EcoRenovator

EcoRenovator (https://ecorenovator.org/forum/index.php)
-   Solar Power (https://ecorenovator.org/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=15)
-   -   DIY solar array 12.5 kw (https://ecorenovator.org/forum/showthread.php?t=3053)

pinballlooking 06-18-13 10:27 PM

DIY solar array 12.5 kw
 
6 Attachment(s)
I wanted to thank Gary
Designing and Installing a Grid-Tie PV System Designing and Installing a Grid-Tie PV System
and Doug
Doug's New 4.6 KW micro inverter DIY Grid Tied PV Array
Doug's New 4.6 KW micro inverter DIY Grid Tied PV Array
This was such useful information when I was researching solar power.
Well I decided to go with Enphase micro inverters. I donít have shade but I really like the idea if one M215 fails I will be out one panels output and if it takes a month to get a replacement it is now a huge deal. ( I have bought a spare Enphase micro inverters just in case )
I bought 40 CS6P-230P Canadian Solar panels and 40 M215 Enphase micro inverters.
I did a self-install for the 9.2kw system just like the others above did.
I had to upgrade my main load center to a 225 amp panel. The out building I installed on is about 130 feet away from my house so I had to center feed my panels. 10 panels are center feed 5 and 5 all 40 panels are done this way. I also had to run a little larger wire to the sub panel to keep the voltage rise down.
Here is a link to my system

http://www.pvoutput.org/list.jsp?id=23064&sid=20945

I am still using more power than I am making so I just ordered 10 more panels/ M215 so I hope that will bring me closer to net zero.

It is now 12.5 KW 54 solar panels.
Our best day so far was 04/16/14 92.31 kWh

http://ecorenovator.org/forum/attach...1&d=1476719229

Update 10/31/2017
Our system is paid off 4 Ĺ years. If you only take into account just power savings no others savings.
http://ecorenovator.org/forum/attach...1&d=1518632313

Daox 06-19-13 02:32 PM

Welcome to the site. That is quite the solar array, 9.2 kW, very nice! I take it your whole house is electric (heat, hot water, dryer, etc)?

pinballlooking 06-19-13 02:43 PM

Thanks. It will be 11.6kw in a couple weeks I just picked up my racking and 10 more panels today.
Enphase micro inverters are on the way.
Hot water is natural gas heat is natural gas.

I am in South Carolina so AC is a big energy user and we have a Chevy Volt that we charge 2 to three times a day. Yes we have an electric dryer and oven. I have a pool but we just put in a variable speed 240 pump that uses about 160watt hour much better than my old pump.
I would like to change out my AC for a variable speed heat pump or a variable speed geo system.
That will have to wait since we just put in all the solar this year.

Daox 06-19-13 02:59 PM

Aha, I was wondering where the usage came from. Charging up a Volt a few times a day will defintely do it. Nice car BTW. :)

pinballlooking 06-19-13 03:09 PM

1 Attachment(s)
I really like charging the Volt with solar power. No money going to foreign oil to power my car.

I can post pictures now. I also updated my links on my top post. :)
I did the install completely by myself so I was lucky enough to borrow my neighbor’s tractor to help me get the panels to the roof.

Daox 06-20-13 11:23 AM

Sounds great. But, where are you going to put the extra 10 panels? The roof looks pretty full!

pinballlooking 06-20-13 11:31 AM

My wife has a couple horses and she has wanted me to put up a lean-to for a while now. In the winter and when it is raining the horses can get out of the weather. Will now the time is right to get her horses some shelter and my new 10 panels get a place hang out. It will be on the right side as you are looking at the out building about 12’ x 18’ I will install these portrait 2 rows five across. This will keep the cable run shorter.

where2 06-20-13 08:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pinballlooking (Post 30382)
My It will be on the right side as you are looking at the out building about 12í x 18í I will install these portrait 2 rows five across. This will keep the cable run shorter.

I'd do it... My array has a 2 row x 6 panel cluster in portrait, and a 2x4 cluster. (The separation is due to a vent stack. The stack is lower than the height of the panels on their rack, so no shadows :thumbup:)

Mikesolar 06-23-13 08:50 AM

Nice looking array. I am curious as to why you chose to do the rails vertically rather than horizontally.

pinballlooking 06-23-13 09:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mikesolar (Post 30406)
Nice looking array. I am curious as to why you chose to do the rails vertically rather than horizontally.

The trusses are 12 foot apart and 2x6 run every 2 1/2' accross. To have a cross member to put the lag bolts in I needed to mount them that way. My lean-to will be mounted the other way. The lean-to angle will not be as good maybe a 12-2 pitch.

pinballlooking 06-23-13 02:26 PM

3 Attachment(s)
Check out the shirts my young sons got me for father's day.

Daox 06-24-13 08:45 AM

Haha, very nice. :)

pinballlooking 06-25-13 11:20 AM

I think I need to add the cost to this.
We are at $1.72 watt installed before rebates for 11.6 kw. This is 0.78 watt after rebates. Fed 30% SC state 25% this should give a five year payback sooner if they get their rate increases. They have increased rates 6% last two years and they want 17% this year.
Keep in mind this that I had to upgrade my main load center to a 225 amp service. I had to install a new 100 amp sub panel at my out building and install a disconnect switch at the house for the solar.
All that cost are included in this project cost so is every clamp PVC glue elect tape everything.
I already had wire from the out building to the house so this helped the cost.
I did all the labor this was the biggest savings.

Daox 06-25-13 11:31 AM

Wow, that is some pretty great pricing. 5 year ROI is also pretty astonishing.

pinballlooking 06-25-13 11:37 AM

Our power about is 0.10kw with the meter fee and all. So if you were if CA or HI the payback would be much faster. There other parts of the country are paying even less for electricity then we do.

Either way we are happy with charging our car with solar and reducing our carbon foot print while saving money.

Our quote to put in a 4.9 watt system was $1,500 more than it cost me to put in my 11.6 watt system. If I wanted Enphase they wanted to add 10% cost on top of that. CA is much more completive place to have solar installed than SC.

Daox 07-22-13 02:33 PM

Any updates on the new panels?

pinballlooking 07-22-13 02:42 PM

I have them here to ready to install. I put up one new 240 watt panel in place of my 230 watt panel. It is performing as good or better than my best 230 watt panel.
I am going to install these on metal roof on my new lean-to. My metal came in last week. Now if it would just stop raining I could get to work. It is killing me having everything here ready to install and not have it making any power

ELGo 07-23-13 05:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pinballlooking (Post 30433)
I think I need to add the cost to this.
We are at $1.72 watt installed before rebates for 11.6 kw.
I did all the labor this was the biggest savings.

NIIICE!

I'm amazed at your total (pre-subsidy) cost. Would you mind breaking down to:

Panels
Inverter
Other electricity stuff
Connector between the roof and the panel ?

pinballlooking 07-23-13 07:12 PM

40 Canadian Solar CS6P-230P, 230 Watt Solar Panel $6,440.00 shipped
40 Enphase, M215 Microinverter, 215W, 240/208VAC, 60Hz $5,480.00 shipped
EnPhase Envoy ProSolar racking grounding clamps etc. $2149.18
NEW Siemens 60 amp 3r outdoor 2 pole 250 volt fused disconnect $82.00
sub pannel and breakers $135.67
225 breaker pannel $164.32 (upgrade main load center)
wire #8, #10 grounding #6 grounding $590
The rest of the stuff caulking screws conduit…total for 9.2kw installed $16,000

New 2.4kw for total 11.6kw
10 Enphase, M215 Microinverter, 215W, 240/208VAC, 60Hz : $1,342.60
10 Lightway LW P1650-990 240W racking Grounding clips,
Enphase cables . $2455.28 shipped
Total for new 2.4 kw $3,797.88 (I had wire left over from the first project)
Total project $19797.88 I will need some conduit and a few other things so let’s say 20k installed for 11.6kw.

I did buy everything on sale and I did my own install. The biggest thing is I got the solar panels at a good price and that really helps the cost.
I have the cost broken down very detailed in a spread sheet but this should help.

I was quoted $22,234.82 for 4.9kw installed. they wanted 20% more to go with Enphase micro inverters. I am glad I put the sweat equity into it instead of having it installed.

pinballlooking 07-29-13 12:09 AM

1 Attachment(s)
Check it out we were within 500 watts of max power. I wish we could get this much power all the time but this is still exciting. I cemented the post for my Lean-too today I will be building it next week. I can’t wait to get 10 more panels up and running. Today 8/1 we just made our first $500 in power 5 MWH for the first three any Ĺ months.

pinballlooking 08-05-13 11:55 AM

3 Attachment(s)
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 10:20 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 10:49 AM

4 Attachment(s)
@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 10:59 AM

1 Attachment(s)
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 11:08 AM

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

Vern2 09-09-13 12:10 PM

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 12:17 PM

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 12:41 PM

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 06:11 PM

1 Attachment(s)
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?

Rob

MN Renovator 09-09-13 06:51 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.

Vern2 09-09-13 07:10 PM

MN Renovator,

My Sunpower 10 - 245w panels, turn key install is $4.52 watt. With only Fed rebate, $7,751.80 total. Sun Valley Solar will be adding 3k SMA.

Live link to 9.2k system. Click on Month and Year links.

This is add to 9.2kw with 40 - 230w Sunpower panels. My add is 50 percent drop in cost. Total system size will be 11.6kw :D

All I really care about is it's paid for, and I've saved $5,400 so far. Being on cutting edge does cost more. Don't have a plug-in car yet. The 2011 Prius is getting 55 to 60 mpg.

http://www.enichesoftware.com/media/garagefloor.jpg

Robaroni 09-09-13 07:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MN Renovator (Post 31513)
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.

Hi,
Sure, I installed the system a couple of years ago and I filed the receipts with my tax papers but I think it went somewhat like this:

28 Bosch 230 watt modules ~$480 each total = 6.44Kw
28 SolarEdge microinverters ~$82 each
1 SolarEdge main panel $1600.00
racking ~$1300
wire, permits, inspections, meters, etc. ~$600

Total came to about $19,200.00

My coop gave me $3.00 a watt 3 x 6.44 = $19,320

I did just have a failure with one of my microinverters. We had lightening recently so this may have caused it but I honestly don't know, I think the mtbf (mean time between failures) is something like 100 years but it did fail. They sent it out free.

If you ask me the best company is Outback. boy they are great! My inverters were initially just off grid (VFX3648 x 2). I wanted to convert them to off grid/intertie (GVFX3648) and Outback did it for the cost of shipping! Not only that, they have been in for 6 or 7 years without so much as a hiccup. Not as efficient as the microinverters but microinverters can't double as off grid power if the grid dies so living with the trade off is not a problem to me as I like the ability to run if the grid goes down which it does here several times a year.
Rob

Robaroni 09-09-13 07:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Vern2 (Post 31515)
MN Renovator,

My Sunpower 10 - 245w panels, turn key install is $4.52 watt. With only Fed rebate, $7,751.80 total. Sun Valley Solar will be adding 3k SMA.

Live link to 9.2k system. Click on Month and Year links.

This is add to 9.2kw with 40 - 230w Sunpower panels. My add is 50 percent drop in cost. Total system size will be 11.6kw :D

All I really care about is it's paid for, and I've saved $5,400 so far. Being on cutting edge does cost more. Don't have a plug-in car yet. The 2011 Prius is getting 55 to 60 mpg.

http://www.enichesoftware.com/media/garagefloor.jpg

Vern,

You're beating me by about 1KW. I'll have to get my windmills in to catch up!

Rob

where2 09-09-13 07:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by b4u2 (Post 31502)
I would love to go solar... My only problem is figuring out how to pay for the system.

I paid for mine with lots of peanut butter sandwiches, rather than lunches out at the office. $150-$200/mo simply by keeping a loaf of bread and a jar of peanut butter at the office. I saw early in my career that minor changes in my behavior could make profound changes in my retirement lifestyle. I watched co-workers purchase fast food daily for lunch and yet comment that they couldn't save enough for retirement. Same co-workers would hop in their truck and drive less than half a city block to grab something from Subway. Meanwhile, I walked to the grocery store right next door when I needed a loaf of bread. There was even a sidewalk!

Robaroni 09-09-13 07:48 PM

Vern,
I really want an electric car but I get the trade magazines and I can see we are in for some improvements to EV's and batteries so I'm holding off as long as I can.
Rob

Robaroni 09-09-13 07:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by where2 (Post 31518)
I paid for mine with lots of peanut butter sandwiches, rather than lunches out at the office. $150-$200/mo simply by keeping a loaf of bread and a jar of peanut butter at the office. I saw early in my career that minor changes in my behavior could make profound changes in my retirement lifestyle. I watched co-workers purchase fast food daily for lunch and yet comment that they couldn't save enough for retirement. Same co-workers would hop in their truck and drive less than half a city block to grab something from Subway. Meanwhile, I walked to the grocery store right next door when I needed a loaf of bread. There was even a sidewalk!

I did the same thing. I could never figure that out. I'd watch guys buying lunch everyday and I'd be adding up the monthly cost.

You think that's bad, how about smoking! What are those things up to pack now?

As far as PV the tide is changing, major countries are showing the world that, not only is it possible, but it's cheaper. France with 75% nuclear is buying power from Germany now!

Nuclear plants are starting to age and it's like the guy with 100k miles on his car and a bad engine. Do I want to put a new engine in or scrap the car? Then there's Fukushima Daiichi. Japan thinks renewables are wonderful about now!

Rob

where2 09-09-13 08:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Robaroni (Post 31520)
I did the same thing. I could never figure that out. I'd watch guys buying lunch everyday and I'd be adding up the monthly cost.

An EV would certainly help end some people's end of the month finances, but not mine. Rather than go that route, I have TDI's in my driveway. Took me 5 years and the roll over of my wife's 4Runner to convince my wife that a TDI would suite her needs just fine. After 6 years driving her TDI, you have to pry the keys out of her hands. She got sideswiped at a filling station a few years ago, and was without her Jetta for a week. She couldn't give that Ford Escape (rental) back fast enough as she watched her $$$ vaporize at every stop light and on-ramp. Three months into my wife's TDI, we did a road trip from FL to Maine and back: averaged 47mpg. The week after that vacation, my boss told me to go find a TDI to replace the Explorer I was driving 62 miles per day! I put 90k on the company TDI before I handed in the keys. Before I left that job, I picked up a used TDI wagon for my own daily driving. I got into it for under $6k, and only put $64/mo into it for fuel... (one fillup, 650 miles per tank!)

RE: Smoking, they were pushing $5/pack for the cheap stuff last I looked. I used to work with some pack-a-day guys who complained quite vocally when they raised taxes $1/pack.

Rather than complain about the need to build more fossil fuel plants or add more reactors to the alternatives, I simply did what my POCO did and built a renewable energy plant of my own (4.4kW). You can't tell me PV doesn't make sense in America when my own POCO has 35 megawatts of PV running, and a 75 megawatt solar thermal facility...

pinballlooking 09-09-13 09:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Robaroni (Post 31519)
Vern,
I really want an electric car but I get the trade magazines and I can see we are in for some improvements to EV's and batteries so I'm holding off as long as I can.
Rob

We really like our Chevy Volt. We bought it mid Feb this year. So far we have driven 8850 EV miles and our life time MPG is 181. We have saved 417 gallons of gas so far. We charge it with solar power so take that oil companies. We live out away for things there lots of people that donít use their first tank of gas the first year of ownership.
It has 236 lbs. torque and that toque is usable at any speed. So it is fun to drive. if you are thinking about a EV you should test drive one.

pinballlooking 09-09-13 10:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Vern2 (Post 31515)
MN Renovator,

My Sunpower 10 - 245w panels, turn key install is $4.52 watt. With only Fed rebate, $7,751.80 total. Sun Valley Solar will be adding 3k SMA.

Live link to 9.2k system. Click on Month and Year links.

This is add to 9.2kw with 40 - 230w Sunpower panels. My add is 50 percent drop in cost. Total system size will be 11.6kw :D

All I really care about is it's paid for, and I've saved $5,400 so far. Being on cutting edge does cost more. Don't have a plug-in car yet. The 2011 Prius is getting 55 to 60 mpg.

http://www.enichesoftware.com/media/garagefloor.jpg

Your system is performing well.

pinballlooking 09-09-13 10:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Robaroni (Post 31512)
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?

Rob

That is a pretty sweet number to hit 6kw.


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 08:57 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions Inc.
Ad Management by RedTyger