Thursday, February 23, 2012

And than came the panels

I obtained these panels from a company called Sun Electronics out of Miami Florida at $0.78/watt, which is a very good deal.  I payed about $1900 (with freight) for 10 panels at 2100 watts.  I should have bought 10 more at least now that i think about it.  The panels took several weeks to arrive but i was patient, especially at that price.  These are Evergreen ESE 210W panels that are rated to work with Enphase Microinverter systems.
I met the freight driver in town (we live on a narrow dirt road) and loaded the pallet on a trailer, which weighed about 460 pounds.  I was careful to inspect these panels as best i could before signing the shipping invoice.  THIS IS IMPORTANT.  Nonetheless, the panels were beautiful and i was excited to have them in my possession.  They seem very well constructed and are impressively large in size.

I formulated a plan to mount these and asked a friend to assist on probably the coldest sunday of the year, but hey, i was anxious to get them on the mounts.  Unfortunately he was running late so i got to work on my own.

I first installed the Enphase M215 microinverters which i found online for $150 a piece with free shipping.  I bought 10 to match my number of panels.  These are very nicely built with good efficiency ratings to boot and they have a 25 year warranty, which matches the warranty on the panels.  So this system is built to last!
I installed the microinverters and all the bolts for the panels and jumper/bonding cables, which all came together very well.  The ironridge system is very nice and easy to work with.
I heeded Gary's advice and made a board system for the bottom of the mounts to hold the panels while i carefully lined them up.  http://www.builditsolar.com/Projects/PV/EnphasePV/ComponentInstall.htm
Once i felt strongly the first panel was squared up and in place i began adding panels.
The panels went on very quickly and and suprisingly easy once the first one was set up really well.  I did this alone in about 2 hours at most.  It was fun and painless.  The panels weight about 45 pounds each.  I torqued all the bolts to specification, using the WEEB grounding washer system.  I used a copper strand through all the microinverters and tied these to two grounding rods spaced 6 feet apart (inspector requested two rods).
I cut the rods off at the ground after pounding them in as far as i possibly could (about 7 feet each).
 looking 180 degrees south.
Here is a picture from my back deck, with the drain back solar hot water heating system in the foreground to the right.  The trencher helped with the 100 or so feet i had to dig to bring the 1.5 inch conduit to the house. It is 18 inches deep in conduit (per code).  I think they look pretty nice out in the field.

2 comments:

  1. You were getting a lot of compliments on this install when we wrapped up the solar thermal at my house on Saturday.

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  2. Great job! Very informative blog.Hope that you will continue to do posting... installers

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