Rick here, solar n00b. Questions after 3 days of being a solar-bookworm.

Rick_NorCalRick_NorCal Registered Users Posts: 2
edited October 2020 in Solar Beginners Corner #1
I am at the early stages of my solar project and thought I say 'Hi' and post my initial assessment, ready to receive some constructive feedback :). I'll promise to not ask questions which can be easily gathered, this is more to ask for any rough pointers which may be helping me out to get on the right track. Thanks!

SFH, grid tied, small south facing roof surface in NorCal/Bay Area. Striving for a 6 panel 2.2kW micro innverter based system since our electricity usage is low (400-650kWh monthly average) and my neighbors tree is causing some shading in the winter month. I'd have room for a few more panels, but not much and I am attracted by the idea not needing a combiner box, since the outside area where the switch & combiner box would be installed is a highly visible area outside my house and I don't like the aesthetics. Same is true for EMT, it's evil. Joking aside, I am trying to run NM (12/2 Romex) inside the outside wall directly to the manual disconnect (via attic and roof junction box and attic).

I am considering DIY or supported DIY since I used to be an electrician in a previous life. The plan is to smart up as much as I can, submit the permit and take it from there. After that, I plan to order a 6 panel kit from wholesalesolar,com or a similar kit vendor, still have to do more research.
Trying to keep the material cost sub $5k. I also lean towards Enphase inverters but till have to do my homework on the panels and racking.

Questions - really appreciate pointers! 

1) I understand I do not need a combiner box as long as the system is 2.2kW or less. I could also picture the combiner can be spared for up to 2 x 2.2kW as long as two 110V 20 Amp wires are utilized and the manual switch accommodates.
2) Grounding: I am leaning towards running the ground through the same roof junction box as the 110V 20Amp wire. Groud would then continue through the attic where I may be able to bring it down to the crawlspace and then out to the grounding pole.[Edited: ruling ground outside]
3) I am assuming I need a separate ground pole. I already have right there from my cable company, not sure if I can reuse.
4) Panels: I am leaning towards landscape as it will allow to add on more panels later on and I'll be able to reduce shading a bit. It looks like landscape may be a bit more difficult to install as the rail spacing needs to be precisely equal to the width of the panels, not sure.
5) Running NM wire in my attic may trigger some CA codes, I need to figure out if I can simply just run like the existing wire over the top of the ceiling joist, or through bored holes when running perpendicular? I don't think the boring holes are needed.
6) If anyone has a recommendation for a Solar Installer in Northern California who could be hired for the trickle part of this install, please let me know.

Thanks for reading my post!


  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 9,583 ✭✭✭✭✭
    While Nor/Cal Bay area is not  a high lightning hazard zone, I dislike the equipment grounding being brought inside the building envelope.  I think the inverters are 240V and only need a neutral sense wire.
    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 ,

  • Rick_NorCalRick_NorCal Registered Users Posts: 2
    "While Nor/Cal Bay area is not  a high lightning hazard zone, I dislike the equipment grounding being brought inside the building envelope.  I think the inverters are 240V and only need a neutral sense wire."

    You are right, ok, planning on 100% outside grounding, need to runn it across ~6ft of asphalt roof, need to figure out how to secure it. Thanks!
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