diy solar

diy solar

Time to move my panel to pole mount

dm6156

New Member
Joined
Dec 2, 2021
Messages
36
Location
Georgia
Background:
I have a small shed at woodline across creek in my backyard. I have 2x100Ah AGM batteries powered by 100w single renogy panel to power a 2 outlet inverter and LED shop light inside and LED motion security light above door. It's nice that I have light now to cross the bridge/creek and get firewood from under the overhang on the shed for my firepit which is by the creek. Currently the panel is on a rv style mount and on the ground. Now that I have had it over a year, it's time to find a permanant mount for the panel as I now know where the sun shines all year (original install was completed in winter). I want to mount it above my (4') fence on some sort of pole mount about 5' up (so 6' pole allowing 1' in ground should be sufficient). All year, I'm able to keep batteries charged using the single 100W panel as the lights don't get used often (mostly wildlife set up the security light above shed door). It's been a very reliable and functional setup!

I've been looking at the renogy mount (RNG-MTS-SP100-US - currently $60 on sale). The issue is that it requires a 4" OD pole which I'm not able to find easily (maybe I'm looking in the wrong place). Anyone have any other suggestions for where to find a cheap 4" OD pole? Or another option for pole mount system? I suppose I could swap out the round u bolts that mount the system to the pole for a square one and mount to a wood pole in worse case scenario if I go with the renogy mount.

Any thoughts and suggestions welcome!

Thanks in Advance.

Dan
 
If you know anyone that has an old Satellite dish (the small ones for TV or internet) it is rather easy to remove the dish and use the pole mount from it to hold a panel. Plus they are adjustable whenever you want to. Depending on the bracket they fit metal fence post or rigid pipe.
 

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Make your own. You can get 4" schedule 40 pipe from a fencing supply. Most likely they will cut it to your specifications for a small fee. Easy to make single row rotating arrays out of unistruts. Here are pics of mine that can hold three 300W residential grid-tie type panels.
 

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Thanks all. I picked up a 17' long 4" OD steel pole (former basketball goal post) from FB marketplace for $20 today. About 3' on one end is a little rusted and part (or all) may need to be removed. Even at 14', that's taller than I need for my single panel. I ordered the Renegy pole mount today as well.

Dan
 
Thanks all. I picked up a 17' long 4" OD steel pole (former basketball goal post) from FB marketplace for $20 today. About 3' on one end is a little rusted and part (or all) may need to be removed. Even at 14', that's taller than I need for my single panel. I ordered the Renegy pole mount today as well.
Anything that long will need to be sunk very deep in concrete to keep it upright and plumb.

You might find more value in it by chopping it up into sections. You could chop it with a 4" cutoff wheel, I've cut 4" pipe that way, going along the circumference. If you look more closely at my pics above, what you can see is that I have 8' lengths of 3.5" pipe sunk 3' down in concrete, with the 4" pipe slipped over it. This allows the 4" section to rotate freely around the 3.5" section. I have T-handles on the sides of the 4" lengths of pipe for locking it in a specific direction.
 
Anything that long will need to be sunk very deep in concrete to keep it upright and plumb.

You might find more value in it by chopping it up into sections. You could chop it with a 4" cutoff wheel, I've cut 4" pipe that way, going along the circumference. If you look more closely at my pics above, what you can see is that I have 8' lengths of 3.5" pipe sunk 3' down in concrete, with the 4" pipe slipped over it. This allows the 4" section to rotate freely around the 3.5" section. I have T-handles on the sides of the 4" lengths of pipe for locking it in a specific direction.
That's a neat idea on the 4" over the 3. 5" and being able to rotate. Did you drill and tap the holes for the T handles? Or if it just pressure keeping the 4" from spinning.

I'm only going to make it tall enough so that when i run the cable over to it (it's crossing a tree lined creek so i can't bury it completely and running near my outdoor patio/firepit) that it'll allow enough room for me to drive my subcompact tractor under without the ROPS hitting.

I haven't inspected the previously installed in the ground end to see if it's good enough to be re buried. Even at 11' tall (17' - 3' rusted end and burying 3) that's more than i need.

I will spray with a rust inhibitor paint and repaont it all set in concrete. I still have some bags of 5000psi concrete mix from a previous project.

I have grinder with cutoff wheels and also have a 14" abrasive wheel chop saw (also have ferrous diablo blade) that has max cut depth of 5" that could be used.

I will also cap the top to keep rain out of the pole.

Thanks

Dan
 
That's a neat idea on the 4" over the 3. 5" and being able to rotate. Did you drill and tap the holes for the T handles? Or if it just pressure keeping the 4" from spinning.Dan
Yes. I first tapped the 4" pipe, then threaded on a steel nut onto the bolt and screwed it into the tapped hole. I then welded the nuts onto the 4" pipe, so there is a lot of thread to hold the T-handles in place. After unscrewing the bolts, I welded a short piece of rebar on the bolt-head. Not elegant, but it works.
 
I have 8' lengths of 3.5" pipe sunk 3' down in concrete, with the 4" pipe slipped over it. This allows the 4" section to rotate freely around the 3.5" section. I have T-handles on the sides of the 4" lengths of pipe for locking it in a specific direction.
Wow! Glad to find your post as this is exactly what I want to do. ANd I have several pipe pieces already on hand that just might work.

But, I want to put 3x 460w 45"x75" panels. Think that is doable?

You mention 3' deep of concrete...how wide out did you go? Sorry if I missed that detail.

Also, if the 4" pipe is 8', how tall is the 3.5" pipe?

Are you brainstorming any motorized solutions?

Thanks for the feedback!
 
But, I want to put 3x 460w 45"x75" panels. Think that is doable?

You mention 3' deep of concrete...how wide out did you go? Sorry if I missed that detail.

Also, if the 4" pipe is 8', how tall is the 3.5" pipe?

Are you brainstorming any motorized solutions?
Take a look at my original V1.4 design, single-row, made out of 10' unistruts. Three of your panels in a row would be 135". I can see two ways to accommodate them. First, weld on a ~16" extension of unistrut to the ends. Position the trusses on the back so that the welded on piece gets the support.

Alternatively, using half-channel unistruts instead, sandwich two half-channels of two different lengths to reach the full 135" length. Like this...
___________ ____
____ ___________

Welded together, the composite unistruts will be very strong. I used this method for my V2.0 rooftop design. Bolts will work if you don't have a welder.

I used a 15" 2-man gasoline-powered auger to drill the holes. Rented that from Home Depot.

It's the 3.5" pipe that's 8' long, sunk 3' in the concrete. The 4" pipe sections are just 4' long, and when slipped on top of the 3.5" pipe, they are suspended ~ 1' off the ground.

I really don't need mechanization to rotate my panels. After positioning the arrays by hand Eastward in the morning sun, I find I really only need to adjust my arrays only twice during the day, once ~10:00am or so, and again at ~2:00pm. Mostly, this is just on irrigation days, when I want a minimum 2000W coming in to supply my pump. Other then that, I really don't focus much attention on output, as my incoming power is way more than adequate.
 

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Wow!! Thanks for all of the extra info...and repeating yourself...I missed that you clarified the pole lengths originally! I get it now.

Pouring over it...again. Looks very doable.

What are the specs (gauge) and source of your unistruts?

Thanks!
 
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