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  • Ground mounting setup

    What is a good design for a ground mount setup? Is there one brand that I should look into over another another? In Oklahoma I may have severe winds. Are there any considerations when wind is a factor or hail? How much distance can there be between the inverter and the panels? Is a system that tracks or is easily adjusts for different angles preferable?

    My Ultimate goal is to build a small ground mounted grid tie system. I was looking for a game plan to start small and build up to something bigger that would possibly cover 100% of my usage. I average 1300kwh a month. That may be reduced because I upgraded my heating and cooling system to modern stuff. 14 seer a/c with new gas furnace. It had gas before but the furnace was 30 years old. I could probably use all LED lighting and maybe abandon the electric dryer for a gas one to further reduce my electric use. I am not sure where that will leave me as far as system size.

  • #2
    The IronRidge site may help you design a ground mount that will withstand high wind loads among other engineering requirements.

    Comment


    • #3
      Distance will influence your design; here at 400VDC its some 800' from the meter to the farthest solar panel. Its
      all a tradeoff between copper, voltage, and efficiency. These systems do not grow well, another plan is to
      work on conserving as much energy as possible, then build solar to match. Converting as many appliances
      to natural gas works, and use energy star appliances, esp the fridge. A micro inverter system might be more
      expandable, but adds cost and forces you to cover some distances at lower voltages, while putting you at more
      risk of high line voltage shutdown.

      Panels are pretty tough, but at some level they can be destroyed by really big hail, flying objects, or wind.
      But the panel cost is a relatively small part of a system; worst case some of them could be replaced if the
      rest of the system survives. I have 150,000 panel days with zero damage here in NW IL. Bruce Roe
      Last edited by bcroe; 03-18-2017, 02:14 PM.

      Comment


      • #4
        As a preliminary game plan, before you start or go further, I'd suggest you get informed.

        Start by downloading and reading a free copy of "Solar Power Your Home for Dummies" from the net. Or, an updated copy is available for ~ $25 at bookstores/amazon, etc.

        Solar is not rocket science, but it does take some knowledge to get is right, or close to right. Suit yourself but consider doing yourself a big favor and get informed before you start. You'll have a better system for less $$ and hassle.

        Often, folks who take the time & effort to get informed discover the hype they've been fed by media and peddlers contains more than a little B.S. designed to separate fools from their money. Knowledge is power. The power to help avoid getting screwed. Read the book and get some (power that is).

        Then, understand what your monthly and annual loads are, how much you pay per month and how you are billed by your POwer COompany (your "POCO").

        Do all, or at least most of your energy conservation measures BEFORE any PV. Otherwise, your system will be more oversized and less cost effective than it will probably be anyway.

        Also, energy saved by conservation measures is way less costly than the same amount of electricity provided by PV. Conservation also can compound the savings by allowing any subsequent and post conservation PV system to be smaller (read less expensive), resulting in more savings.

        Except for A/C, use natural gas, if available, instead of electricity wherever possible. Natural gas will almost always be a way less expensive way to go now and probably for some time to come.

        If you have low electricity rates, it may not make economic sense for solar or other R.E. stuff. Alternate energy is not cost effective in every situation, probably not even most.

        Check your local building authority for construction and permitting requirements. Those vary by area. When dealing with inspectors, remember the 2 rules: 1.) The inspector is always right. 2.) if the inspector is wrong, see rule # 1.

        Many AHJ's (Authority having Jurisdiction) can be very helpful and a real source of good information. Or your worst nightmare. Walk in or approaching them with an attitude is like putting a round in both feet. They have more bullets than you. Suit yourself on that one.

        Whether required by permitting authorities or not, making sure any structure will withstand wind and seismic as well as other imposed forces and loads is one necessary design consideration of many. The construction can be DIY provided you follow sound design, drawings, bills of materials and inspection requirements. Lots of places have strong winds. There is a well developed body of knowledge to handle wind, seismic and other design loads. Like it or not, you may need a design done, or at least reviewed and stamped by a P.E. Many racking outfits have more/less std. designs or erector set type mounting systems that may be suitable.

        While it seems a good idea, upsizing PV is not as good an idea or as easy as you might think. Repermitting, the end of gov. tax credits, resizing and probably replacing equipment made unsuitable by resizing, and other things often make adding to an existing system impractical and uneconomical.

        Good luck.

        Take what you want of the above. Scrap the rest.
        Last edited by J.P.M.; 03-18-2017, 03:59 PM.

        Comment


        • #5
          Wouldn't I be better off reading Photovalic Design & Installation for dummies? https://www.amazon.com/Photovoltaic-...tallation+book

          Maybe I should consult the Germans? https://www.amazon.com/Planning-Inst...tallation+book

          It would be probably be better to go back to school and take this class with the book? https://www.solarenergy.org/shop/pub...vious-edition/


          Free is tempting? https://archive.org/details/SolarPow...HomeForDummies

          Retro is always a novel idea? https://www.amazon.com//gp/offer-lis...ag=bkfndr96-20

          Maybe it would just be easier to ask a question on solar forum? I guess not.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by supertrucker View Post
            ......

            Maybe it would just be easier to ask a question on solar forum? I guess not.
            Knowledge is power. Getting answers from people that may or may not have the correct answers could lead you in the wrong direction.

            Learning more about the technology yourself may be a better path first which can lead you to asking more detailed questions.

            Comment


            • #7
              I don't get it. You got answers to your questions and then some other important info to consider. You also were pointed to some very informative reading material. You might search Ground mount installations for examples. You asked a general question and got general answers. along with additional things to consider. Figure out your loads after doing all you can to increase efficiency. That will give you a better idea on how large an array you will need. You cant expect a turnkey design to be handed to you in a couple paragraphs.
              2.2kw Suntech mono, Classic 200, NEW Trace SW4024

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by supertrucker View Post
                Wouldn't I be better off reading Photovalic Design & Installation for dummies? https://www.amazon.com/Photovoltaic-...tallation+book

                Maybe I should consult the Germans? https://www.amazon.com/Planning-Inst...tallation+book

                It would be probably be better to go back to school and take this class with the book? https://www.solarenergy.org/shop/pub...vious-edition/


                Free is tempting? https://archive.org/details/SolarPow...HomeForDummies

                Retro is always a novel idea? https://www.amazon.com//gp/offer-lis...ag=bkfndr96-20

                Maybe it would just be easier to ask a question on solar forum? I guess not.
                Maybe and, IMO only, probably. Do as you wish. If you first do everything in the way of self information, as you write above, the probability of you asking better questions here, and getting more and better information as a result will most likely be higher. Questions are easy to ask. Informed questions take a bit more effort. Answers here are free, and as you write, free is tempting. You usually get what you pay for. Or less. This place may well be different in that respect, but some selectivity may be needed to separate information supplied in what amounts to pro bono fashion by professionals from a lot of junk that will sometimes have a higher likelihood of wasting people's time or worse. Self information helps separate the wheat from the chaff.

                As my prior post ended, take what you want of the above. Scrap the rest.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I have 90 acres I could have put ground mounts on, but the weeding tasks to keep the lower panels clear, were daunting. So I went with tall pole mounts. And found they are too high to scrape the seasonal 3" of snow off of, I have to wait for it to melt.



                  20170102_134826c.jpg
                  Powerfab top of pole PV mount (2) | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
                  || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
                  || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

                  solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
                  gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Hmm. Maybe articulating pole mounts that will lower on demand for cleaning and maintenance.

                    The weather always seems to be a PIA when it comes to a solar array.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Mike90250
                      I have 90 acres I could have put ground mounts on, but the weeding tasks to keep the lower panels clear, were daunting.
                      So I went with tall pole mounts. And found they are too high to scrape the seasonal 3" of snow off of, I have to wait for it to melt.
                      Only 3 inches? Any mount changes in mind? Bruce Roe

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Mike90250 View Post
                        I have 90 acres I could have put ground mounts on, but the weeding tasks to keep the lower panels clear, were daunting. So I went with tall pole mounts. And found they are too high to scrape the seasonal 3" of snow off of, I have to wait for it to melt.



                        20170102_134826c.jpg
                        Q: Mike: Do you clean the panels ?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I think he said he waits for Spring time when the snow melts.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            How much concrete is under one of those poles? That one in the back with 15 panels would probably cover my needs. Its a Powerfab mount? Does it tilt for different angles easily?

                            I am guessing 15 panels would equal 4000-4500w? I am not sure how one thinks, but I believe the net energy tariff here only compensates you month to month for any energy you use and overproduction is not compensated or compensated very little. Read it a couple times and don't quite understand the OG&E tariffs. here it is:https://oge.com/wps/wcm/connect/1c7e...0-bd97cafd9a7a

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              The poles are sunk 10' deep, 24" hole, filled with concrete. The panels are 200w Evergreens, 3Kw on the rear pole, 2kw on the closer, taller pole. We've had steady 50mph winds and gusts and they've held up so far.
                              Takes 2-3 days to get the snow off. Summer, I rinse them down once a month with garden hose. i wash before sunrise, while the dew has the crud soft.
                              Powerfab top of pole PV mount (2) | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
                              || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
                              || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

                              solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
                              gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister

                              Comment

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