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Time to purchase some solar panels


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So I have managed to sell my dirt bike and get hold of a couple of ronds to buy some solar panels which I will connect to my inverter.

I have put together a list of my requirements (I hope I haven't left anything out) and was wondering if you guys were able to point me in the right direction regarding sourcing these items in Johannesburg.

Please bare in mind that I am on a tight budget!

 

I may not have all the terminology correct but heres my list:

6 x 250watt solar panels

2 x MC4 male connectors

2 x MC4 female connectors

2 x Fuse holders

2 x 10amp solar fuses

1 x surge arrestor

16 meters of aluminium mounting rail (4 meter lengths)

16 x tiled roof mounts (preferably aluminium?)

8 x end clamps

8 x middle clamps

100m of 4mm solar cable

Stainless steel nut and bolts

 

Thanks

Dane

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Indeed. Found the solar connectors flimsy.

 

Removed the panel wires, connected them together as needed with one set of wires down to controllers, per controller.

 

Now I can disconnect the panels from controllers completely.

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Just an idea.

Found these connectors to be more convenient: http://www.bushpower.co.za/content/product_images/CON-2P-50.jpg

I want to do the same thing, for two reasons. In the unlikely even of heavy weather, you can disconnect your panels completely. And secondly, when testing stuff (such as charge controllers), it's easy to temporarily relay the energy by unplugging and replugging.

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Where did you source your mounting equipment (brackets, roof brackets etc?)

Because I installed in the days before it was common (read unaffordable) to buy frames (actually, there where none for sale), I had them made from aluminium.

QUITE a bit cheaper, even at today's prices.

 

We also have a Diamond Deck Roof for which there are no fasteners, so we made a plan for drilling through the sheets, into the trusses, was not an option.

So we made clamps from aluminium to mount the frame onto the ridges.

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I bought steel from a local supplier, got out ye olde welding machine, welded up my own frame. Painted really well with P5 and P4 (first frame) and on the second frame I used Duram DTM (direct to metal). What I can say about that, the P4 and P5 combo works well, no rust. DTM is rubbish though...

So because the frames are steel, I had to isolate the panels. For this I used these bitumen strips used for sealing roofs.

Why steel... well, cause that is what I grew up with, and I had to put these up on a very limited budget :-)

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I just used DTM on the frame I welded up to cover up my JoJo tank :(

I was thinking I could either weld up the roof brackets but was concerned about longevity and rusting of the mild steel.

I will do the exercise and find out if its more cost effective to have stainless steel or aluminium brackets laser cut and bent or purchasing some ready made ones.

Plonkster, I'm not sure that I understand why you had to insulate the aluminium panels from the steel frame, would you mind explaining why you did this?

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Yingli panels are good I hear. Know of the factory in Somerset West, where they get the panels before distribution. Hear they have a very good warranty and prices are very good.

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Yingli solar is the largest PV manufacturer in the world. I have 12 x 250W panels for which I paid the same amount but that was before Zuma told the world that Africa was the largest continent in the world and fired Nene.

 

I have been very happy with them bought them from Rubicon in PE.

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The connectors you mentioned is Brad Harrison connectors.

I have used the same for my camping solar setup.

However, I would not use this on a permanent home solar system.

The connectors is not water proof, so corrosion can happen and high voltage mixed with water is an big issue.

 

I guess for your 150V max PV system it could work ok.

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  • 2 weeks later...

So I have decided on the ReneSola 250watt panels but am concerned that the Solar World Sunfix module clamps won't work.

The reason I say this is that the ReneSola panel is 40mm and the Sunfix module clamps and edge clamps are 34mm?

 

Does anyone have any experience with these suffix clamps?

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  • 2 weeks later...

So I got my 6 x 250w ReneSola panels from ReneSola in Midrand. Got my roof hooks, clamps and rails (PLP range) from Yingli solar also in Midrand. And my surge arrestor, MC4 connectors and cable from Rubicon. I decided on using DC circuit breakers in my combiner box instead of fuses, they were more expensive but I think it was the right decision. I sourced the circuit breakers from MCE electrical in Joburg but I believe Rubicon also supplies them.

I will be running a 4mm earthing cable between the aluminium rails and this will then be run back to the main earth in the DB board.

I am hoping that the contact surface area between the aluminium frame of the solar panel and the rail will be sufficient to have earth continuity between all metallic items .

I am starting my install today and will post some pics as soon as I have made decent progress

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