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DYI Solar Installation Kits; Enphase Microinverters, SolarEdge, SMA

diy kits
enphase microinverters

PV Panel Installers Packages

Pre-engineered with the highest quality moldules and inverters. Select a system that meets your budget and application. Grid-tied, grid-interactive, or grid-connected are common terms used to describe a solar electric system that is connected directly to the local utility. Your home becomes a micro-power station during the day exporting any excess power you generate back to your local power company.

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enphase microinverter solaredge sma
Canadian 280 Watt Kitsenphase Canadian Solar 280W Kitssolaredge Canadian Solar 280W Kitssma
SolarWorld 295 Watt Kitssolarworld SolarWorld 300 Watt Kitssolarworld SolarWorld 300 Watt Kitsqcells
  QCELLS Solar 325W Kitscanadian solar    

 

What's On the Truck?

grid tieIf you click where you see a kit underlined it will open a detail page. You can then scroll down and see "What's On the Truck" which is a list of the parts we supply with the package with optional accessories below that. Optimizing kits typically requires customizing system design beyond the basic design parameters. Mounting on the roof or ground, types of attachment are individual's specific property requirements. Habits, available space, budget and aesthetics does not get more individual than that. As a result there is an absolute requirement for system flexibility beyond the basic package. There are options on the detail pages for racking (roof or ground), and attachment to accommodate nearly every application.

Additional Hardware That May Be Required

necWe supply the items on the detail pages listed "What's On The Truck". We take the PV wire to the edge of the array (Or Sub-Array) where the transition is usually made to conduit. Here are some additional items that you may need from your local hardware store. The remaining balance of system (BOS) components can be; Conduit, appropriately sized electrical wire from the array, some fasteners, sealant, grounding rod, junction box at the edge of the array where you will make the transition to conduit, an AC combiner box if you have more than one string and a AC disconnect within 10' of the main panel which may be required in some local jurisdictions. No worries on the sizing and type of wire because we specify the size and type of wire with the line drawing supplied with each kit. These items are readily available at your local hardware store. How much can you expect to spend? That depends on the size of the system and other individual site specific variances, but we consistently hear from customers for a 3kW - 5kW kit is about $250 - $300 for these locally sourced hardware components. The custom line drawing we supply with each kit is a full instructive three-line diagram of entire DC circuit, as well as AC lines to your metered service entrance.

 

Enphase Installation Kits With the S280-60-LL-2-US MicroInverter

enphase s280

Designed for high-powered, 60-cell modules, the advanced grid-ready Enphase® S280 Microinverter is built on the fifth-generation installation platform and achieves the highest efficiency for module-level power electronics along with cost per watt reduction. With its all-AC approach, the S280 simplifies design and installation for homes and business installations, and delivers optimal energy harvest. UL Certified, TUV, IEC, ETL Approved. 25 Year Panel & Inverter Warranty.

microinverter engineeredItem # Kit Size STC* Monthly kWh @ 5 Sun Hours /Day STC* # Solar Panels Price Per Watt Price before 30% Federal Tax Credit or Local Incentives.
2240W Kit (280W Panel) EECS-2240  2.2 kW   336 kWh   8 - 280W  $1.52 
2800W Kit (280W Panel) EECS-2800  2.8 kW   420 kWh   10 - 280W  $1.48 
3360W Kit (280W Panel) EECS-3360  3.4 kW   504 kWh   12 - 280W  $1.46 
3920W Kit (280W Panel) EECS-3920  3.9 kW   588 kWh   14 - 280W  $1.44 
4200W Kit (280W Panel) EECS-4200  4.2 kW   630 kWh   15 - 280W  $1.43 
4480W Kit (280W Panel) EECS-4480  4.5 kW   672 kWh   16 - 280W  $1.40 
5040W Kit (280W Panel) EECS-5040  5.0 kW   756 kWh   18 - 280W  $1.38 
5600W Kit (280W Panel) EECS-5600  5.6 kW   840 kWh   20 - 280W  $1.37 
6160W Kit (280W Panel) EECS-6160  6.2 kW   924 kWh   22 - 280W  $1.36 
6720W Kit (280W Panel) EECS-6720  6.7 kW   1,008 kWh   24 - 280W  $1.35 
7280W Kit (280W Panel) EECS-7280  7.3 kW   1,092 kWh   26 - 280W  $1.33 
7840W Kit (280W Panel) EECS-7840  7.8 kW   1,176 kWh   28 - 280W  $1.33 
8400W Kit (280W Panel) EECS-8400  8.4 kW   1,260 kWh   30- 280W  $1.32 
8960W Kit (280W Panel) EECS-8960  9.0 kW   1,344 kWh   32 - 280W  $1.32 
9520W Kit (280W Panel) EECS-9520  9.5 kW   1,428 kWh   34 - 280W  $1.31 
10080W Kit (280W Panel) EECS-10080  10.1 kW   1,512 kWh   36 - 280W  $1.30 
10640W Kit (280W Panel) EECS-10640  10.6 kW   1,596 kWh   38 - 280W  $1.30 
11200W Kit (280W Panel) EECS-11200  11.2 kW   1,680 kWh   40 - 280W  $1.30 
14000W Kit (280W Panel) EECS-14000  14.0 kW   2,100 kWh   50 - 280W  $1.29 

 

micro-inverter solarworld Item # Kit Size STC* Monthly kWh @ 5 Sun Hours /Day STC* # Solar Panels Price Per Watt Price before 30% Federal Tax Credit or Local Incentives.
2360W Kit (295W Panel) EESW-2360  2.4 kW   354 kWh   8 - 295W  $1.60 
2950W Kit (295W Panel) EESW-2950  3.0 kW   443 kWh   10 - 295W  $1.57 
3540W Kit (295W Panel) EESW-3540  3.5 kW   531 kWh   12 - 295W  $1.55 
4130W Kit (295W Panel) EESW-4130  4.1 kW   620 kWh   14 - 295W  $1.54 
4720W Kit (295W Panel) EESW-4720  4.7 kW   708 kWh   16 - 295W  $1.53 
5310W Kit (295W Panel) EESW-5310  5.3 kW   797 kWh   18 - 295W  $1.53 
5900W Kit (295W Panel) EESW-5900  5.9 kW   885 kWh   20 - 295W  $1.52 
6490W Kit (295W Panel) EESW-6490  6.5 kW   974 kWh   22 - 295W  $1.52 
7080W Kit (295W Panel) EESW-7080  7.1 kW   1,062 kWh   24 - 295W  $1.51 
7670W Kit (295W Panel) EESW-7670  7.7 kW   1,151 kWh   26 - 295W  $1.51 
8260W Kit (295W Panel) EESW-8260  8.3 kW   1,239 kWh   28 - 295W  $1.51 
8850W Kit (295W Panel) EESW-8850  8.9 kW   1,328 kWh   30 - 295W  $1.50 
9440W Kit (295W Panel) EESW-9440  9.4 kW   1,416 kWh   32 - 295W  $1.50 
10030W Kit (295W Panel) EESW-10030  10.0 kW   1,505 kWh   34 - 295W  $1.50 
10620W Kit (295W Panel) EESW-10620  10.6 kW   1,593 kWh   36 - 295W  $1.50 
11210W Kit (295W Panel) EESW-11210  11.2 kW   1,682 kWh   38 - 295W  $1.50 
11800W Kit (295W Panel) EESW-11800  11.8 kW   1,770 kWh   40 - 295W  $1.50 
14750W Kit (295W Panel) EESW-14750  14.8 kW   2,213 kWh   50 - 295W  $1.49 

 

grid interactiveIf you do not see a standard pre-engineered kit that meets your needs we will custom design one for you. Simply fill out the "Contact Us" form (Top RH Tab), and tell us a little about the size system you are looking for.

 

What is Not Included With the Kits?

ground wireIf you click on the detail page of any of the kits listed here then scroll down the page until you see "What's On the Truck", you will see a list of the main parts we supply. Normally we take the wire to the edge of the array where the transition is usually made to conduit. Here are some additional items that your may need from your local hardware store. The remaining balance of system (BOS) components can be; conduit, ground wire, wire inside the conduit, some minor fasteners and sealants and combiner box (sometimes referred to as "J" box or junction box) which used to combine multiple strings into a single pair of wires. These items are readily available at your local hardware store. How much can you expect to spend? That depends, but the size of the system we consistently hear from customers for a 3kW - 5kW kit is about $250 - $300 for BOS components.

 

SolarEdge Grid-Tie Packages; Residential Solutions

solaredge inverter

SolarEdge provides an end-to-end distributed solar power harvesting and monitoring solution, maximizing the power generation of residential system installations by up to 25% for a faster return on investment. Homeowners enjoy the benefits of SolarEdge solutions which allow maximum energy by design by optimal roof utilization through constraint free design, panel-level MPPT, and enhanced maintenance and accurate troubleshooting through panel-level monitoring. Founded in 2006, SolarEdge established the DC power optimizer segment and is leading it with over 70% market share with over 10,000,000 power optimizers shipped to more than 40 countries worldwide. Manufactured in Israel & Canada; UL Certified, TUV, IEC, ETL Approved. 25 Year Panel & Power Optimizer Warranty.

utility solarworldItem # Kit Size STC* Monthly kWh @ 5 Sun Hours /Day STC* # Solar Panels Price Per Watt Price before 30% Federal Tax Credit or Local Incentives.
2800W Kit (280W Panel) SECSM-2800  2.8 kW   450 kWh   10 - 280W  $1.51 
3360W Kit (280W Panel) SECSM-3360  3.4 kW   676 kWh   12 - 280W  $1.40 
3920W Kit (280W Panel) SECSM-3920  3.9 kW   630 kWh   14 - 280W  $1.34 
4480W Kit (280W Panel) SECSM-4480  4.5 kW   720 kWh   16 - 280W  $1.28 
5040W Kit (280W Panel) SECSM-5040  5.0 kW   810 kWh   18 - 280W  $1.25 
5600W Kit (280W Panel) SECSM-5600  5.6 kW   900 kWh   20 - 280W  $1.21 
6160W Kit (280W Panel) SECSM-6160  6.2 kW   990 kWh   22 - 280W  $1.19 
6720W Kit (280W Panel) SECSM-6720  6.7 kW   1,080 kWh   24 - 280W  $1.16 
7280W Kit (280W Panel) SECSM-7280  7.3 kW   1,170 kWh   26 - 280W  $1.18 
7840W Kit (280W Panel) SECSM-7840  7.8 kW   1,260 kWh   28 - 280W  $1.16 
8400W Kit (280W Panel) SECSM-8400  8.4 kW   1,350 kWh   30 - 280W  $1.14 
8960W Kit (280W Panel) SECSM-8960  9.0 kW   1,440 kWh   32 - 280W  $1.12 
9520W Kit (280W Panel) SECSM-9520  9.5 kW   1,530 kWh   34 - 280W  $1.15 
10080W Kit (280W Panel) SECSM-10080  10.0 kW   1,620 kWh   36 - 280W  $1.14 
10640W Kit (280W Panel) SECSM-10640  10.6 kW   1,710 kWh   28 - 280W  $1.12 
11760W Kit (280W Panel) SECSM-11760  11.8 kW   1,890 kWh   42 - 280W  $1.10 
12320W Kit (280W Panel) SECSM-12320  12.3 kW   1,980 kWh   44 - 280W  $1.10 
15120W Kit (280W Panel) SECSM-15120  15.1 kW   2,430 kWh   54 - 280W  $1.13 

 

solaredge solarworld Item # Kit Size STC* Monthly kWh @ 5 Sun Hours /Day STC* # Solar Panels Price Per Watt Price before 30% Federal Tax Credit or Local Incentives.
3000W Kit (300W Panel) SESW-3000  3.0 kW   450 kWh   10 - 300W  $1.72 
3600W Kit (300W Panel) SESW-3600  3.6 kW   540 kWh   12 - 300W  $1.63 
4200W Kit (300W Panel) SESW-4200  4.2 kW   630 kWh   14 - 300W  $1.57 
4800W Kit (300W Panel) SESW-4800  4.8 kW   720 kWh   16 - 300W  $1.54 
5400W Kit (300W Panel) SESW-5400  5.4 kW   810 kWh   18 - 300W  $1.50 
6000W Kit (300W Panel) SESW-6000  6.0 kW   900 kWh   20 - 300W  $1.47 
6600W Kit (300W Panel) SESW-6600  6.6 kW   990 kWh   22 - 300W  $1.45 
7200W Kit (300W Panel) SESW-7200  7.2 kW   1,080 kWh   24 - 300W  $1.43 
7800W Kit (300W Panel) SESW-7800  7.8 kW   1,170 kWh   26 - 300W  $1.44 
8400W Kit (300W Panel) SESW-8400  8.4 kW   1,260 kWh   28 - 300W  $1.42 
9000W Kit (300W Panel) SESW-9000  9.0 kW   1,350 kWh   30 - 300W  $1.41 
9600W Kit (300W Panel) SESW-9600  9.6 kW   1,440 kWh   32 - 300W  $1.44 
10200W Kit (300W Panel) SESW-10200  10.2kW   1,530 kWh   34 - 300W  $1.42 
10800W Kit (300W Panel) SESW-10800  10.8 kW   1,620 kWh   36 - 300W  $1.41 
11400W Kit (300W Panel) SESW-11400  11.4 kW   1,710 kWh   38 - 300W  $1.40 
12000W Kit (300W Panel) SESW-12000  12.0 kW   1,800 kWh   40 - 300W  $1.39 
15000W Kit (300W Panel) SESW-15000  15.0 kW   2,250 kWh   50 - 300W  $1.42 

 

grid-tied pre-engineeredItem # Kit Size STC* Monthly kWh @ 5 Sun Hours /Day STC* # Solar Panels Price Per Watt Price before 30% Federal Tax Credit or Local Incentives.
3250W Kit (325W Panel) SEQC-3250  3.3 kW   488 kWh   10 - 325W  $1.57 
3900W Kit (325W Panel) SEQC-3900  3.9 kW   585 kWh   12 - 325W  $1.45 
4550W Kit (325W Panel) SEQC-4550  4.6 kW   683 kWh   14 - 325W  $1.38 
5200W Kit (325W Panel) SEQC-5200  5.2 kW   780 kWh   16 - 325W  $1.34 
5850W Kit (325W Panel) SEQC-5850  5.9 kW   878 kWh   18 - 325W  $1.29 
6500W Kit (325W Panel) SEQC-6500  6.5 kW   975 kWh   20 - 325W  $1.26 
7150W Kit (325W Panel) SEQC-7150  7.2 kW   1,073 kWh   22 - 325W  $1.23 
7800W Kit (325W Panel) SEQC-7800  7.8 kW   1,170 kWh   24 - 325W  $1.24 
8450W Kit (325W Panel) SEQC-8450  8.5 kW   1,268 kWh   26 - 325W  $1.22 
9100W Kit (325W Panel) SEQC-9100  9.1 kW   1,365 kWh   28 - 325W  $1.20 
9750W Kit (325W Panel) SEQC-9750  9.8 kW   1,463 kWh   30 - 325W  $1.22 
10400W Kit (325W Panel) SEQC-10400  10.4 kW   1,560 kWh   32 - 325W  $1.20 
11050W Kit (325W Panel) SEQC-11050  11.1 kW   1,658 kWh   34 - 325W  $1.18 
11700W Kit (325W Panel) SEQC-11700  11.7 kW   1,755 kWh   36 - 325W  $1.17 
12350W Kit (325W Panel) SEQC-12350  12.4 kW   1,853 kWh   38 - 325W  $1.17 
13650W Kit (325W Panel) SEQC-13650  13.6 kW   2,048 kWh   42 - 325W  $1.14 
14950W Kit (325W Panel) SEQC-14950  15.0 kW   2,240 kWh   46 - 325W  $1.16 

 

SolarEdge Commercial Solar 3 Phase Systems
Blue Pacific Solar® Commercial Solutions; SolarEdge's power optimizers and three-phase inverters are specifically designed to help commercial project owners maximize system yields. By performing maximum power point tracking at the module level, SolarEdge power optimizers condition the power from each solar panel to eliminate losses from mismatches and improve energy harvest.
grid-tied engineeredItem # Kit Size STC* Monthly kWh @ 5 Sun Hours /Day STC* # Solar Panels Price Per Watt Price before 30% Federal Tax Credit or Local Incentives.
273.7 kWh Kit (325W Panel) SECQC-273.7kW  273.7 kW   41,048   842 - 325W  $0.93 

 

solar white paper

Even a Small Amount of Shade is a Bad Thing.

tech notesWhen a solar panel is even slightly shaded, it is severely impacted. For example, the module shown to the right has 2% of its cell area shaded. The power output of the panel is reduced by 33%, a 17:1 impact factor! This is true even if a microinverter or power-optimizer is used. Squeeze every watt of power out of your solar system. Look out for even small shade factors like overhead power lines or vent pipes in roofs.

 

ac power

Myth Vs. Fact. Solar Does Not Work On Cloudy Days.

Myth - Solar creates electricity from visible light. Did you ever get sunburn on a cloudy day? Cloud cover reduces the power of a module by a third or less than it's sunny day output. Even in the fog in San Francisco, solar panels will produce up to 70% of their rated power. Solar performs well in all climates, latitudes and altitudes.

 

 

SMA Sunny Boy TL-US Series Grid-Tie Kits with Secure Power Supply

fronius 

 

SMA America has expanded its line of Sunny Boy batteryless inverters. The technical support team at Blue Pacific Solar could not wait to put together some simple kits with this new technology matched with world class Trina Solar panels. The inverters include a “secure power supply” dedicated AC outlet, delivering up to 1,500 watts in daylight during a grid outage, without needing a backup battery bank. Features include an extended operating temperature range (-40°F to 140°F), which is helpful for systems requiring outdoor inverter mounting, and two maximum power point (MPP) trackers for combining arrays mounted in two different orientations. With a DC input operating range from 125 to 600 V, these inverters offer a wider input voltage range than their predecessors. An integrated arc-fault circuit interrupter (AFCI) meets the 2011 National Electrical Code section 690.11. UL Certified, TUV, IEC, ETL Approved. 25 Year Panel Warranty / 10 Year Inverter Warranty Standard, 20 Year Available.

sma canadian solar engineeredItem # Kit Size STC* Monthly kWh @ 5 Sun Hours /Day STC* # Solar Panels Price Per Watt Price before 30% Federal Tax Credit or Local Incentives.
3360W Kit (280W Panel) SMACS-3360  3.4 kW   504 kWh   12 - 280W  $1.22 
3920W Kit (280W Panel) SMACS-3920  3.9 kW   588 kWh   14 - 280W  $1.15 
4480W Kit (280W Panel) SMACS-4480  4.5 kW   672 kWh   16 - 280W  $1.09 
5040W Kit (280W Panel) SMACS-5040  5.0 kW   756 kWh   18 - 280W  $1.06 
5600W Kit (280W Panel) SMACS-5600  5.6 kW   840 kWh   20 - 280W  $1.02 
6160W Kit (280W Panel) SMACS-6160  6.2 kW   924 kWh   22 - 280W  $0.99 
6720W Kit (280W Panel) SMACS-6720  6.7 kW   1,008 kWh   24 - 280W  $0.98 
7280W Kit (280W Panel) SMACS-7280  7.3 kW   1,092 kWh   26 - 280W  $0.96 
7840W Kit (280W Panel) SMACS-7840  7.8 kW   1,176 kWh   28 - 280W  $0.97 
8400W Kit (280W Panel) SMACS-8400  8.4 kW   1,260 kWh   30 - 280W  $0.94 
8960W Kit (280W Panel) SMACS-8960  9.0 kW   1,344 kWh   32 - 280W  $0.94 
14000W Kit (280W Panel) SMACS-14000  14.0 kW   2,100 kWh   50 - 280W  $0.93 

 

sma solarworld engineeredItem # Kit Size STC* Monthly kWh @ 5 Sun Hours /Day STC* # Solar Panels Price Per Watt Price before 30% Federal Tax Credit or Local Incentives.
3000W Kit (300W Panel) SMASW-3000  3.0 kW   450 kWh   10 - 300W  $1.65 
3600W Kit (300W Panel) SMASW-3600  3.6 kW   540 kWh   12 - 300W  $1.54 
4200W Kit (300W Panel) SMASW-4200  4.2 kW   630 kWh   14 - 300W  $1.48 
4800W Kit (300W Panel) SMASW-4800  4.8 kW   720 kWh   16 - 300W  $1.42 
5400W Kit (300W Panel) SMASW-5400  5.4 kW   810 kWh   18 - 300W  $1.39 
6000W Kit (300W Panel) SMASW-6000  6.0 kW   900 kWh   20 - 300W  $1.36 
6600W Kit (300W Panel) SMASW-6600  6.6 kW   990 kWh   22 - 300W  $1.34 
7200W Kit (300W Panel) SMASW-7200  7.2 kW   1,080 kWh   24 - 300W  $1.32 
7800W Kit (300W Panel) SMASW-7800  7.8 kW   1,170 kWh   26 - 300W  $1.32 
8400W Kit (300W Panel) SMASW-8400  8.4 kW   1,260 kWh   28 - 300W  $1.30 
9000W Kit (300W Panel) SMASW-9000  9.0 kW   1,350 kWh   30 - 300W  $1.30 
9600W Kit (300W Panel) SMASW-9600  9.6 kW   1,440 kWh   32 - 300W  $1.39 
10200W Kit (300W Panel) SMASW-10200  10.2 kW   1,530 kWh   34 - 300W  $1.37 
15000W Kit (300W Panel) SMASW-15000  15.0 kW   2,250 kWh   50 - 300W  $1.31 

 

SMA Sunny Tripower; 3 Phase Commercial Solar Kits
These SMA three-phase, transformerless inverter kits are designed with UL-certified equipment. Blue Pacific Solar® can custom engineer a solar system for your commercial property. SMA Sunny Tripower TL-US inverters are designed specifically to meet American requirements for mid to large-scale solar systems.
m215 engineeredItem # Kit Size STC* Monthly kWh @ 5 Sun Hours /Day STC* # Solar Panels Price Per Watt Price before 30% Federal Tax Credit or Local Incentives.
18,300W Kit (305W Panel) SMASTPTL-18300  18.3 kW   2,928   64 - 305W  $1.37 

 

photovoltaicsTIP; If you want to have power from your grid-tied solar system when the grid goes down, you will need a AC coupled battery backup. The IEEE-1547 standard requires that utility interactive inverters cease to export power if the voltage measured at the Point of Common Coupling (PCC) exceeds +10% or -12% of nominal. What that means is if your inverter does not detect the grid voltage, it will stop producing electricity (it will go dead) until your local utility comes back on. There is a way around that, you can ensure uninterrupted home power by adding a AC coupled battery backup system and you can keep your appliances, lights and other essential loads running during a utility blackout.

 

ac electricity

What's the difference between watts and watt hours?

Watt and watt hours are often interchanged, misused and can be just plain confusing. Energy is the measure of power over time. A watt (W) is a measurement of power which is the rate of electricity that is being generated or consumed. A watt hour (wh) is the same energy over a period of time. A light bulb rated at 20 watts, in 1 hour it will consume 20 wh of energy, and in 5 hours the same light bulb will consume 100 wh of energy. 1 watt hour (wh) = 1 watt of power supplied for 1 hour. Think of watts (w) as the speed you’re running and watt-hours (wh) as the distance you ran. Ok professor, need to go deeper? One joule per second is a measurement of the rate of power flowing. 1 watt is a unit of energy equal to the power of one watt operating for one hour or 3,600 joule's.

 

grid tied

*STC - To learn more about solar panels and how they are measured you need to know what STC stands for. STC in an acronym for "Standard Test Conditions". All solar panels are rated in Watts. The watt rating is how much power (amps times volts) the panel will produce in full sunlight at 25 degrees C (77F). This is the industry standard (STC) for all PV panel ratings (PV means Photovoltaics which is a fancy word for solar). Solar panel manufactures have long used this test standard which is 1,000 watts per square meter solar irradiance, 1.5 Air Mass and a 25 degrees C. cell temperature.

PTC is an acronym for "PV-USA". The PV-USA test conditions were developed at the PV USA test site at the University of Davis, California for standards established by the California Energy Commission that are considered closer to real world conditions (Real World Vs. STC factory test conditions). The PTC rating test is 1,000 watts per square meter solar irradiance, 1.5 Air Mass, and 20 degrees C. ambient temperature at 10 meters above ground level and wind speed of 1 meter per second. In California, solar panels manufactures must be tested and rated independently at the PV USA test facility at the University of Davis (CA) to be considered for rebates.

The ambient temperature rating (PTC) is generally considered a better real world standard than factory conditions because silicon solar cells average about 20 degrees C. above ambient temperature in the real world, cell voltage drops as temperature increases. A module's power output in real life conditions is lower than the power measured at the panel manufacturing factory where cell temperature is maintained at a controlled 77 degrees F. (25 C).

STC Vs. PTC Cell voltage drops about 0.08 volts per degree C. in environments which exceed 25 degrees C. That means an STC rating of 17 volts can actually become a PTC (PV-USA) rating of 15 or 16 volts. Using Ohm's Law, volts times amps is equal to watts which equals power, so a reduced voltage, means reduced watts.

Neither PTC nor STC account for all "real-world" losses. Actual solar systems will produce lower outputs due to soiling, shading, module mismatch, wire losses, inverter and transformer losses, shortfalls in actual nameplate ratings, panel degradation over time, and high-temperature losses for arrays mounted close to or integrated within a roofline.

grid tie

 

dc wireIt is cheaper to save energy than make energy. One of the first places to start is saving energy in your home. Make sure that your home is highly energy-efficient to lower the cost of the available electricity from your power company before you look at solar. You should first find ways to reduce the consumption with minor tweaks like proper insulation of windows and doors and energy efficient lighting.

 

grid interactiveUtility Grid-Tie Kit Design; It All Starts With Your Utility Bills

home solarTo begin the process of sizing your solar system you first need to pull your most recent 12 months utility bills and record the kWh from each month. Then take the total of the 12 months kWh then ÷ by 365 to get your daily average usage. This number is critical to begin the process for a grid-tie system. Don't have 12 months worth of history? Then average what you do have or if you are moving into a different house use the bills from your current home to get an idea of your energy usage.

You can usually find the kWh near the top of the first page of you utility bills. An alternative method would be to go on line and down load the information or call your local utility company to find out your most recent 12 months total.

One thing to note is that at some locations around the country you are charged extra for using electricity during a specific time of the day, usually in the afternoon hours of the summertime. It may be important to understand that peak period of higher charges because that information may help you down the road when you decide on your budget for your project and how best to maximize your return on investment. A smaller solar kit positioned to harvest and create the most energy during these peak tier rate times may be where you want to start.

electricitySolar Insolation / Average Available “Sun-Hours Per Day”

We talk to hundreds of people a day across the country and often the first thing we hear when we say we need to see how much sun is available in their area is "we have lots of sun so that should not be a problem". The fact is that when sizing a kit, it is not how much sun you have, it is how much sun strikes the earth in your zip code which can sometimes surprise customers. Little considered factors such an high humidity and elevation can play a key role. Example; most of Texas and Florida have latitudes that are farther south than Arizona but average sunhours have less "sun-hours per day" because Texas and Florida have higher humidity levels and more cloud cover.

The 2nd step in the design process is to look and see what the average amount of solar irradiance is available near your area from our resource map. Find the nearest city to your home and write down the average "sun-hours per day".

pvGet Down To It; Basic Grid-tie Formula; ≈ Number of Panels Needed

Average Daily kWh X 1,000 (Change to Watts) ÷ Average "Sun Hours" ÷ 250 watt panel = ≈ Number Solar Panels Required.

Divide your daily average electricity use by average sun hours per day. For example, if the daily average electricity use is 30 kWh, and the site is in Davis, CA, the solar kit size would be: 30 kWh / 5 sun hours = 6 kW AC. (Multiply kWh by 1000 to get AC watts.) That total will give you the approximate size solar kit you need to offset your utility bill.

The next step is to consider a 250 watt, 270 watt or 300 watt panel. Once you have a pretty good idea on the number of panels you will need you can go back to the solar kit main page and consider the cost of the kit compared to the budget you have in mind for your project. 250 watt kits are very popular and work well for most applications.

System watts ÷ 250, 270 or 300 watt panel = ≈ Number Solar Panels Required

The basic grid-tie formula above will tell you about how many panels you need to offset about 85% - 90% of your power. If you want to drill it down even closer do this; Increase the amount of watts you calculated by 20%. The 20% derate factor is a good rule of thumb to account for inverter inefficiency, real world solar panel output (Vs. Factory Name Plate Rating), wire transfer loss, panel mismatch and soiling. (Means dust and dirt accumulation on the face of the solar panel.) Now divide the system AC watts by the solar panels name plate watt rating. (Round this number up) Factors, such as high or low temperature, shading, array orientation, roof pitch and dirt on the modules, can affect the solar system’s actual output. EXAMPLE; 30 kWh per day average use X 1,000 X 20% = 36,000 watts / 5 sun hours = 7,200 watt system / 250 watt solar panel = 29 panels required. In this example, the 7500 watt solar kit may be a good choice assuming all the other factors listed below have been considered.

wire guageYou want to go bigger than your last 12 month kWh consumption history? Utility companies are in the business of selling power not buying power. Most local utility companies will allow you to go 10% higher than your last 12 month average with justification, but don't let someone talk you into buying more solar than you need. Even if you are allowed to do it, you will eliminate the best return on investment. Hawaii is one state that in some areas is the exception to that rule.

electricityBest Place to Locate Your Array; Key Considerationsgrid interactive

Mounting your system on the roof, ground or top of a pole; budget, roof dimensions, ground space or setbacks, shading and other site-specific factors call for careful consideration in your design. Compare the sizing results from your calculations in steps 1, 2 and 3 with the location and amount of space available to mount the solar array in order to get a rough idea of the maximum of panels. If you are planning to mount your array on a roof, decide which module best fits into the available roof space, taking into consideration obstructions such as chimneys, plumbing vents and skylights. Many local building codes will not allow a solar system to extend beyond the perimeter of the outside of the house footprint. (You may not be able to utilize your roof overhang or eaves.) A good place to start is to check with your local building department to see what their setback rules are for either a roof or ground mount array.

  • How many panels will fit? Rule of thumb; ≈ 100 sq. feet of area per 1kW of solar.
  • Check out areas available to install your PV kit. A few things to consider; array dimensions, orientation, tilt and obstructions. Panels ideally should be mounted facing true south, but that rarely is the case. It does not matter if you point your panels east, south or west as long as you have at least 6 hours of sun centered around sometime near mid day. (IE: 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM, 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM)
  • Shading of array location. No well-planned installation should have a shading problem around noon. Heavily or regularly shaded panels (even when operated with a micro inverter) are NOT worth the investment! Avoid shading as much as possible. You will want to consider potential shading from trees, buildings, power lines, telephone poles, and obstructions like chimneys and vent pipes.
  • ac powerTIP; Avoid Vent Pipe Shading. Keep solar panels away from objects protruding from your roof by 3X the objects height.
  • grid tiedMaximum efficiency vs. maximum energy. Fixed arrays tilted to the angle of your locations latitude will generate the highest year round efficiency. However, largely because of aesthetics, most people would choose flush mount arrays slightly raised off of pitched roofs for the majority of home installations. Raising the panels off the roof about 4 - 6" will allow for ventilation behind the panels. Solar cells produce less electricity as they heat up.
  • Top-of-pole mount kits are sometimes great option when you have the ground space and additional budget because you can usually orient the panels facing true south and adjust the tilt several times a year to achieve a maximum solar energy harvest.
  • Roof type and age. If you plan on re-roofing within 5 years but are not ready yet, some homeowners will replace only the shingles located under the solar array when the panels are installed and leave the rest for later.
  • Inverter Location. Solar cells are activated by visible light not ultra-violet or infra-red. Solar panels produce electricity when exposed to sun light, but plan to keep your inverter (s) in the shade. Inverters work better when located in shaded well ventilated areas. For grid-tie inverters we sell, they can be mounted outdoors or indoors. But either location your choose, shaded well ventilated areas are best.

photovoltaics TIP; Mount your solar panels with at least a 7 degree tilt to avoid "Mud Shading". That's when dirty water washed off the solar panels accumulates across the bottom cells of the panel dammed by the panel frame. When the water dries, the dirt or mud builds up across the bottom which can shade the entire row of lower solar cells on each solar panel.

utility interconnectIn most areas of the country you will be required to enter into a "interconnect agreement" with your local utility company. This is a simple form that lets them know you will be producing some of your electricity at your location and the equpment you are proposing is UL listed and approved. Just go to your local utility website to download the document or call your local utility customer service line and have them send one to you.

 

electricityElectrical Distribution; Making the Grid Connection

How Electricity Flows

Wire carries electricity in much the same way as a garden hose carries water. When you turn on a breaker, a electron flows in one direction and knocks another electron which knocks another one until eventually an electron comes out the other end. Voltage is the electrical pressure behind the flow of current or electrons. Current, which is measured in amps, is the measure of quantity of electrons flowing through a wire. The higher the voltage the more current the source can produce. Watts are the measure of power. Volts X Amps = Watts.

Current can be increased by increasing the voltage or by lowering the resistance (IE: Size of Wire or Conductor).

Resistance is the inherent physical opposite to current flow. A good analogy would be to think of it as a dam holding back water. Resistance is created by electrons refusing to be stripped of their atoms and bumped or sent down the wire. The higher the resistance in the wire, the less current will flow. The only way to overcome that resistance, is to increase the pressure (volts) or decrease the resistance (Larger Wire).

Blade AC Disconnect

National Electrical Code (NEC) 690.64 does not specifically require an AC disconnect however, many if not most utility companies like to have a lockable blade disconnect to protect line workers and fire department officials. An AC disconnect is more likely to be required if the inverter is not close to the main service panel. If an AC disconnect is required, is should not need to be fused unless it is the primary disconnect for the line side connection.

breaker box

Main Service Panel

Arrh... power baby, make that meter turn backwards! This is where it all comes together. Your homes main service panel is the heart of your electrical system and how we connect the solar system to this panel using what option is the key to everything we have done so far in the design planning.

Solar Connections Types

Load side connection occurs on the load side of the Main Service Disconnect Breakers via a breaker on the Main Service Panel Busbar. Line side connection occurs between the Utility Meter the Main Service Disconnect Breaker.

Here is why that is important to understand the difference. Before we can go any further in the final connection or exactly where we are going to connect we need to know one rule that we call a biggie in the solar industry. National Electrical Code (NEC) Section 690.64 says that the sum of the rated current for the solar breaker and main breaker amp rating cannot exceed 120% of the bus bar’s rating of the Main Service Panel Busbar Rating

Example: The main service entrance (MSE) breaker box is listed as a 200A bus/200A Main breaker. That means if you have a 200 amp main service panel which is rated for a with a 200 amp buss bar, NEC will only allow a 20% back feed breaker to be added to a 200 amp panel or 40 amp solar breaker. If the size of your system requires a 60A OCPD, this exceeds the maximum allowable backfed current for a load side connection for the given MSE specifications (max. allowable for this service entrance = 40A). To go above that 40 amp back feed solar breaker there are several alternative

One alternative to consider without having to replace your main breaker panel would be to decrease the size of the main buss bar. By lowering a 200 amp main breaker to 150 amps may bring your in compliance if you have to go to a 60 amp backfeed breaker for your solar system. However, before you do that a careful study by a licensed electrician should be conducted to make sure you will not stress the breaker with your existing loads.

grid connectedOn a grid-tie solar system when the utility goes down, the solar system will also go down. What many homeowners fail to realize when they purchase a standard grid tied system is when the grid goes down, so does the power being produced by the solar panels. Why? The IEEE-1547 standard requires that grid-tie inverters cease to export power (Means your meter spinning backwards) if the voltage measured at the Point of Common Coupling (PCC) (That mean your homes electric service meter) exceeds +10% or -12% of nominal. If that were not the case, there could be a utility worker in front of your home who thinks the electricity is off and become injured.

Line Side Connection

Another alternative is to consider a line side connection. A line side connection or supply-side connections means the connection between the utility company meter and your main breaker box. If you have no room in your existing service panel to add your solar system, see if the number of breakers in your main breaker box can be reduced or consider upgrading the service panel. A line side connection requires a fused blade AC disconnect. If that is required and the solar kit you select states that we will supply the AC disconnect, we will provide the upgrade to a fused AC 60 amp disconnect at no additional cost to you.

nec code

SAFETY WARNING: Danger to life due to high voltages. Risk of death or serious injury due to electric shock. Always employ the services of a licensed local electrician or other properly trained and qualified persons to complete any of these final connection options.

Personal Solar Consultant & Line Drawing; We Have Your Back

You should not be overly concerned with how or what type of final connection, wire and breaker size because we do the heavy lifting for you. When you make a purchase over $1,000 for a kit, your order gets assigned to your own personal Solar Consultant. Our System Integrators provide polished technical advice on the design and execution of all types of installations. This single point of contact, who is already familiar with your project, is your free life line to answer your questions and help walk you through any obstacles you might incur during the process.

Line Drawing

Included with your grid tie package is a full "Instructive Three-Line Diagram of Entire DC Circuit, as Well as AC Lines to Your Metered Service Entrance". When you buy a grid-tie kit from Blue Pacific Solar, we supply a custom electrical line drawing that shows you exactly how to connect everything. We will specify on our drawing what size and type of wire and breaker you will need to be NEC code compliant. The line drawing can be used for your interconnect agreement application with your local utility company and for your permit with the local authority having jurisdiction commonly referred to as AHJ (Building Department). If you need help with your full permit documents for your local AHJ anywhere in the country, our permit document service is available to help take the hassle out of your solar purchase.

line drawing

DC Wire In Attic Spaces

dc wireWe often get asked about running wiring in the attics and if it has to be in conduit. With NEC 2011 (National Electric Code), this just got easier. While the industry has rightly focused on 690.11 Arc Fault Circuit Protection, there was a lesser known change regarding running DC wiring inside the building. Section 690.31(E) changed the requirements for running DC inside of a building to enable the use of Metal-clad cable for DC solar source or output circuits. The Metal clad cable needs to comply with 250.118(10) but will enable customers installing wiring an easier alternative to bending conduit in tight spaces.

 

 

Solar Kits; grid-tie energy DIY Panel System Cost for residential and light commercial

Solar Kits with Enphase Microinverters, SolarEdge power optimizers or SMA DIY Panel Installation Kits; grid tie solar energy packages are usually a combination of solar modules, inverters, ground or roof racks and wires. Though simplified in that explanation, most homeowners with a fundamental grasp of home repair can usually tackle the installation of a system right up to the utility connection if the right support is available. (To connect to the utility, we recommend you hire a licensed electrical for that part of the installation.)

Solar cells, also known as photovoltaic (PV) cells, capture energy from the sun and turn it into electrical current. Solar energy is clean, renewable, free and always available. This makes it a popular option for home use installing either the Enphase microinverter, SMA or SolarEdge kits. Solar cells are assembled into modules. The modules are formed into arrays that connect the sun-created electricity both to homes and to power grids. Residential solar arrays consist of solar cells, inverters, wiring, electrical panels and protection mechanisms.

Solar Array Electricity Flow

Electricity from the solar array flows through the conduit to the direct current disconnect. From the DC disconnect, it flows through the grounded inverter to the alternating current disconnect. Then, the AC current travels either to the home's electrical panel or to the utility disconnect. From the utility disconnect, the electricity enters the grounded utility service entrance and main load center.

Solar Cell Types

Solar cells generate electricity through the use of silicon semiconductors. Solar cells come in three types: single-crystalline, multi-crystalline and thin film cells. Single-crystalline cells are also referred to as mono-crystalline cells. These are the most efficient kind of photovoltaic cell. They only use one silicon wafer to generate electricity. Multi-crystalline cells, another type of photovoltaic cell, are also very efficient. They use a block formed of many small crystals to create current. They are also called poly-crystalline cells. Thin film cells, or amorphous cells, use a thin semiconductor film attached to glass or plastic. Thin film cells are cheaper, but less efficient, than mono- and multi-crystalline PV cells.

Inverters Used In Kits

Solar cells generate direct current (DC). DC flows in one direction. Enphase microinverters or SMA SolarEdge inverters turn the direct current into alternating current by mimicking the current's wave and rate. Most domestic appliances require AC current. The inverter sends the alternating current to the house or to the power grid, as needed. Inverters are placed near the structure's main electrical panel.

Wiring and Electrical Panels

PV array components are connected with wiring, which must be able to accommodate the strength (the amperage) of the electrical current. Voltage, wire type and temperature determine what size wire should be used. Wires made from copper are great conductors. This makes copper wiring a great choice for solar arrays. PV array wires should be insulated and protected against the elements. Wires can be protected with insulating material and conduit. A circuit breaker transfers electricity from the inverter to the home's electrical panel. The size of the electrical panel determines how much power it can accommodate.

Component Protection Devices

Overly strong electrical currents, electrical interference, lighting strikes and power surges can mean harmful, and even deadly, consequences for residents, service employees, first responders, homes and appliances. Over-current protection, disconnects, and grounding devices help manage electrical loads to keep homes and residents safe.

Over-current protectors safeguard wires from current too strong for the wires to carry. Circuit breakers and fuses help prevent fires caused by hot wires. Disconnects allow a home's power to be easily and quickly shut off in the case of emergency. Disconnects helps emergency responders enter a residence without risk of electrocution or fire. At least one disconnect is needed for every home. Electricity travels through the disconnect before it enters the home. In homes with Enphase, SolarEdge or SMA PV arrays, a disconnect must also be placed between the inverter and the arrays.

All solar array systems must be grounded. Grounding helps to mitigate the effects of lighting strikes and power surges. Grounding also lessens the risk of electrocution and fire. Grounding is important for both equipment and systems. In equipment grounding, exposed metal is connected to a grounding mechanism. In system grounding, the conductor is connected to the grounding electrode. Component protection devices provide big safety benefits for homes and their residents.

Maintenance

Modules have no moving parts so there is no wear and tear on components. However, panels will need cleaning once in a while to keep the surfaces clear of dust and other debris. Dust reduces the efficiency of solar panels and cuts down the amount of electricity generated by around 5 to 7 percent. You don't have to climb up on the roof to clean panels. A hose with a nozzle can be used to spray water over the solar array and cleaning it once every 2-3 months is enough. If you live in a dusty area, then you may have to hose it down more frequently.

Solar Kits creating energy with Enphase microinverters, SolarEdge and SMA DIY grid-tie panel installation packages. First do your homework with the PV information we provide then select the kit that will fit your applications and budget.