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Solar Install - Story From Start To Finish

Discussion in 'Solar Power' started by Nifty, Mar 19, 2010.

  1. Dec 1, 2012
    Joel_BC

    Joel_BC Super Self-Sufficient

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    Nifty, thanks for continuing to post your results here... the ongoing story about your solar power installation.

    You - along with Doc Gonzo, k15n1, Paul Wheaton, Trim, the whingnut, Beekissed and a couple others - are keeping the technical end of things alive here.

    Where's our ol pal Sunsaver?
     
  2. Dec 2, 2012
    so lucky

    so lucky Almost Self-Reliant

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    Sunsaver's last post was in June. I think he's outta here, Joel. Too bad, because he was a great source of information and imagination.
     
  3. Dec 12, 2012
    Nifty

    Nifty Almost Self-Reliant Administrator

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    Well, I went up with a pole saw and hacked off some of the main branches that were blocking the sun, but there is still a bit that needs to be done. I'm just not experienced enough to be way up in a tree with a saw. I think at the end of next Summer I'll have a pro come out and hack the tree down a bit more.

    I'm also planning to go out on 12/21 (Winter Solstice) to map the path of the sun while it is in the lowest ark in the sky of the year and then using that as my new gauge for where to trim the tree.

    If I were to totally guess / back-envelope calculation, I'd venture to say I'm missing out on a max of 100 watts of power on average from the 8 lowest panels for about 3 hours a day (even less since many days are cloudy). So, I think that's about 2400 watt hours. Right now our top tier power is about $0.20 kwh, so I'm not really missing out on a huge amount of $$ saved.
     
  4. Dec 14, 2012
    Gypsi

    Gypsi Lovin' The Homestead

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    Well my one panel emergency 15 watt panel with ac converter kept my fish alive on hot days in 2011, and it is still on the roof. Still trying to learn to wire these and bypass labor costs. Don't think I'll build my own panels, but I do have a costco membership. I have Zero intention of connecting to the grid. Rather to a separate circuit box for separate circuits in my home. Sound crazy?
     
  5. Aug 14, 2013
    Nifty

    Nifty Almost Self-Reliant Administrator

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    GRRRRR!!!!! :somad

    I logged into my solar control panel dashboard and was surprised to see no power today. I was then shocked that I havent been getting any power from my system since the 28th of last month!!!

    :he

    I went out to the inverter where I see the following:

    Disturbance Fac-Bfr
    Yellow blink twice, delay, long blink


    [​IMG]

    I think this happened last year as well and we needed to have a tech come out to replace a fuse.

    Such a bummer to loose out on all that power during some of the best days of the year!!!

    :rant
     
  6. Aug 14, 2013
    Gypsi

    Gypsi Lovin' The Homestead

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    My panel still charges, my little regulator still keeps the battery from overcharging, but my ac converter is toast. It was squealy at the beginning of summer, now it just won't stay on at all. Not fool proof I am afraid. But this year I got rid of all the koi, and one pond full of tilapia has no pumps running at all, and I am about due to harvest. Don't quite know what to do with my pump, guess I'll pull it off and put it up.
     
  7. Aug 14, 2013
    Daffodils At The Sea

    Daffodils At The Sea Power Conserver

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    Nifty, wow, total bummer about the tree and the fuse! But there's always something going on with these setups! Great information about in your story!

    There are alarms you can install for these sorts of issues. We are completely off the grid, so our inverter would start howling if anything like this happened, and it has!! I hate that sound! :(
     
  8. Aug 14, 2013
    Nifty

    Nifty Almost Self-Reliant Administrator

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    Fortunately the company I use has been very helpful and responsive. They are also going to check to see why I didn't get the email alerts like I should be getting when this kind of thing happens.
     
  9. Aug 30, 2013
    luvinlife offthegrid

    luvinlife offthegrid Lovin' The Homestead

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    Has this been resolved yet?

    According to my husband, there are several things that could be happening.

    1. This an AC fault, not a ground fault.

    2. If you have a fuse disconnect between the inverter and the electrical panel box, those fuses may be blown and/or the breaker may be popped.

    3. Wire may be undersized from the array to the house. This voltage drop would cause the inverter to disconnect and show this fault.

    4. (Most unlikely but...) AC voltage and frequency not within acceptable limits for the inverter.

    If you need more info, we could converse by PM.

    If it has been resolved, what was it?
     
  10. Aug 30, 2013
    Nifty

    Nifty Almost Self-Reliant Administrator

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    Turns out it was a blown fuse and may have been caused by a combo of a super hot day and a really bright day.

    This is the second time this has happened in August, so they are evaluating if I can get by with a bigger fuse or if something else needs to be fixed.
     

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