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Old 06-18-13, 09:27 PM   #1
pinballlooking
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Default DIY solar array 12.5 kw

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 don’t 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



Update 10/31/2017
Our system is paid off 4 ½ years. If you only take into account just power savings no others savings.

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Last edited by pinballlooking; 02-14-18 at 12:18 PM..
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Old 06-19-13, 01:32 PM   #2
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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)?
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Old 06-19-13, 01:43 PM   #3
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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.

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Old 06-19-13, 01:59 PM   #4
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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.
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Old 06-19-13, 02:09 PM   #5
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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.
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Old 06-20-13, 10:23 AM   #6
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Sounds great. But, where are you going to put the extra 10 panels? The roof looks pretty full!
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Old 06-20-13, 10:31 AM   #7
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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.

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Old 06-20-13, 07:46 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pinballlooking View Post
My 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.
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 )
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Old 06-23-13, 07:50 AM   #9
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Nice looking array. I am curious as to why you chose to do the rails vertically rather than horizontally.
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Old 06-23-13, 08:04 AM   #10
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Quote:
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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.
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