Tell me about your solar

Nice job.

Especially love your $ rationale and keeping old solar panels “in the light”.
In certain climes there would be sheep shading underneath.
Did you consider/cost a pre-fab shed?

Question: 13 degree pitch?

Suggestion: cross-bracing on (at least some) of your posts … the pseudo engineer/builder in me wonders about shear in violent weather. Adults on kiddie swings are a good test :wink:

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the 13 degree was more about building a pergola than a solar rack… If i had the pitch i needed the pergola would be useless (trying to justify this to the wife, she wanted the pergola) I do have cross bracing i took those other pictures before adding them, if you look at one of the later images that have the grounding in place, you can see the brace in the background… :slight_smile: Thanks for the input too!! Uhmm… what is sheep shading? lol I did consider a pre-fab “pergola” (again what the wife wanted) but they were just flimsy and/or super expensive, often using cheap wood too…

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haha! beautiful, but don’t buy goats!!! :slight_smile:

Just got a 4.9kw Solar installed in Rochester, NY. I had Sense installed with the system.

It is 16 305watt Q-Cell panels with AP Systems QS1 micro inverters. It is net metering with RG&E.

I have 8 south facing and 4 east and 4 west due to my roof architecture.

I got a Tesla Model 3 about a year ago and expect the system will cover about 60% of my total usage. I did recently change most of my lighting from Incandescent and CFLs to LED (Good sale on Amazon for Philips bulbs at about $1 a bulb).

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I am running a small 3.3Kw system comprised of 10 Panasonic 330W panels, 6 facing south and 4 facing west. I believe my system is forecast to produce 5,500kWh/year. I am only about four months into my first year, so we’ll see how close my actuals are to forecast.

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I have a DIY setup running 45 @ 255w Trina panels with Tigo optimizers. I use 3 @ 3.8kw ABB UNO string inverters. I have a ground mount using Ironridge hardware.

I wanted the optimizers due to shading.
I chose the inverters because at the time they were cheaper than micro inverters. Plus I wanted to add a battery bank down the road. Its a little cheaper to swap out the string inverter.
I like the ground mount because I had the space and it was easier as a DIY project.

Only issue so far is during commissioning the inverters were false triggering arc faults on the inverter. ABB sent me and upgrade kit to help and the false trips went away.

Only hard part was giving up extra money to a PE. I am capable of doing it myself, but the permit office wouldn’t accept it without a stamp. Basically they weren’t able to confirm I did it right so they wanted a PE to sign off. Check with the permit office first and you won’t have this surprise.

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added another 5.2kW to my setup, now running around 10.4kW, hope to add another 12 panels to the garage before the snow hits.


Capture

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Sense makes it easy. I have my Tesla M3 for about a year. I do not have Sense tracking my solar, as my solar is using taps at my main power meter box (the solar company even changed it out to allow the tie in) I do not have any connections in my main power panel box. I use Sense to monitor my total Watts used and then I charge my M3 when I am at high solar output and with Tesla, you can lower your change rate to match your usage. I have my 48 amp Tesla wall charger set to 20 amp, and that will match my winter solar production (this is also with my other household usage). It works very well, on sunny days my M3 runs 100% on sunshine! Like others have posted, I do plan on getting battery storage once the price comes down.

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I have a grid tied 50kW solar array. Here are my stats for 2020:

I have my Sense installed in my shop building, so it is not able to track power usage for the house since that is 200’ away. In the summer I run mining rigs in the shop, which explains the high usage. In the winter, the mining rigs are at my house helping with heat.

Crappy Bing Maps areal:

So there are several arrays. The first ones I did use Micro Inverters but the last 2 use string inverters. I have a dedicated 200A sub-panel for the solar, which is maxed out at this point. So is the 50 KVA transformer on the pole. :smile:

Did all the work myself, including the electrical hookup. 400A meter base at the house house as well as the shop building, with 500 MCM Al running between them. 2 200A sub-panels at both the house and the shop. House also has 2 additional 100A sub-panels (one for garage and one for my server room).

Has Sense gotten anywhere with allowing 2 Sense units to be used on the same account?

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There are some really cool projects/arrays here. As someone who is just looking into solar, I’ve got a couple questions. If they don’t take off on this thread, I may just start a new one.

Micro inverters vs string inverters
It seems like micro inverters are good f some panels may get shaded while others get full sun. A string inverters sounds better if you plan on adding batteries in the future. Anything else?

Wattage
Most people’s panels seem 250w+, with many even above 300 or even 330. Is there a pro or con to the higher wattage panels? More wattage more cost?

Panel size
Are most panels the same, or similar size? Roughly how big are they?

Thanks!

Micro Inverters vs String Inverters
I wouldn’t go string inverters or micro inverters in today’s world… micro inverters were a great way to avoid the whole Christmas tree light scenario of having one panel stop working, and having the whole string impacted. However, now there are solar optimizers that give you the best of both worlds…

Wattage
Generally speaking, I would take an ROI approach to this… Panel efficiency gains are starting to plateau a bit, so new panels are not gaining efficiencies by leaps and bounds… If you have the roof top space, and the asthetics don’t bother you, I would probably not pay the premium for the super efficient panels… Pay the extra if you either don’t have the roof top space, or you want to limit the panel occupancy for aesthetic reasons. Mine are Panasonic 330W panels. I have a smaller rooftop, and my southern rooftop is street facing, so we went with better (but not the best) efficiency for both reasons above.

Panel Size
Most panels are pretty similar in size (based on number of cells on the panel):

  • 60 Cell - 39" x 66"
  • 72 Cell - 39" x 77"
  • 96 Cell - 41.5" x 62.6" (My Panasonic panels are this size)

Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any additional questions…

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