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pinballlooking 08-05-13 10:55 AM

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We worked on the Lean-to this weekend. I changed the plan and I will put these new panels in landscape the same as the others that way I can have four rows of 4 panels. I am not going to add 14 new 240 watt panels with Enphase micro inverters. This will put me @ 12.5 KW and closer to that zero out goal.

where2 08-05-13 09:20 PM

Looking Great Pinball! I have to agree with you, I am certainly glad I put my own sweat equity into my enphase system. If I ever have an issue down the road, I won't have to worry about "finding the guy who installed the system to come take a look at it". I've only had my system operational for 5 days with my net-meter, and I already have friends who want me to help them design a system...

pinballlooking 08-09-13 09:49 AM

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@Where2 thanks and I agree warranty is much simpler on a DIY project.

My Dad and I finished my Lean-to. We also installed the first 3 rails for the new solar panels. He had to fly back home so I will take it from here. I can’t wait to get my new 14 240 watt panels installed and making power.

I am closer I have installed the micro inverters grounding and trunk cable. I need to install the J boxes and conduit and two new breakers.

I installed the conduit and J boxes and wiring today slowly but surely I am getting there.

pinballlooking 08-15-13 09:59 AM

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I was getting ready to put up solar panels last night and my neighbor stopped by to ask a computer question. He had some time and he handed the panels to me on the roof. This was a big help and I got them all installed. I am now generating power on all 54 panels. 12.5 KW it feels good to be done.

Daox 08-15-13 10:08 AM

Woohoo, congrats. That is quite the array you have there. I'm just a little jealous. :)

Vern2 09-09-13 11:10 AM

Very nice, Subscribed.:thumbup:

Starting to cool down a little, Sept an getting some rain. Will be starting on my 2.2 kw add.

pinballlooking 09-09-13 11:17 AM

Thanks. @Vern2
You are in a great place for solar.

So far this we have had 50.8kwh, 58.3kwh, 66.3kwh, 74.2kwh, 66.2kwh, 76.2kwh, 67.6kwh, 63.4 kwh
Total 523.1kwh for eight days finally some normal weather.

b4u2 09-09-13 11:41 AM

This is very nice. I would love to go solar (even built one panel a few years ago). My only problem is figuring out how to pay for the system (which is why I tried building my own). I still like to see what other shave done but my project died due to lack of funds.

Robaroni 09-09-13 05:11 PM

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Pinball great job!
You did just about what I did, right down to installing the modules on my roof with a tractor.
I had an installer come out and give me a price for my intertie. He wanted $7.50 a watt! 6.44k system would have cost me over twice what it did over DIY. I got a grant on the system from my electric coop so I wound up making money.

My dealer gave me a very good price on SolarEdge microinverters so I went with them over the Enphase but they are both good.

I just had a microinverter go out, SolarEdge is sending me a new one, so your logic that if you have a problem you don't lose the whole system is correct.

One bit of advice, get a spare microinverter or two. This way if you lose an inverter, you can install a new one when you take out the bad one. This saves two trips to the roof and re-bolting down your modules. It's a pain to change out the microinverters, I made two rows in anticipation of failures so all I would have to do is lift one module to get to the inverter.

These microinverters are amazingly efficient. Here's my display showing 6KW output, that's darn close to the 6.44KW max the system is designed for.

The other thing I'd like to say is that the hype about modules losing power over the years is completely bunk! My other system (off grid/ intertie) that went in in 2006 is still putting out very close to the original power I was getting in 2006.

Again, nice job and welcome to the net zero club!

On another note, how do you like the Volt?


MN Renovator 09-09-13 05:51 PM

PV modules are warranted to produce at least 80% of their rating 20 years down the line. I'd imagine they very rarely need to be replaced due to losing that much. There was a Home Power magazine article of a few people who were Back to the Land type folks who bought PV a very long time ago who said their early panels produce well many decades later. I always see this "20-30 year lifespan" crap in articles where people are talking about PV, if one module really crapped out and you had to bypass it in a string you'd only lose that panel. It's when you lose an inverter and you need to replace it that you need to put some money into it but my local PV installer has only seen issues with two Enphase microinverters and no issues with the large name brand string inverters he has installed over the years. I expect a system to have the lifespan of the house they are installed in with maybe a component or two that might need to be replaced on a very infrequent basis. It's not much different than a component on a car going out, the whole car doesn't die.

On another note, you said that your DIY install was about half of the $7.50/watt quote. Can you break down the costs, roughly for what you put into the system, I'm trying to get a rough estimate of what I'd expect to pay for my installation to know if I'll be getting a fair price.

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