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Davo99
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Joined: 03/06/2019
Location: Australia
Posts: 519
Posted: 11:14am 03 Jul 2020
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I have been pontificating installing more panels on my house for some time.
I have put panels in all the " easy" access places, over the verandah and the lower edge of the roof where it was flat and I could easily get to and on the back of the house where the roof is lowest and I could do it from the ground.

The roof is Colourbond, 34o Pitch and bloody slippery. I have spent hours trying to figure how to get panels up the near 6M to the top and last week feeling brave Decided to give it a go. One tip I picked up was Dunlop Volley Tennis shoes have good Grip on these roofs and it was a good one.  Infinitely better traction than my everyday work boots. I got up the other morning to discover there was dew still on the roof. I thought this will be suicide but to my amazement, I got better grip on the wet roof than when it dried. Don't know how that works but it did.


With a bit of help from the daughter and then the Mrs, I had no trouble getting that end of the house roof Covered and it went much easier than I thought.  I don't think I probably looked too elegant the way I did it but they are there and I'm here so all is good.

I have had a bunch of new panels I picked up and noted in a thread " Sometimes you get real lucky " here which I wanted to put on the north roof of the house I had been saving. These are 405 and 360W panels and over 2M long.  The size added to my reservations and concerns about installing the things.

On the other roof I used the bottom row of panels I put up as foot holds as I leaned and walked my top half on my hands and used the panel edges as foot stops to save sliding down the roof. Doing the other roof I realised, the chances of falling were not very high, If I went off I'd likley be sliding and in reality, with the edge of the roof not even being a meter taller than I am, long as I came down feet first, the worst  thing was probably going to be grazes on my stomach or arse as I went over the gutter.
The 1m between the roof edge and my feet hitting the ground was a non issue. I tried to make a mental note NOT to grab the guttering as I went over and pull it off the eave, just bend my knees when I hit the ground and then get back up there and finish the damn job!

Yesterday  was the daughters day off so she was commandeered as the unhired and critical assistance needed. Was a great day for it, unseasonably warm and sunny.
To get the panels up, I got one of those extending ladders and put it just above the roof height. I got up and put a bracket in one of the roof screw holes and secured it with enough play it could go over the edge of the panel and stop it sliding off.
I then lent a panel against the ladder, Pushed it up and climbed up the ladder and pushed it onto the roof Using all approved OH&S safety equipment and procedures of Course!  :0)

When I got the panel onto the roof, I pushed it aside and centred it on the pre installed Clip.  Made sure the cables were out and then locked it down.
From there I got up on the roof from the Front verandah, climbed up the roof channel and  locked down my home made securing point made from a piece of Unistrut with a Bolt welded across and a big  shackle Bolt through that. I put a thick piece of rope through that and tied it round myself Abseil style. I secured the unistrut across 4 roofing screws which I was satisfied would hold even my fat arse.

This was really less in mind of a fall prevention that something to be able to hang onto to haul myself up and around the roof on and not slide off. I could get some fixing on the roof screws themselves with the Volleys but they were an only just propositions and not something that I felt would take my bulk and the extra 22Kg of the panels.

I  started with the biggest and heaviest 405W panels as I thought it would be easier to pull the other ones up over the top of those and less weight on them. I also have this mindset of do the hardest work first so you are doing the easiest work when you are the most tired not pushing yourself harder. Turned out to be no real difference in this case, the panels were more similar than I realised.

From there, my daughter lent a panel against the ladder and put the hook from a tie down strap under the top edge. I had the other end and hauled it up while she mainly Guided it and helped it over the top of the ladder. I used the first panel as the foot hold and then got the next panel up far enough to move it across to the next clamp I had measured and preset while I connected the cables and then moved it into position. My Daughter then tightened down the clamp and we rinsed and repeated along the roof for 8 panels. I put a good dob of silicone roof sealant under each clamp to make sure the screws were sealed as the original seals being 20 years old are pretty weathered and I wasn't sure of their durability when disturbed or if they would work with the clamps.  

I ran the cable from the panels across the roof to where I want the inverters and from the far end to the other connector.
Daughter was tired by the time we did the first row ( as was I!) so went in and made lunch and by the time that was ready, I had that array wired with plugs, hooked to an inverter and was making power as we eat and rested.

After smoko I bought the 360W panels down and put them along the hedges roughly in position  for my daughter to load them on the ladder without having to carry them too far. Much the same procedure only this time I had a hold for both feet against the 1st row of Panels so that was a bit easier. To connect them I got them up, got a corner against the lower row to hold them and pretty much laid the things on top of myself while I connected the cable. Dignified!

Got out from under it and slid them into place  with most of them going under the clamps between the 2 panels straight off. I laid across the panel a bit and screwed the clamps on and did that all the way.

Because of the spacing of the roof screws and the corrugations, I couldn't space this row quite as well as the bottom row where I could clamp on the ends but made sure to get them nice and even on the roof. Just made extra room for expansion!  :0)
I Put in new, much larger screws into the clamps giving loads of purchase on the battens and holding the roof sheets even better.  Lots of goop on every screw to ensure completely watertight sealing. That is also protected and squashed by the clamp itself so it's probably better than the original climaseal screws.

I ran the return cable under the panels as I went and a new cable for this string back to the inverter. I had planned to run the 2 arrays together but then discovered a miscalculation on my part. I had 8x 405 panels and 9x 360's which would have worked out on the VMP and output perfectly. Unfortunately I forgot to allow for the roof angles at the top when I measured and could only get 8 of each on which left me about 20V and some power short on the smaller array. I decided to go for separate trackers so that was another 25M of cable back to the inverters. Ah well.

I thought about putting the last panel on the west roof tilted but thought that would look like crap. I later realised that You can only see that roof if you are just in the right spot between the trees at the dead end of the street and from the neighbours yard. Might put the 9th panel in yet but I'll have to bolt that down like no tomorrow if it's sticking up like a sail in the wind.

Pretty happy with the way it all came up. Not one single Mishap or close call, no real difficulty or unforeseen problem. Really could not have gone any better which was great.

Neighbour was out all day yesterday and nearly sh*t a Kidney when I was talking to him this morning and he looked up and the roof was covered with yet more panels. He seemed concerned  about the weight and was going on about me setting the place on fire with all the panels I have from the meters not coping with The power. Told him the new stove was required to be wired on one phase for about the same amount of current as I have across 2 phases with all my solar.  After a bit technical explanation he conceded he knows nothing about electricity and I do so must be OK.  Got to admit he did put the wind up me a bit and made me recheck what I was doing only to confirm I'm not even close to any overload.
In any case if I were, the inverters will over voltage and drop out anyway so not much to worry about.

Of course the next thing he asked is if we can do his system tomorrow.  :0)
Seeing all the panels I have been getting and putting up has tweaked his interest to add to his little 3Kw system on the house. He's a bit shy about putting up too much so we have decided on 3Kw for his shed Circuit. I got him a new 4Kw Twin tracker inverter which he couldn't wait to mount in the shed. He has 3 Phase 40A to the shed but only 1 Phase connected that end so wiring will be fine. Roof angle is 8o so a walk in the park. I'll have that up and running by lunchtime.

Today I was a little disappointed that my new 6.2 array at the perfect winter angle and orientation was only making 4.2 Kw in the middle of the day. I'd hoped for 5 kilo but that's winter for you and I suspected it was a little hazy. My other north array inverter on the shed confirmed this with it being a bit over 2 Kw down on the daily generation it's had most of the week.

I plugged another array into the tracker the 360w string was on and got over 5KW for most of the afternoon so all was good. I have been making around 19Kwh a day on that inverter but today made nearly 29 which I was REALLY pleased with especially seeing I was mucking around with it a bit and not even running it flat out all the time.

My average generation this week still came up from 45 Kwh to 62 today which I was very pleased with as well. Made 18 Kwh more than we used last 24 Hours but yesterday was unusually warm and didn't have the AC on much last night so see how we do tomorrow. I'll be stoked if we just break even.  Wife and daughter have the AC cranked now and it is chilly tonight.

I put in another inverter today and split some of my other strings onto that to reduce the overclocking I had a bit and looks like that paid off too. The trick is matching the arrays to the each inverters capacity. have to admit, I didn't think that one though as well as I should have but in reality, It's not going to be a big deal to split the arrays I have and the last one I have space for should work out perfect anyway. Lucky.




This was the array I put up last week and got my roof legs and tactics worked out.
24 x 250W panels.  Still enough room from the end the picture was taken to add another 12 panels so I might extend the strings from 8 to 12 to end up with one less.
That will be 3 Kw on a 2 Kw tracker so should be OK given I'm really chasing winter yield. Ground test array in background (That's been there a year!) will be finally going up on the roof to make way for outdoor bathroom and landscaped spa area to go in when Tractor finally arrives from stealership.




My unhired help. Princess of Princesses is a good worker and very practical when she wants to be. Even on a ladder, still has a damn phone in her hand though. Can't complain, she was a great help and worked really hard and didn't whinge.
Made me very proud when at one stage she asked if I wanted the positive or negative lead. So many people even sparkies I have heard call poles Plus and Minus and that drives me nuts. So pleased she got the terminology right without even being coached.

Note clamps in place along bottom row of roof screws  ready to hold panels.  

 


Crash test Dummy overcoming fear of heights and installing panels.  Note full safety equipment, PPE and observation of all OH&S procedures and practices.  May be a bit hard to see in the pic but they are all there in place and was approved by a safety inspector before and during the time the work was carried out.
Really!  :0)

I was a little concerned about nosy interfering neighbours across the road seeing me though. Typical Busy bodies that report everyone for anything and call the cops for nothing but of course break more rules and regs than anyone else around.
Luckily they must have been working and I didn't have anyone show up.  No question I would have had they seen me up there.




Demonstration once again of proper working at heights safety procedures and equipment. I think the unhired help was just trying to get a shot of our 400 Yo tree and someone got in the way but anyhow. Cables were tidied up and all put under the panels before work was finished. When I complained of unhired helps dodgy workmansh*t, she replied no one could see them from the ground so what was the difference? I asked if she was a licenced installer because she sure had the work ethic of one!




The finished array. These new panels look pretty good I reckon. About 95% of that roof area is covered bar a couple of angles at the back end. I put extra clamps on the end panels as we get scary strong winds here and the end panels are the ones that cop it the most. There is a small overlap on the top ridge of the roof of about 100MM which isn't Kosher these days although the neighbours panels have a lot more overhang and they were installed by someone " Licenced". Quite a few things with that setup I wouldn't do myself and think are dodgy but anyway.

The great thing about not being solar certified is everything you do is automatically against regs so no need to worry about complying from then on! :0)
No roof Isolators on this setup and I'd never entertain the idea of having them anyway. 100 times more problem than they are worth. Another benefit of not having to comply with often stupid regs.  

I'm more than  satisfied no panels are going anywhere less the Colourbond and the roof trusses go with them.  Also satisfied that the roof is now less likely  to ever leak than it was before.



Unhired help relieved it's all done and wanted a shot for Instafacetwitchat.

All in all it went pretty much perfect. Probably spent more time procrastinating about how to do it than it took when I finally got on with it. Wasn't near as hard as I thought it was going to be and no problems to speak of.

Maybe all that procrastinating and hours of deliberating was worth it?
 
Warpspeed
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Joined: 09/08/2007
Location: Australia
Posts: 3338
Posted: 10:02pm 03 Jul 2020
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Great story there Dave, I must pull my finger out and get around to doing something very similar here.

Those panels are going to shade the roof, and very likely make a very noticeable difference to the temperature in the roof space during mid summer. I discovered that now clearly obvious fact, and it has made a very worthwhile improvement.

Anyhow, its a great step forward in the great scheme of things, a nice job well done.
Cheers, Tony.
 
Davo99
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Joined: 03/06/2019
Location: Australia
Posts: 519
Posted: 09:10am 04 Jul 2020
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Thanks Tony.
I haven't forgot your " care Package" just been busy since I got back and have to go up to take care of some things for Dad again on Monday which I wasn't planning on.
I'll try and organise things for you when I get back.

As you can see, I didn't use any rails. A lot of people have told me the panels will get too hot with no airflow underneath etc.  During summer I checked the back of the panels you can see on the ground in the pic and I checked the top of the panels on the shed roof.  To my disbelief, the panels Standing up were somewhat hotter on the BACK than the face of the panels on the roof. May have been some temp gun error but I have found the ones I have are pretty damn accurate so if they were out, at worst I'd say the temps between the ones with the airflow and those without were the same.

In any case, I have been running them 3 Summers like that now and I have had no problems. My position is when you put something black in the summer sun, it's going to get bloody hot airflow underneath or otherwise.

I also think the roof space should be cooler. I have a friend in The Aircon game and he is adamant that having a cool roof space makes a LOT of difference to the house temps no matter what insulation you have.  In summer I get a pair of car radiator fans and put them in the manhole which is in the laundry and run them off a panel to push air into the roof cavity. Those fans blow a LOT of air.  My mate is pretty much anti DIY and mucking round with anything  but when he saw the setup he thought that was a very worthwhile thing and said it will make a HUGE difference to keeping the house cool.  Normally rolls his eyes and shakes his head at my mucking round like that so coming from him I took it to be high praise.

I have never done a measurement with and without the fans, If my mate thinks it's worthwhile, that's good enough for me. He's pretty hard to convince of anything so I don't question what he says.

The thing here is we have 40 something windows and that's the big heat problem. Everyone says do better insulation, double glazing etc but I estimate from what I have priced we'd be up for at least 30K to do that.  I am thinking of doing it to the 2 ensuite windows though. It's a sauna in summer and an icebox in winter. I think a lot of the heat and cold comes through the slab floor though.

I am going to put an outdoor bali style bathroom behind there and I'm going to look at insulating the slab edges while I'm at it which I have been told is were the heat transfer occurs.



The new array is paying off already. Today with another small array on the same inverter that was doing about 1Kw, that inverter did 30.8 Kwh.  All up I did a total of 76.4 Kwh generation.  It was a very nice day but certainly happy with that for a winter generation and so close to solstice. Will only get better till December now.

We used a total of 78 Kwh ( yes, that's Seventy Eight Kwh Tony! :0) ) so only 2 Kwh down for the day which was great.
THAT'S what  I have been aiming for!

We had the AC running on the thermostat all night last night as it was cold as tonight is and it was running pretty  frequently to keep the place at 22. All had long showers and Daughter was trying to get her room warm enough with a fan heater running flat out to sunbake without the sun.
I might loose a bit when I put the north facing ground array on the west roof but not much I can do about it.

This is the worst month for solar so If we can scrape by at this time we should be laughing the rest of the year.
 
Warpspeed
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Joined: 09/08/2007
Location: Australia
Posts: 3338
Posted: 10:08am 04 Jul 2020
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I looked into the window problem a few years back.  Have a spare bedroom with a large western facing window, its like an oven in there in mid summer in the late afternoons.

I tried dodgy home brew double glazing experiment by fitting a second glass window pane spaced about 10mm from the existing glass. It did absolutely nothing.
Some research told me that double glazing is suitable only for really cold climates, and sometimes for keeping out traffic noise.
Air is a good thermal insulator, but it does nothing to stop the infrared and direct sunlight from shining straight through the window glass, no matter how many layers there are.
So forget double glazing for keeping cool in summer.

The other experiment I tried was much more successful. I bought a sheet of "Solar Cool" glass, and tried that. This stuff looks like either a silver or a gold mirror when viewed from outside.  You see it on all the modern city high rise office buildings.
You cannot see in from the outside during the day, so complete privacy without any blinds or curtains.

At night you can see in from the outside if a light is switched on inside, so you still need blinds or curtains at night for privacy.

Its a kind of metal film built into the glass itself, and it reflects both infrared (heat) and ultraviolet (glare) so very little direct radiant heat can enter through the glass.
From the inside looking out, it looks like ordinary clear window glass. Its very effective and highly recommended. I am sure there are other brands of similar stuff, but this is the one I have tried myself. Your local glazier will probably have it, or can get a very similar product for you to try.

https://www.vitroglazings.com/products/reflective-glass/solarcool-glasses/
Cheers, Tony.
 
Davo99
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Joined: 03/06/2019
Location: Australia
Posts: 519
Posted: 11:42pm 04 Jul 2020
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Thanks for the heads up Tony. I was thinking exactly the same thing. Just a sheet of stiff perspex and put a rubber seal around the edges to help locate and put it in the window cavity in front of the existing window. The perspex is worth a few hundred in that size alone being one of those fashionable but detrimental tall windows.

I was also wondering about the radiation transmission. I believe glass stops UV but I couldn't see how it would stop the radiation heating things up on the other side. It's what the light and radiation it carries hits that heats things up, the air is not warmed a lot at all.  I couldn't see how 2 layers was going to make much difference when one seemed to do nothing at all.

I Know of that window Coating. I call it foil. When I was a kid we did extensions to the house with big windows and then found the room was unbearable to be in summer with the heat that came through the windows. My father had someone come in and put that foil on the windows that  was a silver colour much like a mirror and it made a big  difference.  He eventual put a small awning over that  side just to keep the heat off.

It's a great suggestion and one I will look into. My office is along the same wall and also gets stinking hot but it has a canvas awning over the window. The Brick walls are insulated but that only slows heat transmission not stops it.

We are planning to do an outdoor bathroom on that wall and I was also thinking about growing some climbing plants along there as a screen/ Shade. Want to look into it more though to make sure it's not going to trap moisture or get into the eaves or something and cause problems. Other thing was to Run shade cloth all along there on a track that could be removable in winter to let a little sun on it. Not that does much good in the icebox en suite.

The design of the place is all wrong. There is not warmth in winter and too much in summer.

As a friend says, you only get half an hour to make the biggest decision of your life when you buy a house and just have to do the best you can with your choice.
There are a LOT of things I don't like about this place but I have decided I don't want to move again for a while so we'll make the best of it.  


Just went out and checked the new array. Making 3Kw at just before 9:30 in the morning. Was making just over 2 Kw at 8:30.
That's where this setup is really making the gains. Twice as much power on the other inverters with the west arrays and they aren't even making 800W yet.

I concluded some time back that setting up for winter and let summer take care of itself was the way to go. Even though I haven't been been able/ wanted to do that till now, shows the theory works out. I have not wanted to elevate any other panels because of the winds we get here. They scare me and having things sticking up like sails does not seem a good idea. The wind comes almost always from one of 2 Directions south being one of them which would be right on the back of any north elevated panels.

My Neighbour wants more solar but I don't think he wants Mine flying across his yard or through his windows.

I knew today would be a perfect day weather wise, it always is so at least there might be an up side of more good generation. When I come back from Dads I'll get the ground panels up, Finally, and that should be about it bar maybe some tweaking and taking down some smaller panels. I picked up another 16 x 190s yesterday that look in very good nick.  Neighbour saw them in the ute and said what on earth are you going to do with those? I said nothing at all, just advertise and sell them. I'm getting more orders for panels up north than what I can carry. Helps pay for running up and back to look after Dad.

Next thing will be to wait and see if I get a knock on the door from the cops or raided.  The police Chopper flys over all the time going in and out of the local airport and I swear they did a circle the other day watching us when we were finishing off the last array. I have Never seen anyone fly that pattern before as it's on the approach lane and they were well under the glide path as well. Choppers normally come in high then drop down beside the runway leaving things clear for the fixed wings.

I have heard the Druggies have got onto solar for their growing operations and hide their power use. They must be flying over here thinking WTF? We got one here boys!
No fella's, Just another loonatic.
Hopefully they will do a fly over when the garage doors are open and see there is so much crap in there I couldn't grow a Daisy let alone a whole crop.

I would like to come up with something I could use all this excess summer power on as some sort of seasonal Business. Maybe a small setup making party Ice would be the go?  :0)
 
Warpspeed
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Joined: 09/08/2007
Location: Australia
Posts: 3338
Posted: 12:41am 05 Jul 2020
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I would not worry too much about the cops.

They will probably be able to work out who you are from your address, and then see if you have any prior "history" that might be of "interest"

I am sure they have much more interesting things to investigate than a guy on a roof.
Cheers, Tony.
 
Davo99
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Joined: 03/06/2019
Location: Australia
Posts: 519
Posted: 01:38pm 05 Jul 2020
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It's not the guy on the roof I'm worried about, it's them wondering why someone has about 80 solar panels on the roof and more in the yard!

I do have a stack of them sorted out against the shed atm so they could see them and probably figure what is going on. I have a history / am known to the cops but not for any wrong doing, I'm clean.  Just helped them with a long running accident investigation.


Didn't get a chance to see how much I generated today as we were out till about 6 and everything had shut down by then and won't read unless there is solar input. I might have a look at the meters in the morning and get an idea of where we went.
 
Davo99
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Joined: 03/06/2019
Location: Australia
Posts: 519
Posted: 11:57am 06 Jul 2020
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Generation was great again today.
Made 72 Kwh total and the new array did a best so far of 30.3 Kwh.... which was curious because it did a best generation but the total overall wasn't  as high as I have got...

Last 2 Days works out I was only 1 Kwh down. Was out a lot yesterday but then came home and cranked the AC so probably no gain.

The weather is excellent here atm. Chilly in the mornings till about 9:30 and the cold sets in again at about 4 But the days are clear and beautiful.
Panels are probably producing well in the cooler weather but even the ones I have as battery chargers get a lot hotter than their 25o rating and it does not take long.
 
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