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  • Newbie DIY Looking For Ideas & Suggestions

    Hello from Central Ohio.

    I live in a total electric country custom home, built in 1972. I am proposing to build a PV system to help reduce my dependency on the grid. During the 2009 winter I had a $600 monthly electric bill !, which is my inspiration. I am an unemployed retired CAD technician, so funds are somewhat limited.

    To start with I have eight (8) sheets of 34"x74" tempered glass (which I was given from surplus from a construction site) and purchased 2.3kw of 3x6 inch polycrystaline solar cells, Midnite Combiner 6, 24v C60 Xantrek charge controller and 10 amp diodes. My plan is to used 110 cells per panel for 198Wp = 55Vmax * 3.6 Amax. these panels are to be roof mounted.

    I am not exactly positive if the 55 Vmax * 3.6 Amax is the best senario. I am open to suggestions.

    Any how, "Thanks" in advance for a great site.

  • #2
    Hi Swede - Welcome to Solar Panel Talk!

    Others are better to respond to your PV question than I so I will wait for them.

    I would suggest you not ignore solar hot water and or solar air heating. As your big bill comes in the winter it probably is part heating cost. PV electric is at it's biggest disadvantage when used for electric heating.

    Heating loads are greatest at night - unfortunately.

    Solar thermal hot water require a large collector area and hot water storage.

    Solar thermal warm air only works when the sun shines.

    So both have disadvantages but with hot water storage you have no ongoing costs such as with batteries that PV requires for 24 hour service.

    www.builditsolar.com has several types of units people have come up with. You are into DIY it seems so this might fit for you.

    Stay with us please and let us see what can be done.

    Russ
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

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    • #3
      One word -- "Don't".

      Most home made solar panels are a fire hazard and if you catch your house on fire with them, your insurance may not pay. On top of that, your utility may disconnect you from the grid for having unapproved equipment.
      Julie in Texas

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      • #4
        Depending on how good/tough the electrical inspector and or utility are you may be denied permission to connect to the grid.

        This does not apply to solar thermal though.
        [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

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        • #5
          I did not realize that the DIY Panels were such a fire hazard. I am not planning on using any organic materials, wood, pegboard, etc. I plan to use aluminum frame, silicon caulk, safety glass and approved encapsulant. Only top of the line quality materials and equipment.

          I have just recently installed a tankless water heater and non-electric water softener. I installed a separate service for the tankless water heater and ran additional plumbing to the water heater. I feel totally competent of installing the necessary equipment. But then again there is always that first time. Last month the on demand water heater and softener reduced my electric bill by 5o+%, of coarse my heat pump or air conditioner were not running but very little. I believe that the previous water heater was not very effient.

          If I have to have the panels installed professionally I can not afford to have this done.

          Comment


          • #6
            There is relatively low voltage but high amps - if equipment is not up to snuff then things could get hot easily.

            The inspectors, utilities and insurance companies have everything to lose and nothing to gain. Even if a system is perfect it would be difficult for them to be sure. With the approval of an agency like UL they know equipment has been gone over in detail.

            I was reading where a guy with a new system spent 3.85 US per watt - he installed it. Another spent about 4.35 US per watt and I believe an installer did it.

            Doing the installation yourself doesn't seem to be such a problem but they want equipment approved by an authorized agency.
            [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Swede427 View Post
              I did not realize that the DIY Panels were such a fire hazard. I am not planning on using any organic materials, wood, pegboard, etc. I plan to use aluminum frame, silicon caulk, safety glass and approved encapsulant. Only top of the line quality materials and equipment.
              Does not mater what materials you use. Your system components do not bear any approved listing agency like UL. You will not even be able to apply for a construction permit.
              MSEE, PE

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