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DIY grid-tie Solar install - West facing roof vs south facing ground mount

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  • littleharbor
    replied
    [QUOTE=Markyrocks69;n399980]

    My panels came from a completely legit company on Ebay called Santan solar.


    I just bought a pallet of solar panels from San Tan Solar. Very happy all around with them They were used panels which were very well palletized and wrapped. Great prices, shipping was very reasonable and fast.

    I'd recommend dealing [COLOR=#000000][FONT=Helvetica][SIZE=13px]with them [/SIZE][/FONT][/COLOR]direct over using evilBay. They don't have to pay eBay fees and consequently I got a better price on the panels.
    Last edited by littleharbor; 06-28-2019, 07:52 AM.

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  • Markyrocks69
    replied
    Originally posted by Coach v View Post

    I built the house and shop myself (including electrical) so I figure I can handle the solar system. I am going with a package kit through tandem-solar.
    That's no fun. I'm the kinda guy that likes to make life harder than it needs to be

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  • Coach v
    replied
    Originally posted by Markyrocks69 View Post

    All I can say is good luck. Its going to be a pita but it will be worth it. I got my approval to move forward with my system the beginning of May and I'm still not done. I would have been done by now if not for serious issues with the inverters.

    I used invertersupply.com for my latest inverters, best prices I could find. My panels came from a completely legit company on Ebay called Santan solar. 60x sunpower p17 340 com 340 watt panels delivered to a local shipping terminal for 6 grand. They're out west so your shipping would be cheaper.

    I bought my rails off of solaris-shop.com 150$ flat rate shipping on all orders. But best prices I could find. Bought 30 sticks of unirac 168" rails for like 1700$ I forget. I was going to go with iron ridge but unirac is better for wider spacing of L feet for a ground mount. You have to look at all that kinda stuff. Do your research. plan the whole thing out to the T b4 you break ground. Its tedious and it sucks. I thought I had done mine but I basically got screwed over on my inverters by a guy on Ebay. Really threw a monkey wrench in the plan.
    I built the house and shop myself (including electrical) so I figure I can handle the solar system. I am going with a package kit through tandem-solar.

    Leave a comment:


  • bcroe
    replied
    Originally posted by Markyrocks69
    I'll have 20kw worth of panels in a ground mount with 15.4 kw worth of inverters for less than 12 grand?
    Great example of what DIY can save and accomplish. Bruce Roe

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  • jflorey2
    replied
    Originally posted by Spektre View Post
    Enphase's Enlighten software lets you know exactly which micro is misbehaving. Replacing one on my flat roof with tilted panels would take me about 15 mins.
    That's great. But for people with ordinary slanted roofs, it's a lot harder to get up there.
    You are aware that your panels are putting DC onto the line as soon as you connect them, right? There is no AC output from your micro until you tell it to.
    Right . . .
    It's hot here in Phoenix, so putting string inverters in direct sunlight is not the greatest of ideas.
    I have an outside inverter directly in the sun for about 1/3 of the day here in San Diego - it's worked for 16 years now. No problems other than some yellowing of the display. But if it is a problem, you can shade it.
    There's nothing special about Enphase trunk cable - it's only ~$1/ft, and you only need to run it from the end of your string to your combiner box/panel.
    The old Enphase Engage cabling was a pain in the butt and far more than $1/ft - and you always had the wrong type (portrait vs landscape.) The Q cable looks like they've learned their lesson.

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  • Markyrocks69
    replied
    Originally posted by Coach v View Post

    I am in a similar, but smaller situation with paying out of pocket and doing all the work myself. The difference in cost is less for me, running approximately $2-2.5k for inverters over string. My system should run around $9k all said, not including any tax credits.
    All I can say is good luck. Its going to be a pita but it will be worth it. I got my approval to move forward with my system the beginning of May and I'm still not done. I would have been done by now if not for serious issues with the inverters.

    I used invertersupply.com for my latest inverters, best prices I could find. My panels came from a completely legit company on Ebay called Santan solar. 60x sunpower p17 340 com 340 watt panels delivered to a local shipping terminal for 6 grand. They're out west so your shipping would be cheaper.

    I bought my rails off of solaris-shop.com 150$ flat rate shipping on all orders. But best prices I could find. Bought 30 sticks of unirac 168" rails for like 1700$ I forget. I was going to go with iron ridge but unirac is better for wider spacing of L feet for a ground mount. You have to look at all that kinda stuff. Do your research. plan the whole thing out to the T b4 you break ground. Its tedious and it sucks. I thought I had done mine but I basically got screwed over on my inverters by a guy on Ebay. Really threw a monkey wrench in the plan.
    Attached Files

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  • Coach v
    replied
    Originally posted by Markyrocks69 View Post
    Also for the record I had considered micro inverters for my setup after the debacle. I just couldn't justify the extra money. It's easy to talk about money when its getting wrapped up into a loan but I'm buying all my equipment out of pocket. And doing all the work myself. I was already stretched thin and the extra 6 or 7 grand it would have cost me just wasn't justifiable let alone attainable. I am aware of the pros and cons. I've made my decision. I'm just happy to be getting close to get my system operating. I'm going on vacation next week so that's cutting into my time to fix this mess. I have a solid plan.and when it's all said and done I'll have 20kw worth of panels in a ground mount with 15.4 kw worth of inverters for less than 12 grand? And no loan payment. Sounds like heaven.
    I am in a similar, but smaller situation with paying out of pocket and doing all the work myself. The difference in cost is less for me, running approximately $2-2.5k for inverters over string. My system should run around $9k all said, not including any tax credits.

    Leave a comment:


  • Markyrocks69
    replied
    Also for the record I had considered micro inverters for my setup after the debacle. I just couldn't justify the extra money. It's easy to talk about money when its getting wrapped up into a loan but I'm buying all my equipment out of pocket. And doing all the work myself. I was already stretched thin and the extra 6 or 7 grand it would have cost me just wasn't justifiable let alone attainable. I am aware of the pros and cons. I've made my decision. I'm just happy to be getting close to get my system operating. I'm going on vacation next week so that's cutting into my time to fix this mess. I have a solid plan.and when it's all said and done I'll have 20kw worth of panels in a ground mount with 15.4 kw worth of inverters for less than 12 grand? And no loan payment. Sounds like heaven.

    Leave a comment:


  • J.P.M.
    replied
    Originally posted by Spektre View Post

    We all know how JPM feels about micros, so I'm not surprised he chimed in.
    And apparently, we all now know how you feel, at least about Enphase.

    Since this is a place for, among other things, opinions, I'm only offering an alternate view to counter all the opinion from you fanboys for what I see as unnecessarily complicated systems such as microinverters and optimizers that do little more for most users than provide information most folks not only don't care about shortly after install - if at all - but most likely don't even know what it is in the first place.

    I challenge you all to look at any one day's postings and see how many of the posts relate problems with microinverters and optimizers - SolarEdge stuff in particular. Seems a lot to me and out of proportion to market share.

    Maybe my old age dementia is nibbling at the edges my sentience more than I'm aware, but from my perch of diminished mental capacity, it doesn't take more than one eye and one balloon knot to notice a lot of traffic on this forum about systems that do things most people may even know about, much less care about, at the expense of a higher probability of decreased reliability. And to my reading anyway, most of those posts are not from happy campers.

    If the information is wanted and used then it might be worth it - like maybe for informed users who can walk in with their eyes open.

    For joe & Jane 6-pack, if no one uses it, it's useless. If it's not used and it decreases systems' reliability, then it's less than useless and a detriment to system reliability.

    Think less parochially - most folks are clueless about what they bought, or how it operates, and have little if any inclination of how it works and less inclination to find out.

    Less complication means higher probability of greater reliability, probably for less initial investment. More/better reliability is needed more than bells and whistles that go unheard or ignored.

    Leave a comment:


  • nwdiver
    replied
    Originally posted by bcroe View Post
    The strings are not quite the No Brain level. On a string of 12 panels I bring together but
    do not join panels 4-5, and 8-9. This leaves the system in much lower voltage sections,
    with no possible current flow if done correctly.
    The new inverters are WAAAY better. Current SMA inverters have 2 or 3 MPPTs so each string should have its own channel. The MPP range is also ~100v - 480v. So you can have any combination of 4 - 14 panels, just have to make sure that all panels on any string all have the ~same orientation.

    Originally posted by Markyrocks69 View Post

    I'm anti micro bc I just think it's a waste of money.
    +1 I got free micros from Renvu as part of a promotion and it was STILL almost as expensive as buying a string inverter because of the stupid trunk cable you need!
    Last edited by nwdiver; 06-27-2019, 03:34 PM.

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  • Markyrocks69
    replied
    Originally posted by Spektre View Post

    We all know how JPM feels about micros, so I'm not surprised he chimed in. Marky, based upon your adventures getting your system up and running, I'm surprised you're so anti-micro.

    Enphase's Enlighten software lets you know exactly which micro is misbehaving. Replacing one on my flat roof with tilted panels would take me about 15 mins.
    You are aware that your panels are putting DC onto the line as soon as you connect them, right? There is no AC output from your micro until you tell it to.
    It's hot here in Phoenix, so putting string inverters in direct sunlight is not the greatest of ideas.
    There's nothing special about Enphase trunk cable - it's only ~$1/ft, and you only need to run it from the end of your string to your combiner box/panel.

    Anyways, to each his own. As a DIY person, micros for me are way easier.
    I'm anti micro bc I just think it's a waste of money. As far as the software, you actually have to look at it to determine if there is a problem, most people after the first year or 2 wont even bother to look. Flat roof system isn't exactly typical of s roof mount setup.

    every system is going to be different so where the inverter needs to go can obviously change. But is it going to be hotter under a panel on your flat roof or on the ground in direct sunlight? I'd usually say the roof is hotter but with panels blocking it's still going to be similar temps.

    1$ a foot.... for trunk cable? I suppose the wiring scheme could be cleaner depending on the layout but I bought 1000 linear feet of pv wire and I think it was less than 300 and mc4 connectors are like 50 sets for 30$.

    Yes I realize the DC lines are hot at the panels but you still have to connect the panels into the enphase inverter. Obviously mc4 connectors are designed to be safe. I'd personally make the connection at the inverter first in a string inverter scenario, then connect the panels in the string and then make the final connections to the wires running into the inverter.

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  • bcroe
    replied
    The strings are not quite the No Brain level. On a string of 12 panels I bring together but
    do not join panels 4-5, and 8-9. This leaves the system in much lower voltage sections,
    with no possible current flow if done correctly. Once all is ready, I join the last 2 pairs of
    MC4s and make tests. I connect this tool to each string pair, to observe voltage with some
    current capability. I connect between ground and to one string end, then the other end
    and should observe no power if there are no ground faults. Later my DC Clamp On
    ammeter verifies proper operation of each string. Bruce Roe

    PVtestLt.JPG
    Last edited by bcroe; 06-27-2019, 02:46 PM.

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  • Spektre
    replied
    Originally posted by Markyrocks69 View Post

    Mc4 connections aren't plug and play? If your messing with energized DC lines your doing something wrong. Ease of replacement. Lol youd probably never even know if you had 3 or 4 dead mico inverters. Why does your string inverter need to be in the garage? Most people just bolt it to the side of their house. I will say buying whatever special cable is required for enphase is significantly more expensive than 10 gauge Pv wire. Mc4 connectors are dirt cheap. But you're right if the microinverter needs replacing in a roof mount situation it's much easier to climb up there, Remove the panel(s) replace and reinstall than to replace a string inverter that's on the ground and exposed.
    We all know how JPM feels about micros, so I'm not surprised he chimed in. Marky, based upon your adventures getting your system up and running, I'm surprised you're so anti-micro.

    Enphase's Enlighten software lets you know exactly which micro is misbehaving. Replacing one on my flat roof with tilted panels would take me about 15 mins.
    You are aware that your panels are putting DC onto the line as soon as you connect them, right? There is no AC output from your micro until you tell it to.
    It's hot here in Phoenix, so putting string inverters in direct sunlight is not the greatest of ideas.
    There's nothing special about Enphase trunk cable - it's only ~$1/ft, and you only need to run it from the end of your string to your combiner box/panel.

    Anyways, to each his own. As a DIY person, micros for me are way easier.

    Leave a comment:


  • J.P.M.
    replied
    Originally posted by markyrocks69 View Post

    mc4 connections aren't plug and play? If your messing with energized dc lines your doing something wrong. Ease of replacement. Lol youd probably never even know if you had 3 or 4 dead mico inverters. Why does your string inverter need to be in the garage? Most people just bolt it to the side of their house. I will say buying whatever special cable is required for enphase is significantly more expensive than 10 gauge pv wire. Mc4 connectors are dirt cheap. But you're right if the microinverter needs replacing in a roof mount situation it's much easier to climb up there, remove the panel(s) replace and reinstall than to replace a string inverter that's on the ground and exposed.
    fwiw, +1.

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  • Markyrocks69
    replied
    Originally posted by Spektre View Post

    Plug and play connections (mostly)
    No messing with energized dc cables
    No additional rapid shutdown device needed
    Ease of replacement if necessary
    For my installation, string inverters would need to be in my garage, so additional 50-60' run to/from exterior mounted panel
    Mc4 connections aren't plug and play? If your messing with energized DC lines your doing something wrong. Ease of replacement. Lol youd probably never even know if you had 3 or 4 dead mico inverters. Why does your string inverter need to be in the garage? Most people just bolt it to the side of their house. I will say buying whatever special cable is required for enphase is significantly more expensive than 10 gauge Pv wire. Mc4 connectors are dirt cheap. But you're right if the microinverter needs replacing in a roof mount situation it's much easier to climb up there, Remove the panel(s) replace and reinstall than to replace a string inverter that's on the ground and exposed.

    Leave a comment:

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