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!!
I recently got a blog post regarding expanding small systems and how it was prohibitively expensive. There was a lot of misinformation, so I thought I’d let you all know the options. If you’re putting in a “grid tied” system to supplement your power and reduce your electric bill, the minimum size system to make a difference is about 12 panels. You can put in fewer, and expand later at minimal cost if you use the Enphase M190 micro-inverters. These units DAISY CHAIN – i.e. they connect in series, one to the other until you reach a maximum of 15 per BRANCH CIRCUIT. So, you can start with say, 5 panels, and then add as many as you like, as often as you like, till you hit 15. Then, you have to run another branch circuit (Romex 3 conductor with ground) to your breaker box. I’ve actually taken this approach with my little house in the woods. Started with 5, then added 3, then 2 more, then 1 and I plan on just 1 more very soon for a total of 12 panels. The racking system can be extended by using “splice kits” and it takes about 20 minutes to add a panel, start to finish. With excellent 235 and 240 watt panels now selling for $1.09/watt plus shipping, it doesn’t really take a lot of money to add a panel and micro-inverter to an existing array. And the best part of all, you DON’T need to be a licensed electrician to plug in the 2 DC connectors from the panel, or the 240VAC connector to the last micro-inverter in your chain!
If you want your system to be BACKED UP BY BATTERIES when the grid goes down, your micro-inverter style GRID-TIED system can still be used!! Using a technique called “AC COUPLING” you can connect a Magnum MPS4024 inverter/charger and 24 volts worth of 700 AmpHour Rolls batteries and have 4KW of backup power at your disposal when the next storm takes out the power. It’s not cheap, but it CAN be done, and you have the best of both worlds, without getting stuck with a STRING/CENTRAL INVERTER that MUST have a FIXED NUMBER of solar panels for best performance, and involves handling HIGH DC VOLTAGES.
Since this original blog post, Enphase has introduced the M215 series. It is a more powerful microinverter, and it is NOT compatible with the older M190. The M190 is still available though, to those system owners who have them and want to easily expand! My original setup with 5 panels, has expanded 3 times. 1st to 8, then 10, and finally 12 total! The old system can daisy chain up to 15 inverters on one circuit, so still have room for 3 more! Gotta love that Enphase system. Perfect for folks on a budget!!
Thanks to all the folks who attended my seminar at Mother Earth News Fair. Looking forward to hearing from the many of you who said they would visit the site. Feel free to recommend the site to others you know who may be interested in DIY solar!