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Thread: DIY Solar Kits

  1. #1

    DIY Solar Kits

    So we are still working to get power to our property and one of the things we have looked into is solar. The Tax Credits in NY make it almost a no brainer.

    I have found a few websites online that offer "kits" with everything you need to install the system. These would save me money but its not very much. I am considering doing it though, not for the dollar savings but for increasing the size of the system. In particular, the 10 kwh kit from this website would save me $1500-2000, BUT would increase the size of the system by over 25%. This might be excessive for my usage, but I'm sure I could use the electricity in one way or another. https://tandem-solar-systems.com/home-solar-kits/

    I've watched some videos online about installs, but they focus on the tracks and mounting the panels. That looks super easy. But what about the wiring? Anyone have any experience?

  2. #2
    30% federal tax credit. ;-{>8


    Off grid? Batteries?

  3. #3
    Plus NY has an additional 25% tax credit. So 55% off. Then there is Grant money on top of that.

    I'm just wondering how hard they are to install. I'd almost rather try my hand at this, save money, and hire out something else I was planning on doing

  4. #4
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    The wiring is something I have been wondering about as well. In an off grid system where you are trying to produce as much as possible and lose as little as possible in transfer, what would be the best plan for your internal wiring. I am thinking we should go with 12 gauge at least if not 10 on the inside and no less than 10 gauge coming from the battery banks to the house on the outside. Also I am thinking we will do all the perimeter wiring behind the chinking so conduit or Romex. I am leaning toward conduit due to the thought of ever having to get behind that chinking for a problem. What have you guys done. Romex would be so much easier in the short term so I just don't know. Since we have hope to do some chinking this season I need to get this figured out.

  5. #5
    I have a couple of DIYer friends who have done it. Just work. When I do it, I will have an electrician make the final connections. ;-{>8


    Gotta add, there appear to be large, cost saving changes to battery technology right around the corner.
    Last edited by oldtrapper; 04-03-2017 at 05:25 AM.

  6. #6
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    The wiring inside the walls should be normal, just as if grid connected. Losses there are not significant.

    As far as 120/240 wiring, the only change I might make would be to separate loads at the breaker box, so some might run from a generator, for example. But even then, I would still lean toward having the whole house running on the generator, if it's going to run at all.

    Thoner, this is something you can do yourself. Just start with a basic book on home wiring from Lowes or Home Depot, to learn code basics. Ask questions here. Watch details you're unsure of on YouTube.

  7. #7
    Hey thanks for the feedback. I can and have run simple circuits, adding outlets and over head lights to bedrooms and stuff. I'm just not sure what degree of wiring solar entails and if any specific knowledge is needed.

    In using some calculators online, it seems like best bang for your buck is putting them on the roof of my pole barn. Should be simple enough to rack them but tieing in the wiring to the meter and stuff.... I'm not sure. YouTube hasn't been much help.

  8. #8
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    Oh, wiring the meter. I have been assuming strictly off grid.

    Power companies have two reasons to add requirements. One is safety. Short version: they don't want solar panels powering the grid when a line goes down and killing a lineman. Two: requirements discourage loss of their business to solar users. It may sound paranoid, but there are plenty of stories out there of frustrated customers of the power company, getting the runaround or not hearing back at all. And many succeed anyway. A licensed electrician is needed to make the meter connection, but he can cut through red tape, too.

  9. #9
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    Solar panel connectors are pretty standard nowadays, for solar panels. I vaguely recall a name like MC4, but don't quote me on that. It doesn't matter, though. You connect the male connector from one panel to the female connector of the next (just snap together). That forms one "string" of 2 or 3 or 4 panels or so.

    When you have a few strings to connect in parallel (male connector to male and female to female), then you can cut off ends and wire together in a combiner box (a simple steel box sold by that name). You might need an extension wire or two with those solar connectors, in order to reach your combiner box.

    From the box, you run off-the-shelf wire to the charge controller. From the charge controller, run more off-the-shelf wire to the batteries, and so on.

  10. #10
    So that sounds pretty simple. Just simple wires and pigtails at the junctions I assume? The kits come with wiring diagrams so I should be able to handle that I would think

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