Solar PV Array, 2013

Updated: 23 December 2013          


Solar PV Array

We have been wanting to install a solar PV system for electrical generation ever since we did the solar hot water system six years ago but we could never quite gather the energy to get started until spring 2013. Work started indoors in late March, then moved outside as the weather improved. We contracted with Altenergy Inc. to do the work except for the excavation for the foundation and the ditch to carry wires to the house, which I did myself. I wound up doing a bit more than that, as seen in several photos below.

Under Construction

I am working on the detailed pix — coming soon.
Service Panels Trench

1 April 2013: The tall panel with all the wires is our main service panel. The smaller one to the left holds the circuits that will be powered when the grid is down (most of them). The three boxes to the right are the solar controller and inverter. 6 April 2013: I have dug the hole for the array support and have started the trench toward the house.

Erect Mast Erect Beam

8 April 2013: The ditch is finished and we now erect the mast that will hold the array. It is an 8-inch diameter steel pipe, 21 feet long.   15 April 2013: With the mast now set in concrete, the main beam that supports the array and controls it’s angle is going up. Joe Sadonis (in the loader bucket) and Matthew Huffman from Altenergy are trying to align it.
Both photos by Chris Moore.

Panels Finished Array

16 April 2013: Matthew is installing the panels.   22 April 2013: The finished array. Our house is at the far left and the barn at far right. Matthew’s truck and trailer are parked at left as he prepared to leave.

The array generates 3.5 kW when full sunlight hits it straight on. On totally clear days it produces 20 kWh or a bit more and will produce a little bit even on a cloudy day. On clear days we sell power to the utility and on cloudy days and at night we draw power from the utility, which is called net metering. If the grid goes down a transfer switch sends power from the array (or from batteries if the array is not producing) to the house without interruption. No more power outages!


  Valid HTML Valid CSS