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Self Install Solar

Discussion in 'US' started by Matthew Morgan, Feb 19, 2017.

More threads by Matthew Morgan
  1. Matthew Morgan

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    Hi, I just wanted to give a quick highlight to my solar system. Here are the quick facts.

    • 5 panels
    • Self-installed in Phoenix, AZ
    • Power peaks around 1.1 kW in the Summer (I get around 6 sun hours per day)
    • For the most part, this system ensures that I don't take electricity from the grid during peak hours (electricity costs 4 times as much during peak hours - noon to 7 pm)
    • Since my system is "less than 1 kW", I didn't have to get the electrical utility involved
    • Link to system https://enlighten.enphaseenergy.com/pv/public_systems/FEgw253946#.WKoehE3pEuQ
      • There is a photo of the system at the website link.

    If anybody in the Phoenix area would like to self-install their solar system, please let me know and I'll help you out. It's a lot easier than you think and you spend about half of what the solar companies will charge.
     
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    • Topher

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      #2 Topher, Feb 19, 2017
      Last edited: Feb 20, 2017
      I have helped people install their own solar systems, and I can say it isn't difficult. However, it can be dangerous. Please, know what you are doing with respect to the electricity. Use appropriate ropes and harnesses where necessary. Have a plan. Use jigs to get things spaced correctly. And so on.
      [ETA: Panels get hot in the sun, and produce voltage, cover the current one with a piece of cardboard]

      A significant portion of the price of a solar system is labor for installation. You can save a lot, by doing it yourself.

      Thank you kindly.
       
    • KennethK

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      @Matthew Morgan , do you have something to ensure that you don't exceed your demand at anytime? The reason I ask is that the newer digital meters don't distinguish between inflow and outflow, unless the meter is programmed for net metering, assuming you have a digital meter. So if you feed back to the grid, you will actually be charged for putting energy one the grid at the peak rate.
       
    • Matthew Morgan

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      I must have an older digital meter because I don't get charged for putting back into the grid. My usage flatlines for most of the day even though I know I'm putting a little back into the grid.

      For demand, I have the water heater/heat pump scheduled to only run during non-peak hours and I don't run any other major appliances as well. I have about 0.5 kW of peak usage from noon to 7
       
    • MelindaV

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      I noticed something interesting on my way home tonight and thought of this thread ;)

      First, Portland has an enormous homeless population (who doesn't, right?!) There is a strip of land the city (view from google street view) has permitted long term camping and people have essentially built 'tiny houses' out of next to nothing and random construction materials others have left. Some are full utility sheds, others are not much more than propped up pallets and tarps.
      Today I noticed one of the more 'together' tiny houses' west elevation is half covered with a solar panel (which is probably all of 4'x4')! I just thought that was cool, assuming it is functional, they could at least be able to have a little power
       
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      • Matthew Morgan

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        Interesting that you mention that. I'm currently in the long process of coordinating with the City of Phoenix to install solar on low income housing. My ultimate plan is to launch a Kickstarter with the help of the City and establish a non-profit that brings solar to our low-income residents. I'm thinking there are a lot of corporations and individuals who would like to donate to a 501(c)(3) that would "Accelerate the transition to clean energy"

        I've never been to Portland but I've heard great things about the City,
         
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        • MelindaV

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          you should reach out to Mel Herbert form the Talking Tesla podcast. If you don't listen to their show, Mel is a huge solar advocate and he may have some suggestions or resources and maybe could do a phone interview with you to promote the Kickstarter, etc. He also has a spinoff podcast (that right now I think still lives at the end of Talking Tesla podcasts about once a month) specifically geared toward solar and other renewable lifestyle options people can choose to make.
           
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