Intermediate Solar Power Installation by
Shaw The photos below show my first
homepower setup. It will run about 4 rooms in the house.
This first photo shows the 4 Solerex
MSX-120 solar panels. At full sun they put out 480 watts, or about
28 amps at 12V DC. The pictures don't do the color of the panels
justice, they look like the background of this web page. The panels
are wired together at their junction boxes and then joined in the splice
box at the bottom of the photo. The DC wiring runs in conduit down
the roof and into the equipment closet.
The photo below shows the panels
close-up. The panels are directly above the equipment closet and
mounted on aluminum channel. By luck, the roof angle is 40 degrees
and facing south (perfect)! If you haven't seen these panels before,
they are each about the size of a card table.
This shows the equipment closet
with its doors closed. The closet was built outside under the carport
and has 2x12 shelves, louvered doors, and vent grilles on the sides.
The pipe on the left is the engine exhaust from the generator and the vent
duct is the blower exhaust. Fresh air intake vents are on the right
side (not shown). As you can see, the system is very inconspicuous.
This is a picture of the closet
with the doors open. A Trace C40 charge controller (small white box)
accepts the current from the roof panels. The controller sends the
DC electricity through a Trace DC175 breaker panel (large white box) to
protect everything. From there the charge controller monitors the
16 Trojan T105 batteries (maroon) and adjusts the amount of current charging
them optimally. If the batteries do not need all of the power being
generated by the panels, the charge is stepped back. The Heart Interface
2kw power inverter (top shelf left) converts the battery current (at 12
vdc) to 120vac and then to the house. Below the bottom battery shelf
is an Onan 4kw gas powered generator (not shown).
In order to run normal household
circuits, the DC power from the batteries or solar panels must be converted
to 120V AC power. The next photo shows the Heart inverter and wiring.
The blue flex conduits on the right contain 2/0 size interconnects which
are fed from the master breaker. The flex at the bottom left is the
inverted 120V AC power outlet to the house. The bottom right is auxillary
120V input AC from the generator in case the batteries run low or the sun
is not out for an extended period.
The system performance is
monitored indoors with a Trimetric power monitor. It monitors charging
as well as consumption.