Author Topic: 4KW Solar Array at BOL Up and Running  (Read 4399 times)

Offline cmxterra

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4KW Solar Array at BOL Up and Running
« on: September 26, 2012, 09:36:12 AM »
Spent a week down in Texas starting to build up my power supplies.

Leveling out the space


First footings going in


Little helper


Getting the mounts level


Rails up


Getting the rails to the right angle for the panels


Then there were two


Second string going in with the first string in the background


The tractor


Second set of panels going on


Both racks full with early morning light


Some points to add. I know there are still several trees that I am going to have to trim back as they cast shadows on them on the early morning. Not too big of a deal.

I did not have time to run the wire and get the charge controllers, inverters and battery bank fixed up. I am planning to mount another separate array on the roof after we get the metal roof installed. Fun fun fun.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2013, 11:05:20 AM by Nicodemus »
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Offline DrJohn

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Re: Got some good work done at the Texas BOL
« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2012, 09:41:29 AM »
"In the end, more than freedom, they wanted security.
They wanted a comfortable life, and they lost it all - security,
comfort, and freedom. When the Athenians finally wanted not to give to society but for society to give to them, when the freedom they wished for most was freedom from responsibility, then Athens ceased to be free and was never free again."
- Edward Gibbon

Offline cidermonkey

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Re: Got some good work done at the Texas BOL
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2012, 05:01:12 PM »
Beautiful, looking forward to seeing more the project come to fruition.  :)
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Offline Alan Georges

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Re: Got some good work done at the Texas BOL
« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2012, 06:50:20 PM »
Very nice!  Thanks for posting, and keep us up to date on your project.
Build it or buy it, start it up and try it, maybe even fry it.  Otherwise you'll never know if it works.

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Offline Cedar

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Re: Got some good work done at the Texas BOL
« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2012, 07:28:11 PM »
That looks sweet cmx. What size are they and what can you do with that many?

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Offline cmxterra

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Re: Got some good work done at the Texas BOL
« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2012, 08:10:02 PM »
That looks sweet cmx. What size are they and what can you do with that many?

Cedar

They are 215w each and with that many you can do quite a bit. These (coupled with the batteries) should take care of any and all lighting as well as things such as microwave oven and Fridge (maybe a freezer too, I need to research current draw on them first)

Once I get the second set in and the inverters coupled to make 220v I can run the big things like water pumps from the wells and other 220v items.
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Offline Grannywhiskers

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Re: Got some good work done at the Texas BOL
« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2012, 08:57:07 PM »
Looking GOOD cmx.  You must live close to me in Texas..."cept you have bigger trees.  I have been finishing my cabin this past two weeks.  I have to hire most of it done...but it is getting done. Makes me feel so much better. Since I am doing this alone (with daughters help...no men  :'( I will not have the solar panels that you do.  But do have various solar operated items and chargers.  Keep up the great work.

Offline Vulcan

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Re: Got some good work done at the Texas BOL
« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2012, 04:33:11 AM »
Looks awesome!

Offline cmxterra

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Re: Got some good work done at the Texas BOL
« Reply #8 on: September 27, 2012, 02:39:21 PM »
And a night time photo
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Offline cmxterra

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Re: Got some good work done at the Texas BOL
« Reply #9 on: October 07, 2012, 05:27:18 PM »
Charge controller. Outback Flexmax 80
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Offline sovereign liberty

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Re: Got some good work done at the Texas BOL
« Reply #10 on: October 10, 2012, 05:01:36 PM »
Very nice! Keep us posted.

Offline Texas Sawduster

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Re: Got some good work done at the Texas BOL
« Reply #11 on: October 11, 2012, 11:45:47 AM »
Very nice.
I'm at the edge of east texas/59 corridor so lots of pine trees to interrupt the daylight gaterning.
Planning on it anyway.

Keep us updated.

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Offline cmxterra

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Re: Got some good work done at the Texas BOL
« Reply #12 on: November 25, 2012, 02:51:45 PM »
Whew..

Got busy this past Thanksgiving week

The "pile"


Plate mounted with inverters


Hub communications (this will be important when I tie the two inverters to make 240v to run the well pump)


Combining the solar panels to send the power to the house


Running the wires to the combiner from the one set of panels to the other


Big ass batteries


Charge controllers mounted to the batteries. Getting closer.


Power


We are going to mount an identical array on the roof and we have a crap load of trees that I identified that are going to go away. Right now we are powering all the kitchen lighting and appliances (fridge, gas stove and microwave) Going to get some load testing on some other stuff and add it to this leg of the array. I figure when we are done we should be able to run everything but the AC.  Woot.
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Offline cmxterra

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Re: Got some good work done at the Texas BOL
« Reply #13 on: November 27, 2012, 04:07:52 PM »
Next step is to mount the other 10 panels on the roof and to cut down a few trees.

I can say that having been toying with a smaller system that scaling up has been easier than just jumping in with cold feet.
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Offline mxitman

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Re: Got some good work done at the Texas BOL
« Reply #14 on: November 27, 2012, 04:56:24 PM »
That's Great, looking good. Do you have much access to any water? I helped set up a friends house in SO.CA with a solar pump setup that runs just enough water through a coil in his Air Handler and then unto the roof where it saturates and he only needs to run the A/C when it's above 105 deg F. The first stage is the coil which runs around 60+/- Deg F most of the year, 2nd stage opens a valve which dumps water across the roof, runoff is collected in ponds around the house which also help cool it.

But he also has grandfathered access to a river that runs close to his house. 
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I'd rather have it and not need it, than not have it when I do need it.

Offline cmxterra

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Re: Got some good work done at the Texas BOL
« Reply #15 on: November 27, 2012, 05:03:36 PM »
That's Great, looking good. Do you have much access to any water? I helped set up a friends house in SO.CA with a solar pump setup that runs just enough water through a coil in his Air Handler and then unto the roof where it saturates and he only needs to run the A/C when it's above 105 deg F. The first stage is the coil which runs around 60+/- Deg F most of the year, 2nd stage opens a valve which dumps water across the roof, runoff is collected in ponds around the house which also help cool it.

But he also has grandfathered access to a river that runs close to his house.

We have two wells. So we have access to lots o water.

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Offline ttubravesrock

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Re: Got some good work done at the Texas BOL
« Reply #16 on: November 27, 2012, 05:17:19 PM »
Can you provide a rough estimate of the approximate time and cost it took you for the entire solar set-up? If you'd rather not, I understand. 

Also, does the output amperage scale linearly? By that I mean that if your setup provides 4.2kwh and my house would require 2.1kwh, could I do your setup with half the panels and half the batteries?

Offline bdhutier

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Re: Got some good work done at the Texas BOL
« Reply #17 on: November 27, 2012, 07:41:10 PM »
We have two wells. So we have access to lots o water.

Yeah, maybe setting up a cooling tower type system in place of A/C would work.  Wouldn't cut the humidity (depending on where you are in TX), but cool humid air beats hot humid air any day!!
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Offline cmxterra

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Re: Got some good work done at the Texas BOL
« Reply #18 on: November 27, 2012, 08:51:14 PM »
Can you provide a rough estimate of the approximate time and cost it took you for the entire solar set-up? If you'd rather not, I understand. 

Also, does the output amperage scale linearly? By that I mean that if your setup provides 4.2kwh and my house would require 2.1kwh, could I do your setup with half the panels and half the batteries?

From my understanding it should work that way for power. You have to take into account that if you are needing 2.1 on a daily basis then you are going to need more than 2.1 in capacity as you do not want to run your batteries into the ground like that.

Time for building the ground mount was about 4 days with a little help from others. Running the wires and mounting the stuff inside was another 3 (this included a couple trips into town to get stuff I needed)

As for the cost of the equipment, 28 panels, wiring, fuses and breakers I would guestimate maybe 18k?

This will allow us to fully power the house and well pump (well almost fully as I am not going to run AC with it)
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Offline cmxterra

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Re: Got some good work done at the Texas BOL
« Reply #19 on: November 27, 2012, 08:53:50 PM »
Yeah, maybe setting up a cooling tower type system in place of A/C would work.  Wouldn't cut the humidity (depending on where you are in TX), but cool humid air beats hot humid air any day!!

Part of the plan is to have a huge holding tank for fresh water to make the most of sunny days. So a cooling tower might be in the cards.
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Offline TexDaddy

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Re: Got some good work done at the Texas BOL
« Reply #20 on: November 28, 2012, 09:12:30 AM »
...(well almost fully as I am not going to run AC with it)
You will want to come up with something.  ;)

There is no part of Texas that does not have days on end of over 100 degrees. The record in the DFW area is 43 days in a row over 100. Last summer we had 41 days in a row, a day of 97, then a couple of weeks over 100.
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Offline gundog

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Re: Got some good work done at the Texas BOL
« Reply #21 on: November 28, 2012, 09:30:41 AM »
I like it.....a lot.

Makes me want to do something like that.....real bad.
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Offline cmxterra

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Re: Got some good work done at the Texas BOL
« Reply #22 on: November 28, 2012, 09:50:09 AM »
You will want to come up with something.  ;)

There is no part of Texas that does not have days on end of over 100 degrees. The record in the DFW area is 43 days in a row over 100. Last summer we had 41 days in a row, a day of 97, then a couple of weeks over 100.

Oh I know Texas summers. Lived there for 30 years. We did just put a white metal roof and did the foam insulation so it will be interesting to see how it does this next summer.
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Offline ttubravesrock

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Re: Got some good work done at the Texas BOL
« Reply #23 on: November 28, 2012, 12:11:34 PM »
You will want to come up with something.  ;)

There is no part of Texas that does not have days on end of over 100 degrees. The record in the DFW area is 43 days in a row over 100. Last summer we had 41 days in a row, a day of 97, then a couple of weeks over 100.

I survived in Lubbock for three years without AC in my house or vehicle.

Offline ncjeeper

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Re: Got some good work done at the Texas BOL
« Reply #24 on: November 28, 2012, 12:27:24 PM »
Nice work.
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Offline TexDaddy

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Re: Got some good work done at the Texas BOL
« Reply #25 on: November 29, 2012, 01:19:16 AM »
Oh I know Texas summers. Lived there for 30 years. We did just put a white metal roof and did the foam insulation so it will be interesting to see how it does this next summer.
Good to hear. Often, people acclimatized to your part of the country find the heat here oppressive. I hope the steps you have taken are effective.

I survived in Lubbock for three years without AC in my house or vehicle.
Well, I see by the trees, this place is no where near Lubbock. I know Lubbock very well. It's where I was born and I grew up within 30 miles of Lubbock. It is very arid there. If you need to cool off a bit, getting wet will help a lot, due to rapid evaporation. This is not so true in the more humid areas. But people even survived around Houston way before there was A/C, so it can be done.
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Caught up in the fable, I watched the tower grow.
Five year plans and new deals, wrapped in golden chains.
And I wonder, still I wonder who'll stop the rain."

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'To do more than your best is impossible, to do less is unthinkable'
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Offline fasteddie

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Re: Got some good work done at the Texas BOL
« Reply #26 on: December 26, 2012, 11:18:01 PM »
OMG, cmx i havent been on here in a long time and i am realy excited about your system, it looks fantastic. when are you going to be living there ? or are you allready? fast eddie ps this is the first time i seen this thread and i am pumped for you!!!!

Offline cmxterra

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Re: Got some good work done at the Texas BOL
« Reply #27 on: January 31, 2013, 08:58:15 AM »
Major update.

Just got back from a week of working at the BOL

Second set of panels up on the roof.


wiring them up


wiring up circuits for the second inverter


that is a 240v transformer under the AC box. It powers the well pump.


everything now in place


what the second inverter is powering now. I will add more circuits as I have time to examine energy usage


installed a DC switch for the batteries to the inverters


close up of the transformer


power from one set of panels


Beautiful landscape
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Offline cmxterra

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Re: Got some good work done at the Texas BOL
« Reply #28 on: January 31, 2013, 09:04:47 AM »
A few more pics

battery enclosure


hooking up the panels on the roof.


extra breakers ready for action
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Offline ncjeeper

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Re: Got some good work done at the Texas BOL
« Reply #29 on: January 31, 2013, 10:24:42 AM »
 :clap:
The early bird gets the worm.....But the second mouse gets the cheese.