diy solar

diy solar

NW OH DIY Roof Mount Solar

Oh okay seems like you need all that battery capacity. You need more!

Our 10kwh bank just drops to maybe 60% overnight, but we're just running our 120V stuff off it. My 3.6KW array usually charges it back up by noon. We average about 4-5KWh of PV production a day. On weekends we occasionally get 10k a day, if we run a lot of laundry or run the space heater, but we don't need that now, obviously. Was also thinking of putting in a high efficiency window AC unit to soak up extra production.
 
I've got a 2400sq ft house that was setup for traditional power. I got tired of $300-$600/m electric bills so I decided to take matters into my own hands. I have a terrible tendency to upgrade right after finishing something so I thought I better basically start with full panels and decent storage and go from there. I figure I'd need about 50% more battery to get me where I want but we'll have to see how the fall/winter goes first.

I'll turn my AC on here soon and that'll really show how things will go.
 
Did you end up using all your panels? I can't imagine 54 panels on a roof, but we live in a single wide, so..

Do you think the Solark can start your A/C? Is a mini split or heat pump? Using a soft start can help lessen the inrush current on such devices.
 
I bought 56 just in case there were any issues but all 54 are installed on the roof. I've hit higher production than I thought I would with 8 total panels facing E / W. (4 each) My main roof section has 36 panels, then 9 on each side. 5 S facing and 4 E/W depending on the side.

I'm not sure... My AC is a 30+ yr old Geothermal system with an extra pump. Since I'm grid tied and the 15k has a 200a pass-through, I don't think it'll be a problem, I'll just have a grid spike every now and then. Most of this I just "shot from the hip" with basic numbers and will go from there.

That being said, I'm very very happy with the way things have been performing so far. I keep making little tweaks here and there. For instance, in my basement we had 3 - 4 bulb florescent lights that I noticed were using about 3.4a while running. I bought some LED replacements and when I was replacing them, one of them the ballast was almost too hot to touch. While the lights are on, we now use about 0.8a. My kids tend to be in the basement a lot, so that's going to help. We had the same thing in a room further in the back.

My big energy draw that I need to work on is my hot water. It's running very frequently, almost too often. I'm digging into that more now.
 
Well, I finally bit the bullet and turned on the AC. Looks like it uses a pretty stable 3.2kwh while it's running. There was a little spike to 4.5kw when it started but it didn't last long. It's also the first time it has ran in 6 months or so, so there could be a couple startup priming actions that used a little more power.
 
So your Solark and the grid starts the AC, but once it's running, the SA runs it? So, if it's pulling about 13A while running, I'm thinking the surge is maybe 3-4X that. The only way to know for sure is check it with a clamp meter. But, this might not matter to you if the grid helps.

Our outdoor unit pulls about 12A, but I can't run it with my 120V inverter. It has a listed LRA (inrush current) of 75A, but have never checked it with my clamp meter.

Our electric heat uses lots of power, every time it comes on, it sucks 50A from the grid. That's 12KW! During really cold days, like in the single digits, our daily KWh usage can get close to 80-100k. But right now, our total usage is right around 10KWh, mostly from the AC and maybe the hot water tank.

So you got your panels from Santan? That's where I got our CS bifacials a couple years ago. I paid about $200 for each of the eight 445W panels, now I can get brand new 400W bifacials from Signature Solar for about $110 each.
 
I looked when it started and I didn't see any grid spikes in the UI, it did pull a little extra from the battery it appears. I'm not 100% sure how it works with the passthrough but so far, aside from very little grid power being used, I haven't noticed anything. We've had 2 power outages so far and we basically didn't notice. They were during periods of lower use and since I've adjusted my zero-export down farther, I don't think I'd notice at all. At 200w the lights flickered a bit but at 100w nothing.

Ouch! My highest day I've seen was 91kwh. That was Jan 1st and we did a lot of cooking (all electric) that day.

Yep, I think I paid around $119 / panel + shipping. 340W panels, I didn't think were too bad. They were a little smaller than some of the bifacials I looked at so I could fit more on my roof. I wasn't sure I wanted black but now that I have them on, I really like the look of them.
 
So are running your system as off-grid, or are you getting it inspected for grid feed back?

Mine isn't feeding back anything, I just tie the input of the inverter to the grid via a 60A breaker. But since I've got that second battery, we hardly use the grid input anymore.

We had a brief storm last night, and the grid was down, but I didn't notice anything until I noticed the Internet was down. I then checked outside and our pole lights were out. Went out about 10pm and came back on about 4am. Nice being able to watch TV and have the lights on during that time. It was our first grid down situation since we got the batteries.

Really cloudy and rainy today, so we might have to use the grid to recharge a bit if it gets too low. The inverter will switch over to grid if either batt drops below 20%. They're at about 60% now.
 
Right now I'm running with it grid connected and zero export. At the rate I've been going, I doubt I'd export more than 3-10kwh a day while the AC is running. It's almost noon and my batteries are at 57% and getting about 11kwh right now.

I have an application in to allow me to sell back but they haven't touched it since April 25th. I put on the application an install/commissioning date of 5/31 so I was a little ahead of schedule.

For reference, last June my power bill was $600. We'll see what this one will be in a month or so. My May bill was almost 1/2 of what the 2023 bill was so it's working!

I noticed the same thing. We had a power outage and my generator kicked on but we were cooking, etc and wouldn't have noticed if the generator hadn't started. My wife looked at me puzzled and asked, why is the generator running. I said it's because the powers out, she looked confused and said "no it isn't" - My response, not for us anymore! 😁 I've always had all my IT equipment on a big UPS and when I remodeled my current house, I ran a circuit to it from our primary TV so we've been used to that for a while.
 
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Yeah I bet you'll be pleasantly surprised when you get your next bill. I'm guessing our next one will be in $50 range, right now we're 27.5 days and only used about 310Kwh so far, it'll be our lowest ever bill.

It's been cloudy all morning, but the sun's been peeking out time to time, so the batts should get topped off before more storms come in. Did y'all lose power last month when all those tornadoes were up in your area?

Yeah my wife still isn't all that into our system. That's prob why I did 95% of the install. She was in bed last night watching TV when it went out, but of course she wouldn't have known anything had happened unless I had went in there and told her we were officially "off grid" several times.

I said isn't it nice for us to be able to keep the lights on, watch TV, have the fans on, keep the frig on, run her CPAP, etc. She said, well, it's not like something like this happens all the time. Geez. I don't think she'll ever admit it was a good idea.
 
I hope so! Sounds like you will too!

We didn't. One of the tornadoes touched down about 10 miles from our place. I swear I saw the funnel cloud forming to the north but my wife was in town heading home at that time, so I was a little preoccupied. A couple weeks later a car hit a pole or something a couple miles away and we didn't have power for about 5 hours. Well, we did but not the grid. :)

I understand that feeling. My wife helped install the panels on the roof but the rest was basically solo. I got a lot of "this is a lot of money" type comments and it has only been recently that she's starting to appreciate the energy independence we have. One of my main goals was to be able to live fairly "normally" in the event of a grid outage. I think I'd like about 50% more battery to last me over a few days of lower sun but I'm pretty much at my goal. If we did have a long term grid outage, it would come down to conservation. Turn of the water heater, no coffee till the sun was up, etc.

My uncle is certain our grid will be attacked. A month without power would be hugely chaotic for this country. I often wonder if our parents or grandparents thought about things like this the way that a lot of us do now.
 
My wife helped install the panels on the roof but the rest was basically solo.
Yep, that's the only thing my wife helped me with. Only because they weighed 63lb and I needed someone to hold them on the rails while I fastened them on. But TBH, I'd rather work alone because I wanted it done a particular way.

I got a lot of "this is a lot of money" type comments and it has only been recently that she's starting to appreciate the energy independence we have
Same here. I paid for just about all of it except for some hardware and a couple breakers I had her pick up. I was between jobs, so there was some tension of me paying for all of it. But I'm working again, so I'm slowly adding more money to the solar power kitty..next big expense? I don't know, maybe another 4KW array.

My uncle is certain our grid will be attacked. A month without power would be hugely chaotic for this country
Whether it's attacked or succumbs to added pressure on it, something is bound to happen. I didn't build my system to be more "green" nor am I worried about ROI, I just was tired of the frequent outages and threats to the grid.

Yeah a month without power in this country would be devastating, I fear a lot of folks wouldn't make it. Even for us "preppers" it would be very difficult. Our forebears were used to a difficult life and could deal with problems, but today people have become soft. Even me..
 
Excellent. That's about 279kwh for the last month? Are you using the A/C more? What kind of dent is that making in your battery capacity?

We only used 300kwh last month, and our bill came out to only $52. Lowest ever. I don't think it'll ever get lower than that because we're starting to use the A/C more, so that means at least 10-15kwh/day.

I got the shed circuit switched over to our inverter panel last weekend so that covers one of our freezers. That uses about 115W when running, so that's not too much a load on the batteries. Would like to move another freezer in there eventually.
 
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No, it's been in the low to mid 70's most of last week, getting into the low 60's at night so we had the windows open. I ran it yesterday when I got those numbers. I use around 60-70kwh most days and yesterday was 90kwh. My batteries are at 40% right now and it's supposed to be cloudy this morning and rain all afternoon so it'll be interesting to see how things go.

More than likely, my wife will decide to do laundry and want to dry clothes all day. That's about how it's worked the last couple of dreary days! :)

Sounds like you're moving more and more over. It's a great feeling isn't it?
 
No, it's been in the low to mid 70's most of last week, getting into the low 60's at night so we had the windows open. I ran it yesterday when I got those numbers. I use around 60-70kwh most days and yesterday was 90kwh. My batteries are at 40% right now and it's supposed to be cloudy this morning and rain all afternoon so it'll be interesting to see how things go.

More than likely, my wife will decide to do laundry and want to dry clothes all day. That's about how it's worked the last couple of dreary days! :)

Sounds like you're moving more and more over. It's a great feeling isn't it?
Ok. It's been super humid here the last couple days, so we had the AC cranked yesterday evening. I'm cold natured so I can keep the thermostat set to 80 most times, but at some point you have to chill it down some.

It got close to 90 yesterday before the monsoon hit last night. It's like a rain forest here. I still haven't plowed our garden plots because it's been too wet. We get maybe 2-3 days of dry weather, then it comes a gully washer.

We hardly use the dryer in the summer. If it's sunny out, we run the washer (off solar) and put the clothes on the solar dryer (aka the clothesline).

Yeah, I'm running out of ideas on how to maximize my system. I could switch the dishwasher over, but we use it maybe a couple times a month, so it wouldn't be worth it. I have a 12 slot sub panel and I only have two spaces left, so I have to be judicious on what I switch over.
 
We try to use our clothesline whenever possible but not much planning goes into when laundry gets done vs the weather.

Sounds like you need to upgrade your sub panel! :cool: I knew I'd be in a simialr boat if I started small so I just went for a maxed out single inverter right out of the gate. It made the install pretty easy as well since I just had to tap into my main wire and run through the inverter. Good luck on your future changes.

Side note. I liked the ground mount you did.
 
Yeah I figured a 12 space panel would be plenty, because there's only so many 120V circuits in the house. Two spaces were taken by the inverter input, there's 4 receptacle/switch circuits, a washer, two appliance (kitchen counter and coffee/microwave bar), and now the shed. The only ones I haven't switched are the smoke alarm and dishwasher.

I probably will upgrade to a split phase inverter eventually, so I should've put in a larger panel. Bad planning on my part I guess.

Thanks about the ground mount, it was a lot of work, especially digging the trench for the PV wires back to the house! It was about 50ft long and 2ft deep. I dug it by hand with a pickaxe and other hand tools. What a pain. Thankfully our soil is not rocky or it'd been a real chore.

The ten post holes for the mount were dug 2ft deep with a post hole digger and each post/hole got about 100lb of Quikrete mix. If I ever do another ground mount it won't be a wood one..
 
A friend of mine has a ground mount and he did the ground screws. Would you use something like that?
 
Yeah I saw something like that done by someone on here (@BrianVeg) he got the idea from that Everyday Dave guy on YouTube who used the same system. Dave is actually in Ohio so maybe he's your friend?? I'm wildly speculating of course.

I'd consider it if it was reasonably priced
 
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