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As some of you may know already, I'm the co-owner of a machine shop/manufacturing company. My building is about 20,000 sq. ft. and we use a ton of electric due to the amount of machinery we have, especially CNC lathes and mills. We have explored using solar energy in the past, but the cost has always been quite prohibitive. That changed this year through the confluence of our energy provider, and our local, state and federal governments offering thus before unavailable incentives. For the first time, it seemed doable and we jumped at the opportunity.

I'd like to share the installation and implementation process with you, through pics(I took a lot, as I was fascinated by the whole process) and explanation, in my layman's terms. From where I stood previously, I learned quite a bit about how solar energy works with the existing grid. At times through the process, I couldn't help but to think back to my dad's shop growing up. He had truck fab/mechanic shop. It had the bare essentials. Hot and dusty in the summer and cold as, well you know, in the winter. We had an old rusty salamander heater that we fed with whatever waste oil we could drain out of engines, rear ends, etc. that we had laying around. In my experience, they burned dirty and were apt to "go up" at any time. In my father's eye's, he was spoiling us, lol. Here's a pic of one:



Just kind of made me smile at what he might think of how far things have come, if he was still around. Anyhow, enough about that. Here's some pics of the material delivery. And yes, I asked numerous times if I could run the crane. That thing was so cool! I was told "no". Something about insurance stuff :banghead3 Some pics:







These boxes contain the solar panels.



This photo shows the bottom support rails. In the back are the square cement anchoring slabs. "Saddles" are placed across the bottom rails and loaded with the cement slabs. There are no hard fasteners in the system, just the shear weight of the cement. I was kind of relieved at this, as I just installed a new roof earlier in the year. I was told this system can withstand 140 MPH winds.



These rails then go on over the bottom rail system and the solar panels are then attached to them.



The next group of photos will show the panels installed, the wiring done to tie into our system and the grid, the "brain" and the metering system.
 

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nice!!

You are a very lucky man--Ellis..keep those pictures coming..

glenn
 

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Citizen of Earth
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My employer also went solar this year. We can generate 120KW of power at peak sunshine levels in the summer. Panels were installed on the roofs of 3 buildings. On a really good day, we generate more than we use, plus the electricity generated when we are closed on weekends and holidays all goes on the grid.
 

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Very nice!
Post some photos of the control and distribution panel when you can.
 

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Discussion Starter #5

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I Love All Color Tractors
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First, CONGRATULATIONS! That is a big investment and it will pay dividends in the future.

I'm really looking forward to seeing the rest of the system.

Thanks for sharing this with us! :fing32:
 

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Thanks for posting this. It is a topic we all are interested in and will enjoy following even through the after-installation-how-it-works part. :thThumbsU
 

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Loving Life :-)
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Looks great Ellis, and I for one am glad things lined up for your company to make the investment.:woohoo1:
 

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Citizen of Earth
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We found out during the recent storm caused power outage that my employer's solar panels still generate electricity when the grid is down, but not 3-phase. So all the lights worked fine, but no welding or running any heavy fabrication machinery.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
This group of pics shows the roof portion of the job completed. The installers did a very neat job of it, IMO. Some pics:

The panels covered a bit more than half the roof.



These are close ups of the system. As I said earlier, there are no hard fasteners. The blocks shown anchor the panels with their weight.





Individual solar panel wires converge into these black boxes, and then run through very neatly laid out conduit, which run to the DC disconnect box on the roof's edge.







Next I'll have pics of "Control Central". It's pretty cool.
 

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This group of pics shows the roof portion of the job completed. The installers did a very neat job of it, IMO. Some pics:

The panels covered a bit more than half the roof.



These are close ups of the system. As I said earlier, there are no hard fasteners. The blocks shown anchor the panels with their weight.





Individual solar panel wires converge into these black boxes, and then run through very neatly laid out conduit, which run to the DC disconnect box on the roof's edge.







Next I'll have pics of "Control Central". It's pretty cool.
Looks great! Can't wait to see the finale pics. How much weight do you think you added to the roof?
 

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Very professional looking installation for sure.
How much weight do you think you added to the roof?
Same thing I was wondering, any chance of the mounts eventually working their way through the roofing membrane?......Mike
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Very professional looking installation for sure.

Same thing I was wondering, any chance of the mounts eventually working their way through the roofing membrane?......Mike
Honestly Mike, I don't know how much the system weighs. Before you are approved for your system size, your structure is inspected to determine how much load it can bear. So, at least I know that whatever it does weigh, it shouldn't be landing in my shop :praying:

Underneath each aluminum footing is a pad to prevent roof damage.

Tomorrow I should have some pics of the DC to AC converter, power service and, brace yourself, the remote output monitor :trink39:
 

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Discussion Starter #16
It's been a while since I posted, but I thought I'd fill you in how things are working out with our solar power system. This is a picture of the converter. It takes the DC power produced by the panels and converts them into the AC used in the shop. The way I understand it, there is a loss during this process of roughly 20%. As a result the 50K system produces a max of 40K usable. Power produced during hours when my business is closed, is banked and I'm credited when they are needed. I like this better than selling to the utility, as I receive dollar for dollar value. Thus far, and bear in mind this is the worst season for production, we are saving a little over 30% on our electric bill :fing32: Very happy with the results.

The converter.....



This readout lets you see current and time based average production....

 

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Sweet! Looking forward to a long-term review of how this technology is working out. :thThumbsU
 

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You've been a busy man Ellis, no fooling around. The panels look great, they sure did a nice, neat job on the whole install! Thanks for the pictures:fing32:
 

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Loving Life :-)
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I'm dr o o o l i ng Ellis.:ROF

Nice to see a business taking hold of some of what's available. :congrats::)
 

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OK, here is one for you... That 20% loss... does that go away as heat?? If so how does the system deal with the heat? Into the room, lost outside? Is it something you need to deal with in the warmer times of the year?
 
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