Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Adding a Solar Array

In 2019, a proper solar array was added. The solar array was installed on a south-facing ground mounted pedestal. Pedestal was 4 feet high to allow for local snow conditions. A hinged wooded frame with metal rails was installed to hold the 12-315W solar panels. Panels were wired into 4 strings of 3 panels connected to a 4-string combiner box. A 100 foot run of PV wire was run to the cabin and connected to a Midnite Classic 150 Solar Charge Controller.  A backup battery bank consisting of (8) 190AH sealed AGM batteries were installed for a 48VDC system. This is a backup up battery bank to the existing 1600AH 48V battery that is currently installed and will be replaced or reconditioned in the spring of 2020.

Solar pedestal starts with 12 4x4x8 pressure treated posts

2x6 boards and strand board added for floor and roof

Hinged wood frame with metal supports for panels

12 Solar panels (315W) added to frame

plywood sides and doors added to enclose pedestal

Solar panel array working as designed.
Will adjust angle in spring.

The solar array project was a complete success. The pedestal provides a strong base for the solar array and will keep the panels up out of the snow. The pedestal provides much needed storage for lumber and other construction materials. The angle of the array can be adjusted as needed. I am planning on using wall jacks to lift up the wall of solar panels to the desired angle in the spring.

With the solar panels now in place, I am able to leave the power on in the cabin all of the time, which allows me to keep a refrigerator and security system running at the cabin.   The next and final piece to the power system will be to add an automatic generator start (AGS)  which will start the generator automatically to charge the batteries should the voltage drop in the batteries to a preset level. This will help offset periods in which the solar panels will be covered by snow.

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