Installing my new Evergreen 180's: (Help!)

rickeolisrickeolis Solar Expert Posts: 110 ✭✭✭✭
Wow these things are big!
I'm sure they'll do my solar project a myriad of good, but I can't figure out the right way to mount them. (I have 6 of these- about 5' by 3')
I drew a sketch of several options and finally have decided to put them together to where they will be one big group about 10 feet by 9 feet, and then mount that at an angle towards the south coming off of the back of my metal garage.
Should I create a frame to bolt them onto, or can they be bolted to each other creating their own frame?
It looks as though I can drill four (or more) evenly spaced holes between each of the panels own frame and run a bolt through those holes which will in theory create a strong frame member and do that again several more times which will make up a lattice of the 6 panels.
Then I plan on affixing this using a set of 6 door hinges to the top of the south facing wall of my metal building, and then using struts bolted to the bottom of the panel structure point it at an angle up towards the sun.
Then in winter I can lower it back down to a nearly vertical position to keep snow from building, and yet get the benefit of a lower angled sun path.
I think I should outline the whole thing in strips of framing metal creating one big rectangle that would help with the structural integrity too.
Sound reasonable?

-Rick-

Comments

  • Solar GuppySolar Guppy Solar Expert Posts: 1,963 ✭✭✭
    Re: Installing my new Evergreen 180's: (Help!)

    you MUST have a frame to support the panels, under no circumstances should you attempt to bolt the panel frames to each other as the only means of support, you destroy the panels for sure and void any warrantys.

    I like to use pool/porch screen alumimum 2"x2" available at your local home supply store for the support rails and use the 90deg clips to fasten the panel rail to the support rail. 2 rails per panel, along the long lenght of the panel, so you would have 6 rails ( 3 groups of two ).

    Forget the idea of hinges on one end and trying to lift the panels on the other, the weight involved is way more than a person could lift ( all the panels at once anyways ).

    You also need a way to mount the support rails to the roof, they should be lagged into rafters, not roof decking.

    Whatever you do, take you time, drawn it out and think it thru
  • rickeolisrickeolis Solar Expert Posts: 110 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Installing my new Evergreen 180's: (Help!)

    Thanks Red Cobra Delta Guppy!
    That's what I needed to know. There is a local solar installer, I think I night pick their brains on this too. They'll try to sell me something, but it's worth a try.
    I was looking at putting the hinge bolts through the studs on the building towards the top but not up to the roof.
    Neither the roof of my house or garage is good for mounting panels because of their shape.
    I have time and resources to plan this out. As expensive as these panels were, I REALLY don't want them getting damaged!

    -Rick-
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Installing my new Evergreen 180's: (Help!)

    Not to beat a dead horse but Sharp will not guarantee my panels if I don't use a minimum of three of the five bolt hole pairs (first, third and fifth), your warranty may specify similar requirements. I used UniStrut www.unistrut.com for my rack, it's very inexpensive, very strong, very versatile with available accessories, and available at the orange home improvement center.

    As for hinging, I say go for it, Unistrut has hinges and telescoping legs that you could build something from as well.

    It will probably take two or three people to safely adjust the angle though.

    Cheers,

    Bad Apple
  • rickeolisrickeolis Solar Expert Posts: 110 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Installing my new Evergreen 180's: (Help!)

    I had thought about unistrut but didn't know where to get any. I appreciate the 411!

    -Rick-
  • Ralph DayRalph Day Solar Expert Posts: 934 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Installing my new Evergreen 180's: (Help!)

    I have 4 Sharp 180's on unistrut hinged racking. To adjust the seasonal angle i bolted a piece of aluminum angle between the rack struts and use a Jack All farm jack to raise and lower. Place jack in position, take the weight, loosen all the rack nuts (pivots and leg tighteners) and move up or down to where desired. It's nice to have another set of hands while doing this too.

    A permanent marker line on the sliding leg (inside) makes it easy to find the same angle next year...jack up or down until you see the line and you're at a specified angle, that you put there before.

    Rlaph
  • n3qikn3qik Solar Expert Posts: 741 ✭✭
    Re: Installing my new Evergreen 180's: (Help!)

    I have 7 62W Uni-Solar panels on Uni-Strut mounts also. Was very easy to work with and cheeeeeeeep.
  • rickeolisrickeolis Solar Expert Posts: 110 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Installing my new Evergreen 180's: (Help!)

    Thanks guys, it looks like I REALLY need to get a hold of some of the Unistruts for this project!

    -Rick-
  • rickeolisrickeolis Solar Expert Posts: 110 ✭✭✭✭
    Installing my new Evergreen 180's:

    Update: I just got all 6 of my new Evergreen 180's installed at the home. I'm now done building a wood frame and stud leaning wall that comes off my garage, using a set of 4x4" poles set in the ground for support.
    I found a hardware store carrying a bunch of small 'L' brackets which I used to mount these panels. I then ran silicon between each panel to keep water out, so it's essentially one huge 9 foot by 10 foot wall at about a 30 degree angle towards the sun facing south.
    We have been getting usable 11 hours of sunlight this week. (7am - 8:30 PM, but 11 usable) and I am reading about an even draw of supply and usage in the mid-day hours supplying about 3/4 of our actual needs with the solar and wind circuit. This does not include our large fridge or electric dryer (which I am about to change to LP), but it covers all of our lighting, computer, phones, TV, Bose, Wii, dishwasher, disposal, and another real small fridge.

    -Rick-
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,332 admin
    Re: Installing my new Evergreen 180's: (Help!)

    Check the small fridge's power consumptions with Kill-A-Watt meter--From what I have seen, these small guys use almost as much power as a full sized Energy Star refrigerator.

    If you need a small fridge, it may be worth looking into converting a chest freezer into a fridge (basically, a new thermostat and possibly a drain channel around the side--beneath the evaporator coils bonded to the inner metal liner to capture condensation). It will probably use 1/2 (or less) the power and even have more storage space.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • rickeolisrickeolis Solar Expert Posts: 110 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Installing my new Evergreen 180's: (Help!)

    Hi Bill,
    It's a tiny thing only capable of holding two gallons of milk and a bit more. It's so the kids don't open the large fridge as often. I do have a kill-a-watt and read it months ago. I don't recall the exact reading, but it's not bad. At one time I was using a set of Harbor Freight 45 watt panels to run the fridge when it was in my garage.
    My next need is to read our large fridge with the meter, because I can't get the fridge out. We put in hardwood floors a while back and it trapped it in (oops), so I need to just get a day to empty it out, remove a set of cabinets above it and pull it out. Then I can read the amperage from the kill-a-watt on it and begin using it on the solar circuit as well.
    As for the dryer, I am looking to get a contractor to extend our LP gas lines to it and replace it with an LP style.
    I think that with another 1000 watts of solar panels that we can consider going off-grid, which is the goal. I have one 500 watt wind generator up and running and another to put into place, and we get LOTS of days of winds where I live.

    -Rick-
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,332 admin
    Re: Installing my new Evergreen 180's: (Help!)

    I would bet that you would be better off storing the milk in the main fridge (assuming Energy Star rated) and not using the small fridge to store the milk.

    The Energy Star government website has a pretty comprehensive listing of all fridge/freezers sold in the US over quite a few years--you can probably look up your current models and see how they compare.

    The Energy Star numbers seem to be pretty accurate (especially if you have warm summers).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • rickeolisrickeolis Solar Expert Posts: 110 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Installing my new Evergreen 180's: (Help!)

    You know Bill, I thing you're right. The kids still use the big fridge just as much, and my larger fridge is fairly new, but not one of the new super-efficient models. Though I plan on looking into that soon too.
    Thanks-

    -Rick-
  • newenergynewenergy Solar Expert Posts: 291 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Installing my new Evergreen 180's: (Help!)

    A couple more options

    http://www.unirac.com/

    and

    http://www.prosolar.com/index.htm
  • rickeolisrickeolis Solar Expert Posts: 110 ✭✭✭✭
    Installing my new Evergreen 180's:

    Thanks, but I've solved the install issue already! I built a wall and mounted these panels by means of several L-shaped brackets.
    Thanks to Bill's suggestion, I unplugged the small fridge last night and will have that much less draw off my solar system daily. Thanks Bill!

    -Rick-
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