DIY 5.67 grid tie

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Nov 3, 2014
Central MN
When was young and in school I always was intrigued by panel could turn sunlight into eletricity and sometimes wondered why do we have to buy electrity when it can be made from the sunlight? Later I learned the real cost of a system, tens of thousands plus batteries etc. Fast forword to today and I am smiling ear to ear just looking at the very same type of panel on top of my very own roof.


Last year I was looking real hard and thought, with the solar credit ending, upgrades needed to the house breaker panel and needing a power line put out to my new garage, this was the time to do it. Enphase seemed the leader and I was set on that until I called a craigslist ad from a Solar Edge seller. After researching Solar Edge I liked what I saw. No clipping of panel output, a single inverter, 25 year warrenty, net monitoring, rapid shutdown compliant out of box and a better way to handle shading I believe. Plus to ad my excitment it is compatible with Tesla's battery.

Thats my story in a nut shell. This is my system install:

Needed a new line to the street, hand dug along the house the electic contractor put in a new 200Amp panel in the house. Upgrading from a 100Amp screw in fuse panel that never would have passed inspection. Of couse thiswould require installing a new line to the street box. Which is at the end of my driveway, between my house and the neighors.



They also installed the service on the garage wall, A/C disconnect and all the steel conduit.


No one in the area was real familair with solar or installing. So I watched alot of youtube videos and read allot of forums. Even the city didn't have building codes for solar, I am the first in town and very proud of it.


Iron ridge racking and flashing is installed. Yes these are new shingles, old but brand new in the wrapper when bought. Found every rafter, not one missed on this install. That took the longest for me. About 2 days to just get the flashing on and installed in a leakproof way with this type of shingle. Had I known I would have been installing solar this soon I would have gone with a standing seam roof. Would be much easier and poitively leakproof. But it is what it is.

Next up was leveling all the racking. I did that using my caulk line strung tight from the bottom to the top rack and using it as a straight edge to the middle racks. Mounted the optimizers and began to run the wire, hooking up each optimizer togeather. While this isn't as nice as Enphases single cable it's under the panels and not seen anyway. Pehaps there is a better way of routing the wire, but I couldn't find many pictures on the internet of this part with a Solar Edge system in detail. Later i would have to pull the top row on each roof and fix hanging some hanging wires to pass inspection. Probably a good thing I am thinking of installing wire netting around the array to keep out birds, squirrles and small people.


Another change in plans resulted in a lost week waiting for electric guys to come back and longer home run wires. No one was quite sure the best way to punch threw the roof. Seller told me were to go when he dropped off the system to make 2 100ft wire work. But we ended up going threw the wall in the middle of the garage instead. No holes in the roof to leak.

The inverter was wired from behind, so no wires or conduit show. My garage walls are 9 1/2" thick, making good use of that space I think. Once everything is insulated and drywalled this will look better.Still have a few 220 volt lines to run, airlines (anyone use pex of their airline?) then I can start to close up the walls.


Next came hooking up the simple Rapid Shutdown kit. Easy two wire replacement in the D/C switch box. This came with the inverter. Hooking up the 2 seperate arrays. Voltage of the home runs equal number of panels. Lower roof has 10 panels and wires have a safe 10 volts out of all optimizers. 8 panels and 8 volts out of the other set of wires. When the inverter goes tp production mode the optimizers start producing and lne voltage rises to 370 DC volts or more. If the inverter loses power(grid goes down) voltage drops back safe levels in less than 10 seconds


Since this is a DIY project I needed to hire the local lumber company to bring thier truck over to lift the panels to the roof. They had a leakin a hose and he ended upusing a forklift to lift them up to the roofline and I pulled the panelsoff and set them around on the other side of the roof. Not the fun part because I don't like being up near the edge of any roof.


I needed a way to keep the first row of panels from sliding off by myself while hooked up the wire and screwed the panels down. A piece of 2x4 and bent length of steel worked great to hook the frame while I did this stuff. Another set of hands would have been of great help...oh well.



The fixed hanging wires....


The finished roof...




Cat approved...

Black panels on the wall are hot water panels I got used for a $150 a piece.Good deal I thought. They will be pumbed into a drainback system and hooked up to the inslab heat for a hopefully somewhat warm garage this winter without any added cost. I was building a hotair system but designed the wall for the depth of these panels. Very happy with the look.

Just got passed for my state inspection and waiting until the 1st when the utility comes out to 'test' the system and hopefully in stall the bi-directional meter. I have to wait until probably end of Augest to get any credit for power though. The city has to hold one more public hearing and then publish the rate before it goes into effect, this is a first for them also. In the meantime I plan to just monitor the shading this month and do trimming next month when I have a better handle on what needs done. I can watch individual panel outputs with the online portal.

During alittle testing it was putting out 3.8kw I feed out 4 kw in about and hour, I average 15kw to 20kw of use a day...I think I just made myself net zero. Plus anything extra will go toward my total utlity bill, which according to wording they are writing into the new ordance includes the electric bill plus monthly fee, water bill and sewer bill plus both of their meter charges. I will never get a check for my production...but it will help reduce all the utilities bill. Is that like killing 3 birds with one stone?

Been up and running for a week or so, down on power expected, but understandable with the amount of shading. As it is, I'm still making enough to cover power use. A few trees may need trimming yet...not to worried that the numbers can't get better, its been cloudy and a lot of haze in the air from fire in Canada that has to be hurting production numbers also. When you play through the weeks production I can see shading moving across the array, pretty cool software with Solar Edge.
Solar Edge portal pics below.




Staff member
Awesome! How are you planning to remove snow from the panels? Your roof looks like a pretty low pitch.


Minister of Fire
Jan 1, 2008
Northern MN
Very nice, and congratulations. About the end of a long journey, now time to enjoy. The smoke haze and cloud cover during early July has been very unusual. Only 3 of the 1st 12 days of July resulted in production for my system that met the average daily goal for July, and this week looks no better based on the forecast.

Give some thought to handling snow cover. February - April can be surprisingly high production months with cold temps and clear skies. The low sun angles during this period make shading potential quite large unless you really are clear of obstructions to the south.


Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
Cool post. Appreciate the photos. Thanks.

Great that you can apply the "earnings" to all of your utility bills and not just power. Plus you can apply the earnings to the base rate and meter charge too. You could actually get down to a zero bill.
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