Check out this 1 page report regarding current market interest in solar panels. Solar Panel Market Survey It shows the interest falling off slightly for this time of year, but it mentions that China is working to provide buyers with incentives (read that to be even better pricing!!). Just thought I’d share this with my followers. Now is a great time to buy panels. 235 to 245 watt mono and poly panels are selling between .80 and .90/watt in pallet quantities. Pallets usually hold between 24 and 29 panels, depending on supplier and brand of panel. Sellers don’t like to “break” pallets, since they don’t have a good way to store or keep track of loose panels in their warehouses. You can always sell extra panels (at a markup!!) on Craigs list, or partner with a neighbor and split the shipping costs. Shipping (truck freight) can run anywhere from $200 to $450, so don’t be afraid to ask for a BETTER DEAL on freight when you are making a purchase!
I had the good fortune of getting invited to the Solar Power International trade show in Orlando Florida a few weeks ago, and while there I did a few interviews with the great guys at Enphase. In my off-time, I was able to see the show, visit all the manufacturers of the products I use when helping my DIY customers, and get lots of questions answered. Specifically, I was researching GROUND MOUNTS which range from small and affordable to massive and huge for utility size jobs. There are an amazing number of ways to fasten an array to the ground!! More than I ever imagined! Anyway, here is a link to one of the interviews I did for Enphase. Enphase Interview with Joe
Just finished (and passed) the new EERE Residential PV Solar inspector training program. It’s FREE, for now, at http://www1.eere.energy.gov/solar/sunshot/index.html and it’s very educational. It covers every aspect of a residential solar install and not only instructs on the backing materials, but offers a chapter by chapter self assessment (test) to see if you learned what they were trying to teach! All but ONE chapter was a breeze for me, and the tough chapter was on equipment. I think the questions/answers could be a little more clear in this chapter, but HEY, this is a BRAND NEW TRAINING AID, and I recommend that ALL installers take it and PASS it, just for the sheer value of knowledge!!
I’m stoked! My solar buddy, Brock, is going to help me pull new wires in from the meter outside the house down through, and to, the whole house smart switch, breaker box and Magnum backup inverter & battery bank this coming week! Will take a bunch of pictures when it’s done. Working with 3 other clients now on similar systems. One will even have a generator tie in! I can’t tell you where it is, but maybe I’ll be able to post some equipment pictures of the gear when we get that far. Right now it’s all in the planning stages. He’s going ALL the way off the grid! Me, I just want to get through a couple days of zombie armageddon… (just kidding!)
These are the slides that backed up my solar presentation at this year’s MEN Fair in 7 Springs, PA last weekend. There’s some text in the basic solar section, but they’re mostly slides. Primarily examples of things you’ll need to do/file/apply for if you are contemplating a DIY solar project. All the things I help out with if you sign up as a DIY solar client!! Also includes some great pictures of a variety of ground mount systems that I researched 2 weeks ago while attending the Solar Power International trade show in Orlando Florida. Please feel free to download and pass this around. No problems with that at all…
Mother Earth News Fair 2012 presentation
It’s been a long time coming, and I’ve been hesitant to make the investment, but recent power outages caused by the weather, combined with the state of affairs around the globe, have given me the motivation to finally make it happen. Please come back here at least twice a month to check my progress on this project! I’m doing this at my “bunker” in the mountains of Ohio. I’ve already got a 2400 watt system running using the older Enphase M190 micro-inverters along with 12 assorted PV Panels, and it’s covering 90 to 100% of the electric bill. But, I lost a refrigerator full of food when the power was down for too many days… so, I’m adding all the parts to keep the power flowing when the grid is down! Here’s a list of the parts I’ve got on the way:
- Magnum Distribution panel 250/30A-2P
- Magnum MS-PAE 4024AE 4kW 240VAC Pure Sine Inverter
- Magnum LCD Remote Panel (for programming and monitoring inverter status)
- Magnum BP-MMP Metal Mount for MMP enclosure and inverter
- ROLLS 6V 530AH Wet 40000S EKG Battery (X4=24 Vdc)
- Battery Box fan 24volt, 6 CFM
- ROLLS R+ Recombination Caps (X12) keeps battery watering to a minimum
- Outback Spill Control Tray for the batteries – in case of a case crack or acid spill
- #4/0 gauge flex wire with lugs for battery interconnections and inverter hookup
There’s also a whole house SMART SWITCH and some other parts to modify the incoming service wiring…
That pile of parts is worth about $4500 if you’re considering doing this. Well worth the price if the grid goes down for ANY reason! I’ll take pictures as I go and do updates to describe my trials and tribulations!
DIY Solar is affordable and reliable ( and a great way to prepare for Zombie Armageddon ) just kidding… and have a SUNNY day!
I’ve not been on the roof to clean my panels since I put them up last July. This past Spring, I had to wash my car twice to get rid of a sticky yellow buildup of pollen, but it didn’t occur to me that this same pollen could be on my panels. Imagine my surprise when I went up there and found the entire surface of all the panels to be COVERED with pollen – it was like 150 grit sandpaper! This most certainly caused the light to diffuse and reduce the amount of solar energy impacting directly on the solar panel glass!! About 15 minutes with a bucket of soapy water and a cleaner/squeegee made them good as new. Solar output increased immediately by about 5% compared the the day before (both days equally sunny with no clouds). Moral of the story: if you want max power, you need clean panels! If you can reach them with a stream of water from a hose, do this regularly to prevent buildup of dirt and pollen!
I went to the GEO (Green Energy Ohio) EV Seminar at the IBEW Training Center on Cincinnati’s West side yesterday and it was a relaxed, fun time. I got to drive the worlds 1st and only 100% electric Jeep Cherokee as well as several different Chevy Volts! Several speakers gave great presentations and there was a great deal to absorb in a short time. I did meet the admin for the EV program at the center, and I made the decision right on the spot to sign up for the fall class in EV Technology and to get my EV Certification by the end of this year! I’m already NABCEP certified for PV Solar installation and Technical Sales, and the electric car market is a good BLEND with solar, so I feel this is a great direction to grow in!
Oh my goodness!!! The pictures looked like a nice easy 6/12. When I got up on the roof I IMMEDIATELY realized it was more like 10/12. That’s JUST SHY OF 45 DEGREE SLOPE! Almost perfect for our 39 degree latitude in the Cincinnati area, but NOT MUCH FUN to get started.
We set 90 feet each with two 3 1/2 inch lag bolts and a 3 inch spacer (Unirac-I product) and that took from 8AM till 1:30 PM. The feet made navigating the roof much easier, since there were at least some footholds to stop from sliding. Of course, I had my OHSA approved harness and rope line on. It was like cliff climbing!! We managed to get two panels in two rows on a small shade room addition mounted as an instruction area before having all the helpers tackle the 10/12 pitch roof!!
I wasn’t about to go up/down any more than I needed to, so I didn’t get any pictures today, but I’ll be back to finish the job tomorrow, and I’ll come home with some spectacular pics to add to this section!!
17 panels on the 10/12 pitch; one row of five, one row of seven, and the bottom row is five in landscape style to fit the trapezoidal roof section. One row of five panels on each side of a 3/12 pitch shade room roof facing north south, but still exposed to LOTS of sun.
NOT A TREE BLOCKING THE SUN FROM ANY DIRECTION!! This guy will make MULTI-MEGAWATTS of solar power! See ya’ll tomorrow when I get back!
Here’s a real time performance link to this site. Pictures to come tomorrow! https://enlighten.enphaseenergy.com/public/systems/f4vW80049
If you’ve got your solar system up and running and are getting close to your first 1,000 KwHour mark – otherwise known as an SREC, here’s the latest average pricing from the GATS website. This is where you TRACK and RECORD your energy production on a month by month basis, and when you hit 1MW HOURs, you generate an SREC which you can then transfer to the BULLETIN BOARD where the folks who BUY SRECs look. You can set the price low or high – it’s up to you. Lower sells faster. Higher may never sell… kind of like playing poker…
Bottom line is that there is more SOLAR in Ohio now than ever before and the availability of SRECs is greater than the need, so you’ll have to think hard about how your price them – but thanks to tools on the EIS-GATS website, you can pull up the average for any period and make an INTELLIGENT decision about where to set your selling price!!