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Getting started with solar

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Posted by Richard Nelson on August 1, 2018, 1:19 pm
I would like to design and install my own 10 - 15 kW PV, grid-tied,
ground mounted, system in southern California.

Can anyone recommend some good reading material to start with?

Posted by Jim Wilkins on August 1, 2018, 2:07 pm

The solar part is simple, the electrical not so much. Do you have any  
electrical engineering training or experience as an electrician?

Posted by Richard Nelson on August 1, 2018, 2:43 pm
 On Wed, 1 Aug 2018 10:07:14 -0400, "Jim Wilkins"

Yes, a B.Sc.EE.  I fully understand the technology, I need practical
knowledge about the actual installation process.  Do you have specific
reading recommendations?

Posted by Jim Wilkins on August 1, 2018, 5:50 pm
I followed my experience as an industrial electrician and then  
designer / builder of custom test equipment. My system isn't grid tied  
so I didn't look for a book on that. You avoid a lot by not having to  
manage batteries.

 The grid tie controller's instruction manual should be a good start,  
assuming you are up to date on wiring practices and the power company  
will permit a connection to non-licenced work. I watched a Solar City  
grid tie installation and read the manual but it was too much to fully  
absorb before they finished. The NEC and local code and the inspector  
are the final determinants

If the array is on your roof it may need structural reinforcement to  
return it to code requirements.

Around here the solar companies are no help to do-it-yourselfers. The  
owner of one told me they don't sell used or cosmetic reject panels,  
then described how he built a personal-use system like mine from them  
for 1/10 of the installed system price.

This is a pretty good deal, with free home delivery:
They are 36 cell panels good for 12V or 24V lead-acids with PWM  
controllers, I don't know how they would do as a high voltage series  
string with an MPPT controller. They handle partial tree trunk shading  
pretty well. If your array can be partially shaded there are  
distributed MPPT and inverter topologies that increase output, and  
initial investment.

The MC4 connector pin requires a barrel crimp tool, I used an Anderson  
Powerpole crimper. If you solder it don't let the solder run to the  
back end of the crimp or the wire will become brittle from the  
concentration of bending stresses.


Posted by hubops on August 1, 2018, 6:01 pm

 I guess it's not impossible  ..   that a ground mounted array
could be on the roof  ..      :-)
   John T.

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