X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Small home DIY install in Ohio

    Hello All,

    Been poking around the forums some and wanted to introduce myself and the project I'm planning to install. I'm an EV enthusiast with an electric motorcycle and recently purchased a Volt. With some of the tax rebate monies I want to but a solar system on my home. I have a solid south facing roof with zero shading all day (overhead power lines in my back yard). Been working with PVwatts/Helioscope/SAM program to help figure out what my optimal layout is while stretching my dollar the furthest. This has me settled on 10 72cell panels with APS YC500i micros. Minimizes my wiring and racking with single 17' rails.

    Ideally I wanted to get all black panels. I have a corner lot with the solar panels being very visible to everyone passing by. I want to be an advocate of the technology and think that aesthetics is a low hanging fruit for many people to dismiss the idea. Very hard to find 72cell all black panels, but I did find some Mono panels. Has anyone painted or black taped silver frame panels? Bad idea? I've sent an email to Canadian Solar asking about any warranty issues.

    Currently I plan to order from RES Supply and Webo Solar. System looks like this.
    10 - Canadian Solar CS6U-345M
    5 - APS YC500i Micros
    Iron Ridge XR100 racking

    Let me know your thoughts. I'm sure I'll have more questions along the way.
    Kyle

  • #2
    To grid connect those micros, you first need a contract with your PoCo. Bruce Roe

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by bcroe View Post
      To grid connect those micros, you first need a contract with your PoCo. Bruce Roe
      Yep I've got the paperwork for them. Next step roof inspection, permits and then interconnection agreement with AEP.

      Comment


      • #4
        Electrical design, layout design, permit application, inspections as required by your area (usually two - framing and final electrical but completely up to your AHJ) and whatever is required by your PoCo.

        If you are doing the electrical yourself and are allowed to do so based on your AHJ - you will be subject to all state and local codes. PIck up a copy of the NEC for your code cycle (about $100 from NFPA.com) and make it your best friend. You most likely already know this but you can wire that up as a single 15amp string given the max output of those microinverters is 2.28 amps. You might be tempted to go PVC conduit but think about temps and what it does to PVC - review Article 352. I would suggest going EMT / RMC. Again - local codes may decide this for you. Think of it this way - this is your home and you don't want to do anything that could endanger that home.

        Carefully review your PoCo requirements for interconnection and follow them. You are looking for the rules associated with a load side connection.

        The IronRidge system is nice - makes it easy and you will not need to drill anything to the rails. Seal the mounting brackets correctly - you don't want any leaks. Think about stainless screws and misc hardware - mcmaster.com has a great selection for anything that Iron Ridge does not supply.

        And painting or taping the edges? Well - think about how the Iron Ridge hardware works - the teeth dig into the frame of the panels past the anodized coating to ensure proper bonding. Any modifications to that frame would most likely void the warranty and possibly the UL listing.

        Good luck, ask questions and post pictures!

        Comment


        • #5
          I found 60-cell modules difficult enough to handle because of their size.
          My advice is to not do 72's.
          LG has some very nice looking all-black 60's.
          If you have to do longer rails (ex. 22' made up of a pair of 11') it really isn't that much different.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by tyab View Post
            Electrical design, layout design, permit application, inspections as required by your area (usually two - framing and final electrical but completely up to your AHJ) and whatever is required by your PoCo.

            If you are doing the electrical yourself and are allowed to do so based on your AHJ - you will be subject to all state and local codes. PIck up a copy of the NEC for your code cycle (about $100 from NFPA.com) and make it your best friend. You most likely already know this but you can wire that up as a single 15amp string given the max output of those microinverters is 2.28 amps. You might be tempted to go PVC conduit but think about temps and what it does to PVC - review Article 352. I would suggest going EMT / RMC. Again - local codes may decide this for you. Think of it this way - this is your home and you don't want to do anything that could endanger that home.

            Carefully review your PoCo requirements for interconnection and follow them. You are looking for the rules associated with a load side connection.

            The IronRidge system is nice - makes it easy and you will not need to drill anything to the rails. Seal the mounting brackets correctly - you don't want any leaks. Think about stainless screws and misc hardware - mcmaster.com has a great selection for anything that Iron Ridge does not supply.

            And painting or taping the edges? Well - think about how the Iron Ridge hardware works - the teeth dig into the frame of the panels past the anodized coating to ensure proper bonding. Any modifications to that frame would most likely void the warranty and possibly the UL listing.

            Good luck, ask questions and post pictures!
            Luckily I found a local community group of solar advocates with at least 4 members who have installed systems themselves. Going to leverage them to get the right inspectors/PE stamps for my setup. Good point about the frames and grounding. Something I missed.

            At the end of the day I am unsure of how long I'll be at my current house (3yrs at least). But I dont want that to be a reason not to do it now. So I think I will hold out and find a good deal for all black panels which should appeal more to buyers. For this same reason I have decided to utilize my garage's East/West roof for panels instead of my single south roof. Attic access in garage means easy structural analysis/install/wiring (vaulted ceiling on south roof makes all that difficult), leaks into garage not as bad as into house, and home aesthetics will be less affected.


            Originally posted by foo1bar View Post
            I found 60-cell modules difficult enough to handle because of their size.
            My advice is to not do 72's.
            LG has some very nice looking all-black 60's.
            If you have to do longer rails (ex. 22' made up of a pair of 11') it really isn't that much different.
            Thanks for the advice. Although I do have a number of friends interested in helping with the install. But 72cell units won't fit on my garage roof well anyways so I've tried to focus more on a cheap black 60 cell.

            Comment


            • #7
              Let me first say I definitely have FOBO (fear of better options) and love to research. This means my "plans" change a lot. But I could use some opinions on this current pairing.

              I can get some brand new (old stock) all Black Hanwha Solarone 240W panels for $0.39/W delivered. My inverter questions is two fold and slightly technical. First one involves the YC500i. Is there a technical reason that you couldn't connect two panels in parallel to 1 of the micro inputs? Input is max 12A, 15A short circuit. Panel at STC is 8.1A. If panels are in an east/west configuration at 30deg tilts in Ohio then I can't see there being more then 10-11A max. Maybe add an inline fuse. Thoughts? Would this ever pass inspection?

              Second question is a bit more practical. I can get some used Enphase M190s for a very low price. So no warranty, but they have been "field tested". It would save me $800 (20% of total) in a 4kW install with inverters to spare as replacements. I know that these micros are more unreliable than the current tech micros. I would most likely remote mount them in my attic to keep them cooler and easier to replace. I dont mind the hands on of having to replace one or two. Think it's worth the initial savings or am I crazy not to get new inverters and just extend my payback period by a year?

              Thanks for all the input so far.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Nut&Volts View Post

                I know that these micros are more unreliable than the current tech micros. I would most likely remote mount them in my attic to keep them cooler and easier to replace.

                Thanks for all the input so far.
                Not sure you can rig that up in a code compliant way.
                OutBack FP1 w/ CS6P-250P http://bit.ly/1Sg5VNH

                Comment


                • #9
                  I wouldn't go with an old enphase micro inverter unless they were free AND easily could be swapped with current version ones (ie. same cable, just unplug, unbolt from rack, bolt the new one in, connect and put module back down)

                  I started out looking at microinverters.
                  I wound up with Solaredge (lower price, still handle shade and multiple roof orientations, and my belief (which may be wrong) that they'll be more reliable.)
                  Since you're doing an un-shaded east roof + west roof, I would really really look at just a regular string inverter.
                  You can have signifcantly more DC wattage than the inverter's max because the east roof and the west roof will be at peak production at different times.


                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Maybe I'm more of an anachronism than I thought, but the way I learned it, south facing panel orientation yielded more in annual production than east or west facing.

                    Aesthetics are certainly a consideration, but I've seen no mention of loads to be met.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by ButchDeal View Post
                      Not sure you can rig that up in a code compliant way.
                      I think extending the dc panel cables wouldn't be a problem. Just like running DC cable to a string inverter. But maybe the micros location would be a problem? Is that your concern?

                      Originally posted by foo1bar View Post
                      I wouldn't go with an old enphase micro inverter unless they were free AND easily could be swapped with current version ones (ie. same cable, just unplug, unbolt from rack, bolt the new one in, connect and put module back down)

                      I started out looking at microinverters.
                      I wound up with Solaredge (lower price, still handle shade and multiple roof orientations, and my belief (which may be wrong) that they'll be more reliable.)
                      Since you're doing an un-shaded east roof + west roof, I would really really look at just a regular string inverter.
                      You can have signifcantly more DC wattage than the inverter's max because the east roof and the west roof will be at peak production at different times
                      I keep coming back to this route, but can't find the cost advantage. Here's a breakdown for a 20 panel East/West System
                      Micros - APS YC500i - 548W - 10 need - $178 webosolar ($157+$21cable)
                      5480W AC max - $1780

                      Optimizers - Solaredge P300 - 20need - $50 ebay & SE3800HD - 1 need - $950 renvu
                      3800W AC max - $1950

                      Cheaper and has more power potential to go with Micros. Maybe I'm missing something thou.

                      Originally posted by J.P.M. View Post
                      Maybe I'm more of an anachronism than I thought, but the way I learned it, south facing panel orientation yielded more in annual production than east or west facing.

                      Aesthetics are certainly a consideration, but I've seen no mention of loads to be met.
                      Yes your are very right about the south facing and that was the first place I considered putting them. I have used Helioscope and now I am using the NREL SAM program to test different layouts. Putting the same system on each roof I get the following breakdown, South=100%, West=87%, East=82% output. These are all 27-30deg tilt and the south roof is at ~168deg azimuth.

                      I tried outlining my motivation in an earlier thread about why I am ok with the West/East roof. The added roof area allowed me to use more panels. Ordering older lower wattage panels in a pallet quanitity can greatly reduced my cost, meaning I could get more energy output for the same cost. And the East/West arrangement may potentially allow me to spend less on inverters.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Nut&Volts View Post
                        I think extending the dc panel cables wouldn't be a problem. Just like running DC cable to a string inverter. But maybe the micros location would be a problem? Is that your concern?
                        Having the DC inside the home without conduit. When you go to a String inverter you combine them on the roof then inside of conduit all the way to the DC disconnect.
                        You would have to have the micro inverter inside the conduit.
                        And talk about a lot of penetrations in roof.

                        Originally posted by Nut&Volts View Post
                        I keep coming back to this route, but can't find the cost advantage. Here's a breakdown for a 20 panel East/West System
                        Micros - APS YC500i - 548W - 10 need - $178 webosolar ($157+$21cable)
                        5480W AC max - $1780

                        Optimizers - Solaredge P300 - 20need - $50 ebay & SE3800HD - 1 need - $950 renvu
                        3800W AC max - $1950
                        What PV modules are you using with this example? If you are still looking at the CS6U-345M for a 6.9kw system, then you should be looking a larger SolarEdge (SE5000 maybe) inverter and the P400 optimizer.
                        OutBack FP1 w/ CS6P-250P http://bit.ly/1Sg5VNH

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Nut&Volts View Post



                          Yes your are very right about the south facing and that was the first place I considered putting them. I have used Helioscope and now I am using the NREL SAM program to test different layouts. Putting the same system on each roof I get the following breakdown, South=100%, West=87%, East=82% output. These are all 27-30deg tilt and the south roof is at ~168deg azimuth.

                          I tried outlining my motivation in an earlier thread about why I am ok with the West/East roof. The added roof area allowed me to use more panels. Ordering older lower wattage panels in a pallet quanitity can greatly reduced my cost, meaning I could get more energy output for the same cost. And the East/West arrangement may potentially allow me to spend less on inverters.
                          Understood. Just my manic attitude about squeezing as much out of any application as the criteria allows. Aesthetics have a cost. So be it.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by ButchDeal View Post
                            Having the DC inside the home without conduit. When you go to a String inverter you combine them on the roof then inside of conduit all the way to the DC disconnect.
                            You would have to have the micro inverter inside the conduit.
                            And talk about a lot of penetrations in roof.

                            What PV modules are you using with this example? If you are still looking at the CS6U-345M for a 6.9kw system, then you should be looking a larger SolarEdge (SE5000 maybe) inverter and the P400 optimizer.
                            Thanks for pointing out that issue with the in attic micro/PV wire. Bummer.

                            My above example doesn't change no matter what panel you use. With the SE5000 ($1200) and P400 ($55*20) you make the cost breakdown even better for micros

                            APS-YC500i - 10 - 5480W - $1780
                            Solaredge - 20+1 - 5000W - $2300

                            Anyone have a better string inverter setup to suggest?

                            Here is my west roof and south roof at 6pm today

                            March 16, 2017 at 0556PM.jpg
                            March 16, 2017 at 0556PM (1).jpg

                            And some images with panels rendered in place
                            East_West.JPG


                            South.JPG

                            The big long stems are for box location, etc. Ignore them
                            Attached Files

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              If you are putting 10 of the Hanwha Solarone 240's East and 10 West, each at 30 deg, you could consider the SB 3.8 -1SP, for ~$1400, plus rapid shutdown if needed for 2014 NEC, is another $450. The Fronius Primo 3.8 looks like it would be ~$150 less than SMA, rapid shutdown isn't much cheaper though if needed.

                              For hardcore savings, Renvu has the transformer based SMA SB4000US-10 listed in their weekly specials for $567.
                              CS6P-260P/SE3000 - http://tiny.cc/ed5ozx

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X