Solar Installation – Part 3


Solar Installation – Part 3

by rdpecken on Sep.16, 2013, under Electrical

Once the exterior of the job site boxes were complete for the solar installation, the next step was to bolt them to the porch deck. I used carriage bolts to minimize the chance of someone removing them from the outside.

Next, I started work on the interior. The equipment was set in place and moved around until a satisfactory arrangement was found for the solar panel installation.

Finding positions

I couldn’t find any insulators to mount my bus bars for the battery power on. So I made some up using 3/4″ PVC plastic pipe and caps. These were arranged such that the pipe went through holes in the plywood, and the caps placed on either side of the plywood. Then a bolt was run from one side to the other, never touching the plywood itself.

Buss Insulator posts

At this point, the Charge controller, Inverter, Buss Bars and circuit breakers were all physically mounted on the plywood panel. Wires were routed such that they had minimal swing when moving the panel from horizontal to vertical. 1/0 wire was run to the battery box, and #4 or #6 wire was used to wire the components, depending on how much current they passed.

Components mounted

A light 15-amp AC circuit was wired inside the box to use for testing. Later, a heavier AC circuit will be permanently wired to the LittleHouse.

The battery box was populated with the batteries, and a series of jumpers constructed from 1/0 cable. A 300 Amp fuse is in line to prevent any catastrophic shorts on the very heavy gauge cables.

Battery Box

Everything was finally ready for first light at about 6:00pm on Saturday. Since this was very close to sundown, there was not much generation going on. But it was enough to configure some settings and get us started.

Late day first-light generation

The next morning, I saw a maximum of around 630 watts generation, while bulk charging the batteries and running a vacuum cleaner in the LittleHouse. This will vary depending on the discharge level of the batteries and the amount of sun available. It should max out at around 1400 watts.


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