Solar PV

 

My garage has 24 solar panels arranged in a grid of 8 wide by 3 tall.

Each solar panel is a Helios 260 watt poly-crystaline PV module. Behind each is an Enphase M215 micro-inverter. Each inverter individually converts direct current from the panel to alternating current. Wiring combines the output of each micro-inverter where it travels through wiring inside conduit down the side of the building to a Midnite Solar Combiner/Disconnect box.

That feeds to a 30A circuit breaker used as a load-side connection in the garage main power panel. From there, the electricity powers loads in the garage such as lights or charging my electric car. Any excess power simply runs back to the house to power that building. If there is still excess power, it runs back OUT through my main power meter to the grid where I get credited for it by my power company.

The system was designed to provide the average amount of electricity we use throughout the year. In the summer, we produce more power than we use (and get credited for it) and in the winter we produce less than we use. The goal was to produce what we use on average over a year, sometimes called “Annual Net-Zero”.

Total faceplate power capacity of the solar panels is 6,240 watts (at laboratory test conditions) but real-world power production is really 5,400 watts maximum.

On a clear, sunny summer day, I can charge my electric car, power my garage and house, and STILL have extra power I’m selling to the electric company!

My out of pocket expense to install the solar was $10,500, but the total was reduced to $6,500 after a number of tax and other incentives. The solar array produces about $1,000 worth of electricity per year, so it pays for itself in 6.5 years. After that, I’m getting PAID $1,000 per year!

Most solar panels generally have a 20-25 year warranty. I know people who installed solar panels 40 years ago, and those panels are still functioning just fine.

You can see the output of the solar anytime at SOLAR PRODUCTION LINK.

I have a whole series of videos about designing and installing the solar on YouTube. To see how much I save on my electric bill each month, please view https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLmHss3DBZUimMu2T5B198sNn6A4cp2zvG

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