danrjones
Posts: 1048
Joined: Wed Apr 17, 2019 8:02 am
Delivery Date: 17 Jun 2019
Location: Ridgecrest, CA

Solar wholesale recommendations

Fri Mar 06, 2020 9:32 am

11 years ago I had a small system installed.
It has gotten so cheap I'm going to add a second system. I plan to install it myself, and I'm working through my planning now. Micro inverter versus optimizer versus string inverter, sizing, layout, etc

For planning purposes I've been using pricing from wholesale solar, a well reviewed company in CA. Think they are near Shasta.
But I would be dumb not to shop around a little.

Any suggestions from other DIYers for whom they bought their system from?
2018 Leaf SV Pearl White with Tech and All Weather, Purchased New on 5/3/19

Oilpan4
Posts: 1838
Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2019 10:51 pm
Delivery Date: 10 May 2018
Leaf Number: 004270

Re: Solar wholesale recommendations

Sun Mar 08, 2020 5:31 pm

I bought my huge used panels cheaper than dirt from santan solar in AZ.

The only down side to big utility sized panels is it kind of sucks to move them by your self and you can't get micro inverters for them.
But that's what makes them so cheap.

If shadows aren't a problem then you don't need micros or optimizers.
But if you have a leas than ideal location then go for them. Your cheapest option by far is
to use 3 and 4kw string inverters.

I bought a whole pallet and figured I would sell the left overs to hasten the payback, but all that showed me was that a lot of people who want solar/free power panels on Craigs list are broke and/or stupid.
I'll hold on to a few more then what I was planning on in dark storage. If a hail storm takes out my arrays I can throw the spares up there and get a little over bare minimum cut in voltage on one inverter.
"THE ABOVE POST CONTAINS MISLEADING AND INACCURATE INFORMATION. PLEASE CONSIDER IT OPINION, NOT FACT". -someone who I offended and is unable to produce the facts in question.

danrjones
Posts: 1048
Joined: Wed Apr 17, 2019 8:02 am
Delivery Date: 17 Jun 2019
Location: Ridgecrest, CA

Re: Solar wholesale recommendations

Wed Nov 25, 2020 2:55 pm

In the end I used a CA company up near Shasta. I found there were other places for the same gear slightly cheaper but this place had better customer service. The package included the racking, all the paperwork I needed, panels, inverter, etc. The only things it did not include was the #6 ground wire and the conduit.

Just had my county inspector check it and he was very happy. Yippy! So I have an 11 year old 3.15 kW DC system south facing and now a new 6.4 kW DC system half East and half West, (no more south available)

I ended up going with an SMA string inverter, 6.0-US and it is great. Everyone seems to recommend enphase or the DC optimizers but I think simplicity is better, one string inverter. And as I have no shading issues, its cheaper too. A test has already confirmed my system beats the PV Watts expected production by about 13% for my test day.

In the end I'm sure I could have done the system cheaper buying used or piecemeal parts but after tax rebate this will still come out around $1/watt. I'm happy.
2018 Leaf SV Pearl White with Tech and All Weather, Purchased New on 5/3/19

goldbrick
Posts: 1259
Joined: Tue Aug 01, 2017 3:33 pm
Delivery Date: 01 Aug 2017
Leaf Number: 311806
Location: Boulder, CO

Re: Solar wholesale recommendations

Wed Nov 25, 2020 8:09 pm

I'm still holding out for the micro-inverters since I'm planning to add more panels and I do have a bit of shade. The slight extra cost is worth it for the convenience for me but they are sold out of them currently. Who'd thunk it?

danrjones
Posts: 1048
Joined: Wed Apr 17, 2019 8:02 am
Delivery Date: 17 Jun 2019
Location: Ridgecrest, CA

Re: Solar wholesale recommendations

Wed Nov 25, 2020 8:43 pm

If i had shading issues it would have been a different choice. But no shade.

I saw a cloud a few months ago.
2018 Leaf SV Pearl White with Tech and All Weather, Purchased New on 5/3/19

DominicF
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Nov 05, 2019 9:24 am
Delivery Date: 05 Nov 2019

Re: Solar wholesale recommendations

Thu Mar 25, 2021 6:48 am

So I’ve always been a DIYer and we’ve recently purchased our first home I factored in that I wanted to go solar and borrowed extra. The question I have is the house has a steel roof, not a shingle can these systems still work? Also, the wiring is a little confusing as it would go into the attic but my existing junction box is in our basement. By the way, recommend read this https://websolarguide.com/how-many-sola ... do-i-need/ for understanding my question.
Last edited by DominicF on Sat Mar 27, 2021 6:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

goldbrick
Posts: 1259
Joined: Tue Aug 01, 2017 3:33 pm
Delivery Date: 01 Aug 2017
Leaf Number: 311806
Location: Boulder, CO

Re: Solar wholesale recommendations

Thu Mar 25, 2021 11:12 am

There are mounts made for steel roofs although I'm not familiar with them. IronRidge makes a lot of solar racking so you could check their website for ideas about what is available.

Running the wires through the attic is common. The wires need to be in conduit and go through the roof using a gasket similar to what is used for plumbing vents that penetrate the roof. Then you run the wire (in conduit usually) to where you want it to exit the house and go from there. I'm doing that on my installation. I'm going through the roof under the panels, through the attic, out the soffit and down the edge of the house to the service entrance. The wire will be in conduit starting at a junction box under the panels on the roof. I don't have a steel roof but the only difference in that case would be the type of flashing required at the roof penetration.

If your service panel is the in the basement, you could use NM-B cable (aka Romex) after the wire is inside. Romex can't be used outside, even in conduit but you could use UF-B cable, which is about the same thing. Either way, the biggest issue will be getting the wire down from the attic into the basement. If you're going to DIY, I'd just open the necessary walls, run the cable and then patch the holes. A pro electrician with all the fancy drill bits, etc might be able to do it without opening any walls but that all depends on the layout of the building, etc.

SageBrush
Forum Supporter
Posts: 6259
Joined: Sun Mar 06, 2011 2:28 am
Delivery Date: 13 Feb 2017
Location: NM

Re: Solar wholesale recommendations

Thu Mar 25, 2021 11:43 am

danrjones wrote:
Wed Nov 25, 2020 2:55 pm
but after tax rebate this will still come out around $1/watt. I'm happy.
Nice !

Did you have to install panel level rapid shutdown ?
2013 LEAF 'S' Model with QC & rear-view camera
Bought Jan 2017 from N. California
Two years in Colorado, now in NM
03/18: 58 Ahr, 28k miles
11/18: 56.16 Ahr, 30k miles
09/20: 54.3 Ahr; 38k miles
-----
2018 Tesla Model 3 LR, Delivered 6/2018

danrjones
Posts: 1048
Joined: Wed Apr 17, 2019 8:02 am
Delivery Date: 17 Jun 2019
Location: Ridgecrest, CA

Re: Solar wholesale recommendations

Thu Mar 25, 2021 12:14 pm

I finished back in November sometime. I did not have any difficulties really, but it was a lot of work. For me the hardest work was the physical aspect of working on the roof, removing tiles, installing the footers for the rails, and installing conduit in my attic, and then pulling the wires. Just a lot of work. Most installers in my area usually just run conduit off the side of the roof, but I wanted it to look nice, and ran the conduit through my attic.

The city actually used the county inspector and he took a look for a few minutes and said it all looked fine. Not once did the city tell me to do anything in regards to my power company, SCE, so I simply turned it on after the inspector left.

Someone on here warned me that NEM 2.0 was not as good as 1.0. But since nobody told me to sign up or do any paperwork for SCE with my new system (I already have a smaller old system) I am still in NEM 1.0. It has been 6 months and SCE never said anything.

Yes, each module came with a rapid shutdown module that goes under the panel and produces about 1v. The SMA inverter activates them all. Seems to work fine, I wish I did not need it, so that I could have had a plug on the inverter for any power outages... but it was required.

Side note, I saw an article this AM that all the power companies are pushing hard for huge changes to NEM in CA. They want drastic reductions in the NEM credit as well as monthly fees ranging from $50 to $90 for the honor of being on the grid.

I do agree that we solar folks need to pay some amount as upkeep for the grid, since we are using it. I don't know what the right amount actually should be. Currently SCE charges me about $11 a month minimum for that, even if I produce more power than use.

Personally I think they need me more than I need them. I would need a battery install but with that, I make plenty of power to be off grid. I think technically I can't legally BE off grid, but I'm not paying $90 for essentially a connection fee. What do they do if you refuse to pay your power bill? Disconnect you? Perfect. So we shall see where that goes, but NUTS to that.
2018 Leaf SV Pearl White with Tech and All Weather, Purchased New on 5/3/19

Oilpan4
Posts: 1838
Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2019 10:51 pm
Delivery Date: 10 May 2018
Leaf Number: 004270

Re: Solar wholesale recommendations

Thu Mar 25, 2021 2:04 pm

Santan soar in AZ.
I buy a pallet of panels from them once or twice a year and resell them locally 1 to 5 panels at a time for at least double.
"THE ABOVE POST CONTAINS MISLEADING AND INACCURATE INFORMATION. PLEASE CONSIDER IT OPINION, NOT FACT". -someone who I offended and is unable to produce the facts in question.

Return to “Solar”