Yeah, I can feel you there. No way I’m going to screw up my back messing with that many bags of concrete. I’m going to have somebody come in with a concrete pump because the site slope is too steep for a cement mixer truck.
Hey what company did your install for solar and if I may ask and some people think it’s personal maybe to you. But how much total system cost you? I’m in paperwork process of home build and we are going to add solar after it’s done in May or June 2019
I am somewhat of an Electrical Engineer, so I did it all myself. I got the solar panels from a company with offices in Florida and Arizona. Picked up a grid-tie inverter from a local solar shop and all my mounting hardware from a company with a nearby distributor. The mounting manufacturer supplied engineering drawings, so all I had to do was draw the site-specific plans and get it all signed off by an engineer to get a building permit. Rented an excavator to make the pier holes. Bought the 1 1/2 inch water pipe for the mounting frame (goes in the concrete and all the special mounting hardware attaches.) There are many, many steps but the Building Permit people were surprisingly helpful.
It’s complicated by us living in a manufactured home. Roof-mounting requires approval from the state and is unlikely something I could get. So I ground-mounted. If you can have your house plans include nice south-facing roofs and asphalt shingles, then roof mounting can be easier and a lot cheaper. Have the solar mounting pieces installed before your roof is completed. That’s the best way to make it all leak-proof. Your main expenses will be panels and a grid-tied inverter. (Going with batteries costs about four times as much!) They need to be matched, with the panels putting out voltages and currents the inverter can handle.
Putting together systems that will supply your needs, and then installing them and getting it all approved and legal is what solar companies do. I would avoid all the tricky leasing deals and just buy the stuff outright, Unless you are comfortable with roof work and high voltage electricity, i wouldn’t recommend DIY.
Ok thanks I want to have them mounted on a structure not on the house similar to what you have done. Don’t want to risk it being on house and rain leaks form later and there’s another problem
I see a lot of roof mounted panels on sheds and detached garages around here. Never really priced out differences, but I’m assuming those homeowners at least thought it was cheaper.
It’s a lot cheaper. The panel frame mounts with little $5 roof-mount thingies, as opposed to building a whole concrete and steel structure to put them on. If you have to meet building codes, the frame has to be about as sound as your roof. It’s all about the wind load on the panels. My piers are 18" in diameter, with 26" below grade and 12" above.
Could you drop them on post holes back filled with concrete? My dad is superintendent of redimix company, and I just happen to know a guy with auger.
At least in my system, the engineering drawings called for 12" concrete piers with 36 inches below grade, or 18" piers with 26" below grade. Those piers have a 1 1/2 inch water pipe embedded coming out the top. (A lot stronger than a 4x4.) The local building department engineer “suggested” 12 inches of concrete above grade to protect the pipe. So I got some heavy concrete forms and cut them to size. You could use an auger to drill 12" holes, if it can go down far enough. The cardboard forms are very convenient: You just cut them to size with a portable jigsaw. I tried with my two-man auger, but I hit rock so I had to rent an excavator and go to 18". Those piers are every 8 feet. so the number you need depends on your solar panel area.
You need to build a temporary set of stakes or pillars to hold the pipe frame up over the forms at exactly the right heights. You assemble the horizontal and vertical pipe frame and the cross members to form a ridged planar array that the panels can be bolted to. It’s important that it’s all coplanar, and pointed to the south. Then a concrete pump is probably a good idea to fill the forms without knocking the array out of alignment. Once the concrete sets up, you can fine tune the whole assembly geometry to make it really flat.
I used Professional Solar Products GroundTrac hardware.
How big a wattage solar system did or are you getting installed. I’m looking at doing something like what you have to run all appliances 2 fridges, 1 deep freezer, 1 stove, 1 microwave, 1 dishwasher, 1 dryer, 1 washer, 2 AC units, 12 ceiling fans/lights, 1 well water pump, 1 hot water heater, 7 tv’s, 1400watts at least for grow lights and fans. With all these products named do you think you can give me an estimate on how much power I will need to run all this it it was to be ran at same time. Maybe @dbrn32 can chime in with an estimate. I know the company can give estimate but I want to go in with a ballpark of give and take maybe 100 watts of what’s needed. Basically I’m doing a little shopping around but I’d like to pick your brain first
Do you wanna go on grid or off grid? Pretty big difference in what you need. If you’re going on grid and you want to cover everything you use, check your bill. Then just use one of the online calculators that will factor in your location and climate.
That’s the best: Look at your electric bills for the entire last year, and calculate the total kilowatt hours. Then you need to figure you get about 5 hours per day of full noon equivalent sunlight. So if you get 5000 watts of panels (full noon sun output) that would be (5 hrs x 5 kilowatts) = 25 kilowatt hours per day. Multiply that by 365 days and you get 9125 kwatt-hours per year. If your bills run higher than that, you need more panels.
That’s for a grid-tied system so at the end of the year you get an electric bill for just the electric company’s connect charge. No net power used. An off-grid system is about four times as expensive because batteries are so costly. They only make sense if you are off-grid to begin with.
I have spent the time figuring out what my house would take and it’s very similar to your needs @Onlythebest79. I have central air so that would be different from you and not as many appliances. I would need 30kw solar to run my house most of the time on solar power. I have spent $3,000 on a 3kw system just to run the grow so far and I still have about $500 more to spend to finish it. I paid $140 a piece with shipping for 250 watt panels and that was an absolute bargain. From what I’ve found, the bottom line is that it’s going to cost at least $30,000 to have a solar system that you can count on to run a house.
It’s very difficult to figure out what you will need because you can have AC that only runs a few months and then it turns on and off all day. So it’s a lot easier to total the kilowatt hours you used last year and figure this year will be about the same. You don’t need enough panels to run everything at the same time, and any panels are going to put out less power in the morning and late afternoon.
I am using Mars COB with driver, it is only 105W, so it can be close to plants and does not hurt them.