array does a good job of keeping the shed/contents cool...

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 9,583 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Weed cloth over the ground, 'cause you don't want to be trying to mow
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 6,224 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I have a goat that takes care of it. He can be mean also ;)
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Nevada mountain area
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • clockmanfranclockmanfran Registered Users Posts: 94 ✭✭✭
    Arrays need to be at least 1.3m meters from the ground to stop the sheep rubbing themselves on the bottom edge of the PV panels, sheep love to rub themselves. 

    Warning ….  Goats will eat anything, and they will climb up and onto anything.

    Here in Europe the local Regulations have been amended so that new PV arrays are now 1.4 meter clearance. That means that sheep can maintain the foliage underneath.  Local sheep farmers like the grazing, and on big commercial arrays the PV land owner even gets some small rent from the sheep owners.

    Used to be a big problem with ground mounted PV arrays because of weeds long grass etc, and weedkilling, or graveling or concrete, or fabric etc, was not fully utilising the land and had NO GREEN CREDENTIALS.

    Seems crazy to create renewable energy and then poison the ground.

    Photo .....

    My sheep amongst our trackers.





    Everything is possible, just give me Time.

    The OzInverter man. Normandy France.

    3off Hugh P's 3.7m dia wind turbines, (12 years running).  ... 5kW PV on 3 Trackers, (8 years) .... 14kW PV AC coupled using Used/second hand GTI's, on my OzInverter created Grid, and back charging with the AC Coupling and OzInverter to my 48v 1300ah batteries. 

  • clockmanfranclockmanfran Registered Users Posts: 94 ✭✭✭
    Here is one of our small static array's against a garden wall and sufficient clearance underneath for our sheep. 

    Everything is possible, just give me Time.

    The OzInverter man. Normandy France.

    3off Hugh P's 3.7m dia wind turbines, (12 years running).  ... 5kW PV on 3 Trackers, (8 years) .... 14kW PV AC coupled using Used/second hand GTI's, on my OzInverter created Grid, and back charging with the AC Coupling and OzInverter to my 48v 1300ah batteries. 

  • KenthKenth Registered Users Posts: 10 ✭✭
    Thanks for the replies.I honestly hadn't considered the safety issue.The grand kids are in their twenties and don't have kids of their own so I'm not worried about little people.No goats.I've seen what they can do to the hood of a truck.Sheep sounds good but my array may be too close to the ground in front.It's interesting that there would be regulations about clearance just for sheep.Europe often seems to be ahead of the US with thinking like this.I'm with the Clockman on weed killer---we don't use anything like that---organic gardening only.Just a side question---ever find WWII munitions in your pastures? I see you're in Normandy.Anyway I guess we're leaning toward a partial enclosure for storage or shade loving ground cover just to stop erosion.Thanks again for thoughts.
                        cheers kent
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 6,224 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Post a picture of your array. There are many ways to make an array safe from critters !  One is all wiring in metal or armored conduit and metal junction boxes. The solar panel wiring out of the panel can be routed in/on the rails and hidden to the JB.

    We do this for wild fire safety to get a pass form on site fire inspections in California. Lot of reasons to be safe for everyone.
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Nevada mountain area
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • clockmanfranclockmanfran Registered Users Posts: 94 ✭✭✭
    edited March 2020 #10
    Hi Kenth,

    Now you started me going.

    Re  …. WW 2 stuff. Yes normally each year I come across German ammunitions, its fun gardening!.

    Here is a blast grenade from the garden, yes its still live still got its PIN in it. Its a blast grenade. We used to notify the Police and the Army would come out and dispose of it. Now they go on the Autumn bonfire in the evening embers, some times they just phiiss, sometimes they go BANG.

    We have a single track road along side our east boundary, A Canadian Hawker typhoon staithed  2 German lorries and one caught fire and the Germans throw the ammunitions into our Field.  The hawker typhoon was shot down by a antiaircraft battery in the next village of Orville and the Canadian Pilot died, there is a memorial plaque to the Canadian pilot. 

    As the Falaise gap was only 6 miles away many German soldiers were escaping into our valley at nightime. To aid there retreat 3 German 88 guns/artillery were placed in our field, but as the old mayor replied to me 15 years ago, " I was only a boy then, but I remember there was thick fog for 4 days and the circling USA air force couldn't see the Guns, so the village was saved from being blown up, and the Guns had gone when the fog lifted" 

    Last summer we did some gardening deep excavations and found some German soldier medals where the 88's had been, we sold them at a local Military jumble.

    We even had a German soldier go AWOL and stayed here in one of our old barns, it seems that in civilian life he was a good ploughman, and all the local farmers around here would get him doing there ploughing as well, and everyone kept quiet. 

    The ex German soldier stayed here for 4 years after the war ended, until he was collected by the police and the German embassy representative. No one ever heard of him again.  "They just turned up and took him away, He was just a simple soldier and just did what he was told, but he was a good ploughman and we all liked him and he loved his horses".

    Its going to take another few more generations before things get sorted out here in Normandy, remarked to me one day by a local villager many years ago, "When the Germans were being pushed back, some of the French were worse than the Germans".  At the time he said for me not to say anything but sadly all my oral history sources have now died.

    I could go on and on and on ...……… 

    Blast grenade, with pin and cirlcip left.




    A few miles up the road, an abandoned TIGER TANK.  My youngest at the front calls it his Tiger tank, guy on left is a nutter visiting from Paris.


















    Everything is possible, just give me Time.

    The OzInverter man. Normandy France.

    3off Hugh P's 3.7m dia wind turbines, (12 years running).  ... 5kW PV on 3 Trackers, (8 years) .... 14kW PV AC coupled using Used/second hand GTI's, on my OzInverter created Grid, and back charging with the AC Coupling and OzInverter to my 48v 1300ah batteries. 

  • KenthKenth Registered Users Posts: 10 ✭✭
    Really interesting Clockman. Worst thing we ever find digging is some rusty barbed wire.I've attached a couple photos of my array.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,800 admin
    Kenth,

    Do you think you need any left to right diagonals? Perhaps off angle wind or any large animals that rub against the structure?

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • KenthKenth Registered Users Posts: 10 ✭✭
    My installer told me it was rated for 90 mph wind which I haven't seen here in more than 30 years.No animals except deer and an occasional bear. Dogs keep most of the riff raff out.By diagonals do you mean from top of the posts to bottom of next post?Thanks for replies.
    cheers kent
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,800 admin
    edited March 2020 #14
    You have front to rear diagonals, which is perfect... I was a bit concerned about "lateral forces" of some sort causing the array to rack or twist (at the rear posts, the front posts are not very tall, and probably would not bend with any normal loading).

    You may not need a diagonal between every pair of legs, but one or two may not be a bad idea for the rear tall posts (taller posts are easier to bend at ground level/joints, more leverage).

    "Boxes" and "Rectangles" are not structurally "sound" by themselves (they "rack" by bending the corner joints). If you add diagonals (top of one post to base of the next), the "triangles formed, are structurally sound and will resist lateral forces.

    https://www.askthebuilder.com/diagonal-brace-tips/

    Just giving some good pushes on the side of the array will tell you how stiff your present structure is (particularly at the top of rear posts).

    May not be any issue at all... I just like to be sure. It is difficult for me to guess at how stiff the installation is from a couple photos (I am not a structural engineer).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • HorseflyHorsefly Registered Users Posts: 441 ✭✭✭✭
    Yeah, as Bill says diagonals in both directions are basic civil engineering to stabilize a structure. I'm really surprised an installer would not put them in.  I designed mine with a bit of a change.  I put diagonals on the back from each of the two vertical supports up to the back horizontal.  That was mostly because the pipe lengths worked out better for the number of 10' pipes I needed to buy (Home Depot, rather than 20' from a plumbing supply).  Note that because I wanted the front edge a bit higher off the ground I put in another diagonal between the two front legs.

    Regarding the OP's question: Our cabin is in a pretty dry area, but the shade under the panels makes for a cooler area. The grass grows much taller there than the surrounding ground, but not enough to be a problem. We don't want to let the sheep inside the cabin fence though, mostly because of the additional "stuff" sheep leave behind.   :)


    Off-grid cabin: 6 x Canadian Solar CSK-280M PV panels, Schneider XW-MPPT60-150 Charge Controller, Schneider CSW4024 Inverter/Charger, Schneider SCP, 8S (25.6V), 230Ah Eve LiFePO4 battery in a custom insulated and heated case.
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 6,224 ✭✭✭✭✭
    The installer probably ran a panel / rack program and that is what it called out for required wind/snow loads. The AHJ then accepted it after checking it. I would hope.
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Nevada mountain area
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

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