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Old 03-25-13, 06:05 PM   #8
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: mendocino, california
Posts: 67
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Hello Daox, If you mean why single axis vs two axis tracking, it was far too complicated for me to design a two axis tracker, and it wd have taken several to mount 24 panels. Also, our local codes allow a nearly permit free array as long as it isn't taller or higher than 6'. If you mean why an east west axis vs north south axis, I had a couple of reasons. First, the site lent itself to an east west axis; that's where the room was. Second, we're in a bowl created by surrounding trees that blocks the sun until it is 15-20 degrees above the horizon. N-S axes turn the panels directly toward the sunrise and sunset, those are the best angles, and those were the times when we had least access to the sun.

We have quite a bit of money in the set up, as you might guess. The panels cost about $900 each. I think I built the array for about $3000, and most of that went into the aluminum I beam and channel. None of the metals were cheap! And that doesn't count the cost of the TIG welder that I bought used for about $1500. We got a rebate from the electric company for about $5000 and a tax credit of about $11000, both of which mean that folks like you helped me build this thing, I'm ashamed to say. The solar industry has got to get off welfare, but for that matter, the same is way overdue for the oil industry. In the end, we were out of pocket about $28k for the thing, all the little details included. It's rated to last a minimum of 30 years, but unless electricity goes up a bunch, it will never pay for itself because our electric bill was only about $1200/year before the array; now it's zero. It just seemed like the right thing to do with the cash we had at the time, and it was the most fun, challenging thing of that sort that I've ever done. I guess the failure to break even aspect of it was just the price of admission. mm
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Daox (03-25-13)