Viktor
Posts: 112
Joined: Sun Dec 02, 2012 2:56 pm
Delivery Date: 10 Dec 2012
Location: Centennial, CO

Re: Do-It-Yourself Solar System

Mon Dec 17, 2012 1:59 pm

And that particular microinverters is suitable for those high powered 250wt panels. I had seen them at approximately 1$ per watt.

My issue - I want frameless panels to go on top of my porch - its more esthetically pleasing, they would need to be able to filter sun also - to provide needed shade. I had spoken today with this people - http://www.lumossolar.com/content/pdf/L ... y-2012.pdf" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; - they quoted me the ball park of 5$ per watt installed . They use those Lumos panels that are apparently covered with tempered glass and should withstand 90 miles winds - what about other panels - are all of them covered with protective glass? Are warranties usually comparable - 10/25 years?
Anyone had issues with hail damage? Would solar panel increase your insurance premium for the house?

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RegGuheert
Posts: 6419
Joined: Mon Mar 19, 2012 4:12 am
Delivery Date: 16 Mar 2012
Leaf Number: 5926
Location: Northern VA

Re: Do-It-Yourself Solar System

Mon Dec 17, 2012 3:29 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?
No, not at the current price of electricity here: 10.5c/kWh. That said, when I bought our Honda Civic Hybrid in April 2002 gasoline cost $1.65/gal. I calculated that it would take about 100,000 miles at $2.00/gal. to pay back the $4000 difference in price between the Hybrid and the normal Civic. After 11 years we have only driven the car 89,000 miles, but gasoline is now at $3.19/gal., so I'm pretty sure it has paid back the extra expense.

With Obama pushing the EPA to require coal-fired electricity providers to greatly clean up their power plants, I expect the price of electricity in this area of the country to undergo big price increases within the next 10 years, so I expect our payback will be much shorter than the current calculated time of 20 years.
Viktor wrote: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?
Well, our roof is wood, but it is covered with black paper and asphalt shingles. None of the structure above the shingles is wood. It is all extruded aluminum and stainless steel.
Viktor wrote:How many wires do I need to hide up there?
One cable and one wire for each string of panels/inverters. The cable carries L1, L2 and Neutral and there is a requirement for a bare copper ground wire.
Viktor wrote:Do I just use regular metal tubing to protect the wires?
On the roof, none of the wires are protected. They are all outdoor rated. Under the roof, the requirements for conduit depend on the environment and the type of wiring you are using.
Viktor wrote:What size electric cables do we need?
The bare ground is 6 AWG while the other wires in our system are 14 AWG to the panel. Enphase has improved this aspect and the new system uses 12 AWG for wiring the strings.
Viktor wrote:Hardware wise - what meters do U use - specific models if possible?
Each Enphase inverter contains its own meter and communicates with a central unit over the power lines. As a result, there is a lot of information about power, voltage and current collected and stored for each panel.
Viktor wrote:Apparently some of them would make U pay for the electricity U generate ((
Yes, we had one of those on our house when we first installed our system. You can see on the webpage for our system that we had an outage between February 2011 and June 2011. This was due to the old meter charging us for power flowing either direction through the meter. It's a long story, but that problem was resolved and all is well now.
Viktor wrote:Issues of microinverters vs the old ones - why micro?
Reliability is the main difference. You can expect to replace all central inverters after about 10 years, at which time the inverters you purchase today will likely no longer be available. Microinverters should have a 30 year life (guaranteed for 25) and have a calculated MTBF over 300 years and the *actual* MTBF is known by Enphase because they monitor a large percentage of the installed product. PV panels have an MTBF on the order of 600 years. So for our 42-panel array, I expect to have about 1 failed PV panel and 2 failed microinverters after 20 years. I have had one microinverter fail to date, but that may have been an infantile failure (not supposed to be considered in MTBF), but I am not sure. It was replaced at no cost to me. They updated the firmware in all of our microinverters while we were investigating, and I seem to have better solar production than I did before the failure, so I'm happy!
Viktor wrote:And at the end - can U post pictures of your system?
Here is one:
Full Array.JPG
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RegGuheert
2011 Leaf SL Demo vehicle
10K mi. on 041413; 20K mi. (55.7Ah) on 080714; 30K mi. (52.0Ah) on 123015; 40K mi. (49.8Ah) on 020817; 50K mi. (47.2Ah) on 120717; 60K mi. (43.66Ah) on 091918.
Enphase Inverter Measured MTBF: M190, M215, M250, S280

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RegGuheert
Posts: 6419
Joined: Mon Mar 19, 2012 4:12 am
Delivery Date: 16 Mar 2012
Leaf Number: 5926
Location: Northern VA

Re: Do-It-Yourself Solar System

Mon Dec 17, 2012 3:48 pm

Viktor wrote:And that particular microinverters is suitable for those high powered 250wt panels. I had seen them at approximately 1$ per watt.
The M215 microinverters are recommended for 60-cell panels between 190W and 260W.
Viktor wrote:My issue - I want frameless panels to go on top of my porch - its more esthetically pleasing, they would need to be able to filter sun also - to provide needed shade. I had spoken today with this people - http://www.lumossolar.com/content/pdf/L ... y-2012.pdf" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; - they quoted me the ball park of 5$ per watt installed .
Those are nice looking!

It appears those solar panels may be 72-cell panels, which will not work with the M215. The older M190s will work with 72-cell panels, but those are only recommended for power levels up to 230W. You can use them with higher-power panels, but you may get more clipping when it is cold, particularly if you are at higher elevations. Also, the microinverters will block some of the light filtering through the array.
Viktor wrote: They use those Lumos panels that are apparently covered with tempered glass and should withstand 90 miles winds - what about other panels - are all of them covered with protective glass?
Most use tempered glass and are designed to withstand 1" hail. My panels are rated for pressures of 50 psf, whatever that equates to in wind.
Viktor wrote:Are warranties usually comparable - 10/25 years?
Yes, 25 years is normal for PV these days.
Viktor wrote:Anyone had issues with hail damage?
I haven't had large hail since the array was installed. Of course the risk is higher when the angle is flatter.
Viktor wrote:Would solar panel increase your insurance premium for the house?
Good question!
RegGuheert
2011 Leaf SL Demo vehicle
10K mi. on 041413; 20K mi. (55.7Ah) on 080714; 30K mi. (52.0Ah) on 123015; 40K mi. (49.8Ah) on 020817; 50K mi. (47.2Ah) on 120717; 60K mi. (43.66Ah) on 091918.
Enphase Inverter Measured MTBF: M190, M215, M250, S280

Viktor
Posts: 112
Joined: Sun Dec 02, 2012 2:56 pm
Delivery Date: 10 Dec 2012
Location: Centennial, CO

Re: Do-It-Yourself Solar System

Mon Dec 17, 2012 4:29 pm

Federal rebate of 30% - would that apply to the cost of building awning? What if I am to extend my patio in order to produce more electricity - would that also be covered? :)

Any suggestions for other "good looking panels"?

My understanding - there is only marginal - up to 5-10% increase in energy production with optimal angle of the panels in comparison to 10-12 degrees constant angulation. So I would plan to do 12 degrees and be done with it. The only issue - what if we are to get a foot of snow - would panels be sturdy enough to withstand it? What about 3 feet? 8-)

AndyH
Posts: 6388
Joined: Fri Apr 23, 2010 3:43 pm
Location: San Antonio

Re: Do-It-Yourself Solar System

Mon Dec 17, 2012 5:14 pm

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 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.

...
Let's pull the brake on the cart and move the horse from behind it for a bit. ;)

What changes have you made in your house or lifestyle to conserve energy? Every $1 you spend in efficiency will save about $4 in your PV system.

Let's start there.
"The stupid become extinct."-Bill Mollison
2018 Outlander PHEV
2015 smart Electric Drive (lease ended Feb, 2018)
OpenEVSE Plus DIY

Viktor
Posts: 112
Joined: Sun Dec 02, 2012 2:56 pm
Delivery Date: 10 Dec 2012
Location: Centennial, CO

Re: Do-It-Yourself Solar System

Mon Dec 17, 2012 6:22 pm

AndyH wrote: Let's pull the brake on the cart and move the horse from behind it for a bit. ;)

What changes have you made in your house or lifestyle to conserve energy? Every $1 you spend in efficiency will save about $4 in your PV system.

Let's start there.
We can definitely discuss attic insullation - isn't it what you are referring to? You got my vote - start the topic :D

AndyH
Posts: 6388
Joined: Fri Apr 23, 2010 3:43 pm
Location: San Antonio

Re: Do-It-Yourself Solar System

Mon Dec 17, 2012 6:35 pm

Viktor wrote:
AndyH wrote: Let's pull the brake on the cart and move the horse from behind it for a bit. ;)

What changes have you made in your house or lifestyle to conserve energy? Every $1 you spend in efficiency will save about $4 in your PV system.

Let's start there.
We can definitely discuss attic insullation - isn't it what you are referring to? You got my vote - start the topic :D
Victor - I'm opening the topic. Maybe you've already done this, maybe not, but I don't think we know. :)

Insulation, efficient windows, awnings/plantings to shade south/west sides, insulation on north windows, CFL's or LED, Energy Star appliances, water pipe insulation, light-colored roof... Let the fun begin! Any/all of these will reduce your energy demand. It might be good to start with an energy audit - have a certified tech check for leaks, duct sealing, doors and windows, etc. These are often supported by local utility companies as well.

What's your largest problem - heating or cooling? edit...gack, sorry, Centennial CO - a bit of both!

Sunroom or other passive-solar space?

Here's a nice overall site with info, examples, pictures, prices, etc. from the DIY side of things: http://www.builditsolar.com/ This might be too DIY for you, I don't know. I think their passive solar overview 'book' is a good place to start: http://www.builditsolar.com/Projects/So ... SEbook.htm

Good Hunting!
"The stupid become extinct."-Bill Mollison
2018 Outlander PHEV
2015 smart Electric Drive (lease ended Feb, 2018)
OpenEVSE Plus DIY

Viktor
Posts: 112
Joined: Sun Dec 02, 2012 2:56 pm
Delivery Date: 10 Dec 2012
Location: Centennial, CO

Re: Do-It-Yourself Solar System

Mon Dec 17, 2012 8:03 pm

Link?

AndyH
Posts: 6388
Joined: Fri Apr 23, 2010 3:43 pm
Location: San Antonio

Re: Do-It-Yourself Solar System

Mon Dec 17, 2012 8:04 pm

Viktor wrote:Link?
To what?
"The stupid become extinct."-Bill Mollison
2018 Outlander PHEV
2015 smart Electric Drive (lease ended Feb, 2018)
OpenEVSE Plus DIY

Viktor
Posts: 112
Joined: Sun Dec 02, 2012 2:56 pm
Delivery Date: 10 Dec 2012
Location: Centennial, CO

Re: Do-It-Yourself Solar System

Mon Dec 17, 2012 8:08 pm

Your new post?

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