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Off the grid
Off the grid
Off the grid
  • Off the grid
  • Off the grid
  • Off the grid

Off the grid

Started with a solar water heater installation - the company that installed it quoted solar panels as well, but that seemed like something we could do. We installed 14x230W panels with Enphase micro inverters on an aluminum rack system. Pretty much screw and bolt everything down with a drill, finishing off the rack with a reciprocating saw. 2 drills are handy as the feet of the rack system have to be drilled into the rafters, and a 3/8 inch lag bolt to hold it down. The most time consuming part was making sure we knew where each rafter was – turns out that 24 inch spacing cannot be guaranteed over the length of the house, or not even from an eave to the ridge. You need a master electrician for the permit - but after that expanding the system is very easy. 5 stages later we have 44 panels (mixture of 230, 345, and 250W). The entire project is documented at (https://sites.google.com/site/solarmation/). By doing the installation our return on investment will be quick, especially if you catch the incentives. The first stage Florida State offered $4/watt (not guaranteed and $1.60 was paid out), the 3rd stage (and this is more common) our utility provider offered guaranteed $2/watt, and ALL stages are eligible for %30 back on taxes. The website documented all the permitting requirements, when I started it seemed like the permit office was not really sure what was needed. There are at least 4 more installations attributed people visiting the web site. The panels supply 60%-80% of our power usage, which is good considering our car is electric (leased Volt), and we live in very hot mid Florida, not to mention we did away with all gas powered lawn tools and replaced the gas grill with electric.

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Project Information

Difficulty: Intermediate
Category: Construction, Other

also by Colin


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