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My Solar System Upgrade

hoarder

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#1
Since Tn..Andy has unfortunately left us, someone has to post this solar stuff so I'll make a feeble attempt to fill his boots. Unlike Andy's system, I'm completely off the grid.

Here is my existing older 750 watt system. See how I have them laid out in a nice horizontal pattern? Don't do that! Snow hangs up between the panels!
 

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hoarder

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Since I'm old, slow and clumsy, a scaffold is a must for safety.
 

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hoarder

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I purchased 8 SolarWorld SW 280 mono panels, which will put out a total of 2240 watts. Solarworld, after a series of mergers and aquisitions, is the offspring of ARCO, Shell and Siemens solar companies. Sharp panels are about the best quality but they have quit production due to competition and Solarworld is supposed to be the next best panel. I know ARCO and Siemens were great. They are "Made in USA" enough to qualify for the tax credit. http://www.solarworld-usa.com/about-solarworld/history-of-solar

Instead of the cardboard boxes of yesteryear, they are now shipped and sold with the plastic throwaway corners seen in the picture. They keep them aligned in rough conditions.

I've been staring at them for 45 minutes and they still haven't jumped up on my roof.
 

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See how I have them laid out in a nice horizontal pattern? Don't do that! Snow hangs up between the panels!
So how else would you do it? Vertical?
 

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ttazzman

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.....im sorry but i got a chuckle from your ladder and scaffolding setup....but it beats the hell outa nothing.....

i am curious about your panel connection to the roof panel/substrate and wire penetrations....wind,hail,snow,leak prevention...techniques

is that roof on sleepers or sheet decking?(cant see screw patterns to tell)

Hope that didnt exceed my questions per post quota :)
 
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hoarder

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.....im sorry but i got a chuckle from your ladder and scaffolding setup....but it beats the hell outa nothing.....

i am curious about your panel connection to the roof panel/substrate and wire penetrations....wind,hail,snow,leak prevention...techniques

is that roof on sleepers or sheet decking?(cant see screw patterns to tell)

Hope that didnt exceed my questions per post quota :)
Younger men than I screwed those original panels in place and did not use scaffolding. The pitch is 10 in 12 and I did not want to give the grim reaper a chuckle with my first uncoordinated moment.

The metal roofing is on 5/8" CDX plywood. I believe in having enough "meat" for screws.
The panels are bolted to angle iron brackets that I fabricated. Unfortunately they are bolted through the plywood with 3/8" stainless bolts (with rubber washers) which I will have to grind the heads off of, since I can't access the nuts without tearing out sheetrock. The new angle iron brackets will be screwed into the plywood with 5/16" screws and rubber washers.

The 10-2 USE wire is routed into the ridge cap void where it runs until dropping down into the PV junction box, no holes needed.

It never leaked water before. I have seen people bolt panels on composition roofs with 4 in 12 pitch and even on Spanish tile roofs, which seem very problematic to me compared to steep metal roofs. My thinking is that if you want solar up North, you must have a steep roof with an East-West ridgeline and metal roofing. That is step #1 in off grid design.
 

hoarder

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Can I ask what happened to him? I was just searching for one of his solar threads.....
I'm not sure. He got into an argument with searcher and then decided to retire from GIM. He still posts at other forums a little.
 

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I'm not sure. He got into an argument with searcher and then decided to retire from GIM. He still posts at other forums a little.
If you're "not sure" why would you put me into something I had nothing to do with?
 

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Younger men than I screwed those original panels in place and did not use scaffolding. The pitch is 10 in 12 and I did not want to give the grim reaper a chuckle with my first uncoordinated moment.

The metal roofing is on 5/8" CDX plywood. I believe in having enough "meat" for screws.
The panels are bolted to angle iron brackets that I fabricated. Unfortunately they are bolted through the plywood with 3/8" stainless bolts (with rubber washers) which I will have to grind the heads off of, since I can't access the nuts without tearing out sheetrock. The new angle iron brackets will be screwed into the plywood with 5/16" screws and rubber washers.

The 10-2 USE wire is routed into the ridge cap void where it runs until dropping down into the PV junction box, no holes needed.

It never leaked water before. I have seen people bolt panels on composition roofs with 4 in 12 pitch and even on Spanish tile roofs, which seem very problematic to me compared to steep metal roofs. My thinking is that if you want solar up North, you must have a steep roof with an East-West ridgeline and metal roofing. That is step #1 in off grid design.

When I took some NABCEP classes, they recommended that the panels be off the roof as much as possible, to allow for air to circulate and remove the heat from the panels. The higher the temperature on the panels, the lower the output voltage. In Montana it is probably not much of an issue, but down here in the South, it is.

What do you use for a battery pack? I'm really curious to see what Tesla Motors is coming out with for battery backup. I'm thinking of using some cheaper Walmart batteries until I can find something better.

I have the same metal roof as you do, but I have not yet mounted my panels. My pitch is only 4/12 but they are definitely slippery when wet. I'm thinking of using unistrut with all the associated hardware. I do not relish the idea of putting holes in the roof.

Anyhow, nice installation and good looking cabin also!
 

hoarder

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#14
If you're "not sure" why would you put me into something I had nothing to do with?
A long time and well-liked member got pissed about you forum sliding and left, never to come back. Nothing is 100% sure, but his leaving seems to be partly your doing, no offense. Whatever the cause, hopefully he comes back.
 

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A long time and well-liked member got pissed about you forum sliding and left, never to come back. Nothing is 100% sure, but his leaving seems to be partly your doing, no offense. Whatever the cause, hopefully he comes back.
No offense..................but you're dead wrong.
 

hoarder

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When I took some NABCEP classes, they recommended that the panels be off the roof as much as possible, to allow for air to circulate and remove the heat from the panels. The higher the temperature on the panels, the lower the output voltage. In Montana it is probably not much of an issue, but down here in the South, it is.
The roofing ribs are going to be 3/4" to 1 1/4" depending on which you have, then the angle iron rails are going to raise it at least another inch or more. Pitch will have some effect on air movement between roof and panel.
I have always welded and fabricated my own stuff for a tiny fraction of ready made price, so I really don't know anything about the store bought brackets.
What do you use for a battery pack? I'm really curious to see what Tesla Motors is coming out with for battery backup. I'm thinking of using some cheaper Walmart batteries until I can find something better.

I have the same metal roof as you do, but I have not yet mounted my panels. My pitch is only 4/12 but they are definitely slippery when wet. I'm thinking of using unistrut with all the associated hardware. I do not relish the idea of putting holes in the roof.

Anyhow, nice installation and good looking cabin also!
Over the years I have read so many articles about new battery designs that will revolutionize the industry. I'm jaded. I will upgrade my 8 Trojan T-105 flooded lead acid batteries with 8 Trojan L-16 lead acid batteries.
 

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I'm not sure. He got into an argument with searcher and then decided to retire from GIM. He still posts at other forums a little.
Wasn't trying to stir the pot at all...... I was more afraid that something happened to him. An invaluable poster.
 

hoarder

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Six of the panels will go to the East side of the South facing gable and two go to the West side. The panels directly adjacent to the gable will suffer some shading early morning and late evening. When one or more panels are shaded while others have full sun, there is the potential of backfeeding from one panel to another. Backfeeding is prevented by output diodes. Fortunately these new panels already have the diodes in them from the factory so no worries here.

My plow truck serves as an elevated anchor for the 2x8 valley scaffold board.
 

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hoarder

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#20
I'm calling B.S. You expect us to believe that someone who drives a truck that ugly knows how to operate a computer?

Just kidding. Great pics man! Thanks.

Show us those batteries.
As you see from the snow chains, that heap of rust does nothing besides plow snow. It actually looks much worse than the picture reveals. It gets about one mile per gallon while plowing uphill. Maybe 3 downhill.

Battery box modification is the next project since I don't have the pigtails to connect the panels yet (they make panels without junction boxes nowadays so you have to buy their "speshul" leads. If you cut into the existing leads you void the warranty).
These are the existing old T105 batteries:
 

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ttazzman

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No offense..................but you're dead wrong.
I assumed the same thing as Hoarder due to the timeing and contex of TNandys last posts.....either way i figured it was none of my business and each can come and go as they please.
 
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hoarder

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Differences between off grid and grid intertie:

Off grid systems have a large and expensive battery bank. They work regardless of whether the grid is down and do not require the expensive hookup to a power line. Grid intertie systems have the advantage of not needing a battery bank, which makes them much cheaper to install but usually are down when the grid is down.

Industry:
As most of you know, the solar industry has grown by leaps and bounds in the last couple years. Well that really only applies to grid intertie systems. The industry has actually moved away from off grid systems.
Panels used to be either off grid or intertie, the latter requiring MPPT controllers, which cost more and are more complicated. Now you can't even find anything but grid tie panels and you have to buy the MPPT controller even for grid tie. Same thing with voltage. 12 volt panels were once common, now you have to pay a huge premium if you can find them. Now nominal 24 volt and 48 volt is the order of the day.
As a result of this recent growth, there have been quite a few mergers and aquisitions. The fallout has been the little independent guys getting bought out by huge conglomerates.
What these huge conglomerates are doing is making off grid equipment more complicated. That means tons of electronics you normally wouldn't want or need.
About 15 years ago, Trace, a manufacturer of components like charge controllers and inverters, got bought out by the big guys backed by banks. Many of the Trace employees formed their own company called OUTBACK. They have been making excellent equipment and backing it with friendly product support right here in the USA while Xantrex, the guys who bought out Trace, concentrated of low cost production meaning China.
Well Outback got bought out recently and the same thing has happened to them as happened to Trace.
Now it seems there are no small independents making either panels or other off grid components so you have to deal with the big boys.

An interesting twist to this is that the gummit, who tries to pretend they're enviro-freindly, does not like people being off the grid. It seems that industry and gummit are working together on this agenda while talking out both sides of their mouths.
I guess they want us all living in cites like cattle in a pen where "one third of our subjects will keep the rest under observation".
 
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These are the existing old T105 batteries:
Do you get those batteries locally, like from a golf cart place, or do you have to special mail order them?

Will those 8 batteries run your whole house? If so, how long assuming you run only minimal lights, television, computer, and no clothes washing or water heating?

Are they outdoors because it's unsafe to keep them indoors?
 

hoarder

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#25
How much does all the supplies and installation cost?
This upgrade which will include new batteries and just about all components except wiring, distribution panels and battery box will set me back around 9 grand. If I had a solar company come out and do it, I'd figure easily three or four times that.
 
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It seems that industry and gummit are working together on this agenda while talking out both sides of their mouths.
I was wondering about that. To appear collectivist eco-friendly they promote "green energy", yet the last thing they want is people able to survive independent of their cattle control system.

Interesting to hear real-world evidence that they aren't serious about solar, and gobble up any creative innovations which decrease dependence.
 

hoarder

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Do you get those batteries locally, like from a golf cart place, or do you have to special mail order them?

Will those 8 batteries run your whole house? If so, how long assuming you run only minimal lights, television, computer, and no clothes washing or water heating?

Are they outdoors because it's unsafe to keep them indoors?
I get them at a battery dealer who does a lot of business with golf carts. I figure battery wear and tear at $300 a year, which is the largest cost of these systems. The existing system was about half that or $1000 for the last 7 years of use. They still have a year or so left in them.

Water heating is done by propane, I haven't owned a teevee in 15 years, the gasoline generator runs the washing machine and vacuum cleaner but the new system might run them in sunny weather, I wouldn't even try in the winter. The old system ran everything else all spring summer and fall but in the winter I would have to run the generator about 45 minutes a day when very overcast or if there was snow on the panels. After upgrade I figure I will have to run the generator about 15 times each winter to top off the batteries. Also batteries must be equalized, which means a long hot high voltage charge and that entails another 15 hours of generator time a year. The generator uses about 6/10 of a gallon an hour.

I keep the batteries outdoors but they are more efficient in cold weather if kept warm.
 

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I get them at a battery dealer who does a lot of business with golf carts. I figure battery wear and tear at $300 a year, which is the largest cost of these systems. The existing system was about half that or $1000 for the last 7 years of use. They still have a year or so left in them.

Water heating is done by propane, I haven't owned a teevee in 15 years, the gasoline generator runs the washing machine and vacuum cleaner but the new system might run them in sunny weather, I wouldn't even try in the winter. The old system ran everything else all spring summer and fall but in the winter I would have to run the generator about 45 minutes a day when very overcast or if there was snow on the panels. After upgrade I figure I will have to run the generator about 15 times each winter to top off the batteries. Also batteries must be equalized, which means a long hot high voltage charge and that entails another 15 hours of generator time a year. The generator uses about 6/10 of a gallon an hour.

I keep the batteries outdoors but they are more efficient in cold weather if kept warm.
You can locate trojan battery dealers here:
http://tools.trojanbattery.com/dealers.aspx

They have a Trojan T-105RE with thicker plates for off-grid use. Is that what you have, hoarder? I like the price, but when you add the core charge, tax (in TN), and possible shipping, it really hurts. There don't seem to be any reasonable alternatives right now.

I've been wondering if electric vehicle batteries would be a good choice for a system, but all the charge controllers seem to be designed for 12/24/48 volts, and EV batteries run 300 v dc or higher.
 

hoarder

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You can locate trojan battery dealers here:
http://tools.trojanbattery.com/dealers.aspx

They have a Trojan T-105RE with thicker plates for off-grid use. Is that what you have, hoarder? I like the price, but when you add the core charge, tax (in TN), and possible shipping, it really hurts. There don't seem to be any reasonable alternatives right now.

I've been wondering if electric vehicle batteries would be a good choice for a system, but all the charge controllers seem to be designed for 12/24/48 volts, and EV batteries run 300 v dc or higher.
I bought my Trojan T-105's in 2008 so I don't think they are the "RE" version.
I plan to use 8 Trojan L-16 REB in this upgrade and that will be about a 60% increase in amp hours. Considering that my PV upgrade is triple the watts of my old system, the battery upgrade is minimal and this is typical of systems designed since PV costs have gone way down. The batteries will probably cost me around 3K.

By the way, when comparing battery amp hours, always use the 20 hour rate. Also take into consideration that just like with generators, most manufacturers lie a little with their numbers.
 

hoarder

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I was wondering about that. To appear collectivist eco-friendly they promote "green energy", yet the last thing they want is people able to survive independent of their cattle control system.

Interesting to hear real-world evidence that they aren't serious about solar, and gobble up any creative innovations which decrease dependence.
I understand that the elites often conceal their motives by making things more complicated than they are. Complexity often has a motive. It makes me wonder if they're trying to maintain our dependence on their oil by turning people away from solar by making solar equipment more complicated than it has to be.
 

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#31
No offense..................but you're dead wrong.

No, he is close to dead on.

Personally, I found your proliferation of copy and paste posts, especially in the wrong forums, quite annoying.
Anyone can spend the day browsing the net and posting it here as if that is some type of new information. It takes a LOT more to actually DO SOMETHING, then post your experiences that resulted from actual doing.

But more annoying was the apparent agreement by others that quantity of posts was preferred to quality.

That's why I've moved on to boards where people actually DO stuff.

Feel free to rant now. I no longer give a crap. As my subtitle said before somebody changed it "Retired from GIM".....not life.
 
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#32
I understand that the elites often conceal their motives by making things more complicated than they are.
Oh heck yes.

This is called "sophistry".

In ancient times smart old men would charge smart young men to teach them wisdom (Sophia). These smart oldsters discovered they could make Far More Money if they made Wisdom complicated. Thus arose "sophistication".

See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sophism

I saw this when I taught martial arts. Personal combat is actually quite simple. In six months I can teach even a woman how to win fights against 99% of the people walking around on this planet. But there's no money in that. Instead, selling Black Belts pays the rent on strip mall space.

Only fashionable, Sophisticated Persons have the high intelligence and "education" to understand that: kin no longer matter, saving wealth for old age is unnecessary, and foreign bankers 1,000 miles away will always keep your savings safe. :-)
 

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No, he is close to dead on.

Personally, I found your proliferation of copy and paste posts, especially in the wrong forums, quite annoying.
Anyone can spend the day browsing the net and posting it here as if that is some type of new information. It takes a LOT more to actually DO SOMETHING, then post your experiences that resulted from actual doing.

But more annoying was the apparent agreement by others that quantity of posts was preferred to quality.

That's why I've moved on to boards where people actually DO stuff.

Feel free to rant now. I no longer give a crap. As my subtitle said before somebody changed it "Retired from GIM".....not life.

Personally, I found your proliferation of copy and paste posts, especially in the wrong forums, quite annoying.
You could have simply stopped reading my posts or, if you weren't able to do that, put me on ignore.



Anyone can spend the day browsing the net and posting it here as if that is some type of new information
My posts were never ment to come across like that. From reading your "rant" I think you have taken some of my posts as a personal affront. Once again...........you didn't have to read or watch any of them. While I don't have anyone on ignore there are several members that I don't read. Really not that hard to do.


It takes a LOT more to actually DO SOMETHING, then post your experiences that resulted from actual doing.
I retired several years ago after working as a heavy truck / equipment mechanic for quite a number of years. My house, cars, lawn quipment, etc. are all in pretty good shape. Not really too much for me to do. I'm also not interested in certain things. I have my life - you have yours. I can accept that, apparently you can't. Once again I see that you have taken some sort of personal affront to my posts. You could have simply ignored them.


But more annoying was the apparent agreement by others that quantity of posts was preferred to quality.
This is somrthing I know nothing about. What happened between you and certain others is none of my business unless those involved chose to fill me in. So far they haven't.


That's why I've moved on to boards where people actually DO stuff.
I wish you the best.


Feel free to rant now. I no longer give a crap. As my subtitle said before somebody changed it "Retired from GIM".....not life
Nothing to rant about. No animosity on my part what-so-ever. I sincerely wish you all the best and if you do come back and start posting again maybe we can get off to a new start. Treat each other as valuable members instead of advasaries.
 

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#34
Excellent thread Hoarder, and thanks for SHARING !!!
 

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#35
I know in the future most roof tiles or shingles will have built-in solar arrays, but for now why not mount the panels on a pole- unless trees interfere?
 

hoarder

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#36
I know in the future most roof tiles or shingles will have built-in solar arrays, but for now why not mount the panels on a pole- unless trees interfere?
A roof mount is better IMO because it is out of sight and out of mind of thieves, wind resistant unlike pole mounts and no overhead wiring or trenching needed to hook it up.
 

hoarder

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#38
I clicked on this thread thinking you might have added a planet when nobody was looking.

Regardless, good show with the solar "power" upgrade. :shine:
I suppose that might have been a more definitive choice of words.:bear_happy: When I get done with this I'll add another planet.
 

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#39
I know in the future most roof tiles or shingles will have built-in solar arrays,

Sad part is, its probably been done already, but, seized by the patent office (on behest of government) on grounds of national security. Something as cheap and efficient as that, we'll never see (unless you make it yourself)....
 

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Sad part is, its probably been done already, but, seized by the patent office (on behest of government) on grounds of national security. Something as cheap and efficient as that, we'll never see (unless you make it yourself)....
solar shingles were available 5-6 years ago when i was checking into them......