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Going with Offgrid Solar

Chevelle_Nut

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Yesterday I spent a few hours configuring my brother's massive solar system, and I brought everything online and threw the switch.

His place is now running 100% offgrid and is now independent of all utilities.
Wow! You are fast!
 

kmakar

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Wow! You are fast!

Not really.... been a while coming, it's been tough coordinating with everything else I've got going on. He doesn't do well with electrical, so he's been depending on me to get it done, but he's pretty happy right now.
 

Nashville Cat

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Yesterday I spent a few hours configuring my brother's massive solar system, and I brought everything online and threw the switch.

His place is now running 100% offgrid and is now independent of all utilities.
Very impressive. I think I can be close to doing that, but I will have to install more panels at a "winter tilt".
I think I have enough to get by during the summer (24 ea- 440 watts tilted at 30 degrees) but probably need to add some and install at 50 degrees ?
 

kmakar

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Very impressive. I think I can be close to doing that, but I will have to install more panels at a "winter tilt".
I think I have enough to get by during the summer (24 ea- 440 watts tilted at 30 degrees) but probably need to add some and install at 50 degrees ?

Find a compromise (in between summer and winter), set it and forget it. You won't see enough of a difference, so don't waste your time.

If you wanted to go all out, you could do auto aiming of the solar panels, but it it'll cost more than it's worth, just cheaper to add more panels.
 

Nashville Cat

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Find a compromise (in between summer and winter), set it and forget it. You won't see enough of a difference, so don't waste your time.

If you wanted to go all out, you could do auto aiming of the solar panels, but it it'll cost more than it's worth, just cheaper to add more panels.
Since yours are on a roof, I guess you went with the slope of the roof ?
 

kmakar

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My ground array are at 64 degrees which is right in between summer and winter, and the roof is about 55 degrees.
 

Nashville Cat

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Working on my ground support system. Posts on the right are 4x6 and the ones on the left are 4x4. There are 8 ea 4X6 posts ; 8 feet apart for 56' total length.
The 2X6 beams are 12' long with about 3" removed. The 2X6's are on a 30 degree angle from horizontal. I have 2X6's to cross-brace the 4X6 posts (not installed yet).
There will be 6 rows of Superstrut for mounting the solar panels. My panels are 40" wide X 82" long. They will be arranged 8 across with 3 rows.
The entire system will be around $2000 with me doing all the labor. I'm getting too old for this ! LOL



1651788011519.jpeg
 

kmakar

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Working on my ground support system. Posts on the right are 4x6 and the ones on the left are 4x4. There are 8 ea 4X6 posts ; 8 feet apart for 56' total length.
The 2X6 beams are 12' long with about 3" removed. The 2X6's are on a 30 degree angle from horizontal. I have 2X6's to cross-brace the 4X6 posts (not installed yet).
There will be 6 rows of Superstrut for mounting the solar panels. My panels are 40" wide X 82" long. They will be arranged 8 across with 3 rows.
The entire system will be around $2000 with me doing all the labor. I'm getting too old for this ! LOL



View attachment 4912

Make sure you put the cross bracing (both directions and front to back) in before you install the strut or the panels. It wouldn't take much top topple the whole thing if it's not supported.
 

Nashville Cat

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Make sure you put the cross bracing (both directions and front to back) in before you install the strut or the panels. It wouldn't take much top topple the whole thing if it's not supported.
It's pretty solid now. My soil is red clay ; I rented an 8" gas auger and that thing almost killed me, but I got some nice deep holes. Put drainage rock in the bottom and used quikcrete.
I'll add the cross braces tomorrow. Going to Home Depot for the Superstrut now. That's the biggest cost; about $900 for 36 10' long pieces.
 

kmakar

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It's pretty solid now. My soil is red clay ; I rented an 8" gas auger and that thing almost killed me, but I got some nice deep holes. Put drainage rock in the bottom and used quikcrete.
I'll add the cross braces tomorrow. Going to Home Depot for the Superstrut now. That's the biggest cost; about $900 for 36 10' long pieces.

I hope they have that many in stock.... my stores (both depot and lowes) were out of them for a long time and they have a very limited supply now.... took me 3 weeks to get 10.
 

JohnC

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Yesterday I spent a few hours configuring my brother's massive solar system, and I brought everything online and threw the switch.

His place is now running 100% offgrid and is now independent of all utilities.

Man, that must be a great feeling. Any idea what the period of time it would take to payoff that investment?
 

kmakar

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Man, that must be a great feeling. Any idea what the period of time it would take to payoff that investment?

His system costs more than a house these days.... I think his entire investment was between $150k and $175k, but he has enough solar to run a small neighborhood. He wanted to make sure he never had to wonder or worry if there was enough power.

Here is the invoice for just equipment which doesn't include the panels, mounting hardware or wiring.

Inv_84339_from_Northern_Arizona_Wind__Sun_Inc_26928_1.jpg
Inv_84339_from_Northern_Arizona_Wind__Sun_Inc_26928_2.jpg
Inv_84339_from_Northern_Arizona_Wind__Sun_Inc_26928_3.jpg
 

Nashville Cat

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I'm almost done installing the solar panels and need to wire them up and run the buried cable to the house that's about 50 feet away.
I will be running 2 panels is series with 12 parallel strings to the combiner box ; max amps to each controller is 94 amps.
So if I have one cable running to each midnite controller, with a max amp of 94 on each cable, would 1/0 weld cable be a good choice ?

1652841077243.png

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kmakar

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#4 THHN is all you'll need, and it's the max size that will fit into the connectors on the midnite solar charge controllers.

You'll need 4 runs (2 from each combiner box).
 

Nashville Cat

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#4 THHN is all you'll need, and it's the max size that will fit into the connectors on the midnite solar charge controllers.

You'll need 4 runs (2 from each combiner box).
Awesome.
Is there any quality difference in MC4 connectors ? Ok to buy off amazon ?
 
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