Viktor
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Do-It-Yourself Solar System

Sun Dec 16, 2012 9:57 pm

It appears that there are several members here over the course of the years that had researched and built their own or had ordered different solar systems. I would be thrilled to hear from them in regards to what would they have done differently nowadays.
Me personally - I am trying to figure out how to offset my carbon footprint and become as green as possible. My electric provider doesn't participate in any of the rebates programs so I am trying to built as big of a system as I can and make it financially viable.

So first - location - would like to stay away from the roof - was told in the past that I would have to remove my current concrete shingles, install asphalt ones and than put solar panels on top of them - seems irrational to me and would add additional cost to install. I do have south facing patio and was contemplating building some kind of a roof there. I had seen these - http://www.lumossolar.com/solar-product ... -carports/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; and decided to try and build similarly looking awning over my porch.

Second - size of the system. My yearly consumption is around 11 000 kwh, plus my newly added Leaf at around 4 000 kwh per year - used that calculator - http://sroeco.com/solar/calculate-solar ... do_i_need/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; - should build array ranked at around 11 kwh. Now I need to match available square footage with the above mentioned production. My understanding - 100 sq feet of the panel would generate 1 kwh of energy - and some of the newest panels would go up to almost 2 kwh per 100 sq feet - but would most likely be considerably more expensive. Have construction guys coming this week to make the measurements and figure out square footage of my patio roof - and than try to figure out which panels to choose from.
Last edited by Viktor on Mon Dec 17, 2012 12:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

Viktor
Posts: 112
Joined: Sun Dec 02, 2012 2:56 pm
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Re: Do-It-Yourself Solar System

Sun Dec 16, 2012 10:04 pm

Third - orientation of the panels - would be nice to come up with a way to adjust the angle of the whole roof at least twice a year - for the summer at 12 degrees angle and for the winter at 60 degrees - that is based upon my location at Denver, CO and the guide here - http://www.macslab.com/optsolar.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;. Not sure whether its' a viable solution since it would most likely increase the price of the roof significantly with unknown to me improvement in production. That's were I am at the moment.

Fourth - choosing of the actual hardware - a lot of it going to depend on my most likely limited roof space. At the same time I woud like to hear about ranking of the panels based upon their warranty, years of production, manufacturer's reliability etc. Also - what kind of inverters, wiring, metering should we choose for the project?

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EVDRIVER
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Re: Do-It-Yourself Solar System

Sun Dec 16, 2012 10:54 pm

Viktor wrote: Second - size of the system. My yearly consumption is around 11 kwh, plus my newly added Leaf at around 4 kwh per year - used that calculator - http://sroeco.com/solar/calculate-solar ... do_i_need/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; - should build array ranked at around 11 kwh.
I think you mean daily not yearly.

Viktor
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Re: Do-It-Yourself Solar System

Sun Dec 16, 2012 11:45 pm

Oops - thank U - edited

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Nubo
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Re: Do-It-Yourself Solar System

Mon Dec 17, 2012 1:31 am

I was misled by the subject title.

Image
I noticed you're still working with polymers.

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mwalsh
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Re: Do-It-Yourself Solar System

Mon Dec 17, 2012 6:47 am

Nubo wrote:I was misled by the subject title.
:D
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RegGuheert
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Re: Do-It-Yourself Solar System

Mon Dec 17, 2012 8:21 am

Viktor wrote:It appears that there are several members here over the course of the years that had researched and built their own or had ordered different solar systems.
I built our system using a kit from an online company that seems to no longer exist. My experience was a good one and we are pleased with the outcome. Our Enphase-based system is linked in my signature below.
Viktor wrote:I would be thrilled to hear from them in regards to what would they have done differently nowadays.
I would do the same thing as before, although I would now choose the new Enphase microinverters that have higher power capability and the same 25-year warranty that the panels come with. I would also move up to about 260W 60-cell panels if they are affordable.
Viktor wrote:Me personally - I am trying to figure out how to offset my carbon footprint and become as green as possible. My electric provider doesn't participate in any of the rebates programs so I am trying to built as big of a system as I can and make it financially viable.
We got the federal rebate and netmetering, nothing else.
Viktor wrote:So first - location - would like to stay away from the roof - was told in the past that I would have to remove my current concrete shingles, install asphalt ones and than put solar panels on top of them - seems irrational to me and would add additional cost to install. I do have south facing patio and was contemplating building some kind of a roof there. I had seen these - http://www.lumossolar.com/solar-product ... -carports/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; and decided to try and build similarly looking awning over my porch.
Please see below discussion about elevation angle.
Viktor wrote:Second - size of the system. My yearly consumption is around 11 000 kwh, plus my newly added Leaf at around 4 000 kwh per year - used that calculator - http://sroeco.com/solar/calculate-solar ... do_i_need/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; - should build array ranked at around 11 kwh. Now I need to match available square footage with the above mentioned production. My understanding - 100 sq feet of the panel would generate 1 kwh of energy - and some of the newest panels would go up to almost 2 kwh per 100 sq feet - but would most likely be considerably more expensive. Have construction guys coming this week to make the measurements and figure out square footage of my patio roof - and than try to figure out which panels to choose from.
Our system produces just under the 15MWh/year that you are quoting. You may be able to get away with a little smaller size due to higher elevation, but probably not much.
Viktor wrote:Third - orientation of the panels - would be nice to come up with a way to adjust the angle of the whole roof at least twice a year - for the summer at 12 degrees angle and for the winter at 60 degrees - that is based upon my location at Denver, CO and the guide here - http://www.macslab.com/optsolar.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;. Not sure whether its' a viable solution since it would most likely increase the price of the roof significantly with unknown to me improvement in production. That's were I am at the moment.
We had a seesaw type of mount built from galvanized pipe for our off-grid system that we built 13 years ago. It allows us to change the elevation of our array twice each year, similar to what you are wanting to do. That said, that array was only 2880Wp. I do not think I would want to build and adjust a 10kW array as you will likely need due to the size, cost and amount of adjustment that will be needed twice a year. My recommendation would be to pick a fixed angle which gives you optimum year-round production and build a shed under it. 30 degrees elevation tends to work well at lattitudes like ours and cleans itself fairly well when it rains.
Viktor wrote:Fourth - choosing of the actual hardware - a lot of it going to depend on my most likely limited roof space. At the same time I woud like to hear about ranking of the panels based upon their warranty, years of production, manufacturer's reliability etc. Also - what kind of inverters, wiring, metering should we choose for the project?
I'm a little confused, as you previously said you want to stay away from the roof.

We used Sharp panels built in Kentucky and Enphase inverters built in China. We are happy with both. Roof racking is from Unirac, and this has worked well for us, also. I know nothing about concrete shingles, so I cannot comment on them. We replaced our entire roof with high-quality asphalt shingles just prior to installing our PV system.

I hope this is helpful to you. Please let me know if you would like more details or pictures, etc.
RegGuheert
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lukati
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Re: Do-It-Yourself Solar System

Mon Dec 17, 2012 8:51 am

Nubo wrote:I was misled by the subject title.
Lovely!

Viktor
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Re: Do-It-Yourself Solar System

Mon Dec 17, 2012 10:34 am

Can U comment on the financial part of your system - do U see it paying for itself within 10 years or so?

I meant roof over the patio - basically just as little of support as I need to accomodate the panels and potential snow accumulation. Speaking of which - most would probably use wood for the base to place the panel on? How many wires do I need to hide up there? Do I just use regular metal tubing to protect the wires? What size electric cables do we need?

Hardware wise - what meters do U use - specific models if possible? Apparently some of them would make U pay for the electricity U generate ((

Issues of microinverters vs the old ones - why micro?

And at the end - can U post pictures of your system?

QueenBee
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Re: Do-It-Yourself Solar System

Mon Dec 17, 2012 12:28 pm

Viktor wrote:Can U comment on the financial part of your system - do U see it paying for itself within 10 years or so?

I meant roof over the patio - basically just as little of support as I need to accomodate the panels and potential snow accumulation. Speaking of which - most would probably use wood for the base to place the panel on? How many wires do I need to hide up there? Do I just use regular metal tubing to protect the wires? What size electric cables do we need?

Hardware wise - what meters do U use - specific models if possible? Apparently some of them would make U pay for the electricity U generate ((

Issues of microinverters vs the old ones - why micro?

And at the end - can U post pictures of your system?
I have a heavily shaded system in WA and through a combination of the federal and state incentives will still have a break even point well under 10 years.

The M215 Enphase Microinverter has a 25 year warranty/etc. compared to the previous generation M190/M210/etc.

The Enphase microinverters track their power production themselves and with an Enphase Envoy they report it to the internet.

As for meters, the utility company handles installing the proper meter. Here are the details on net metering in Colorado: http://www.dsireusa.org/incentives/ince ... Code=CO26R" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Here is my system: https://enlighten.enphaseenergy.com/pub ... /2Kkg31401" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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