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Home > MyProjects > Step By Step > Renewable Energy - Solar Biomass Wind > 3 kW Grid-Tied Residential Solar Array

3 kW Grid-Tied Residential Solar Array

By: DavidKA
Filed Under: Renewable Energy - Solar Biomass Wind as Step By Step
Last Modified: 12/31/2009 12:10 PM
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SolarArray with owner looking on
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SolarArray with owner looking on

3 kW Grid-Tied Residential Photovoltaic Solar Array in Kingman, Arizona


In August, 2009, having some vacation time, I thought it would be good to help stimulate the local economy by designing and constructing my own backyard, grid-tied solar array. The array consists of 14, Kyocera KD210GX-LP solar modules connected in-series to produce 372.4 DC volts and up to 7.9 amps at the inverter, a Xantrex GT 3.3. The array is some 45' long and is supported by a redwood structure consisting of 2x and 4x lumber. The post bases sit on a concrete footing (2 cu yds) and the rafters are attached to an existing 11 course masonry wall (7'-4") with a ledger. Orientation is due south with a 6:12 pitch designed to maximize output in April and October when skies are generally clear. Aside from the concrete pour courtesy of Doug Brotherton and the electrical wiring by Glenn Roehl of Sunquest Solar, the design and construction is my own.
Structure with aluminum support rails
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Structure with aluminum support rails

3 kW Grid-Tied Residential Photovoltaic Solar Array in Kingman, Arizona


A significant savings was also had from Northern Arizona Wind and Sun whose 35th Anniversary Sale reduced the costs of each PV panel to $570. With a $3.00 per DC watt rebate from Unisource Energy Services, $1,000 tax credit from Arizona and a comparable Federal credit, my out-of-pocket costs will be $3,000 and paid back through reduced energy bills in six to seven years.
Xantrex GT 3.3 Inverter located inside shop building
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Xantrex GT 3.3 Inverter located inside shop building

3 kW Grid-Tied Residential Photovoltaic Solar Array in Kingman, Arizona


The inverter was also purchased from Northern Arizona Wind and Sun and is located some 50' from the east end of the array. The system's daily output has been averaging over 14 kWhrs on clear days since commissioning on November 15th. Peak hourly output was on December 24th at some 1,623 watts per hour over nine hours and fifteen minutes on-line.
Looking along the east-west axis of the array from under the modules
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Looking along the east-west axis of the array from under the modules

3 kW Grid-Tied Residential Photovoltaic Solar Array in Kingman, Arizona


The support structure uses a series of Simpson Strong-Tie connectors and a few dozen bolts with 14, 3/8" x 10" hex-head bolts used to secure the ledger to the wall, some of it being solid grouted requiring a new hammer drill (not included in the project's cost) and 38, 1/2" x 5" hex-head bolts to attach the eight post bases (2 per base) and 22 bolts for the straps connecting the 4x4 posts to the 4x6 beams (one 18' long and two 12' long). That, and a pound of 1 1/4" number 10 wood screws to fasten the rafters to the beams and ledger should give the structure some longevity. Thanks for listening.

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