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Handbook for Energy Independence

A 48 Volt DC, 4.5 KiloWatt Solar Power System
Design Data Worksheet
Systems Loads Worksheet
Concept Phase
Design Phase
Purchasing Phase
Installation Phase
Final Remarks


After the equipment is ordered and received, its time to roll up the sleeves and get a little dirty.  Everything will have to be mounted and connected together with the correct size wires, breakers, and fuses.  By now, a safe and dry install location should have been scoped out for the electrical equipment.

Solar Panel Installation
The installation of the solar panels can be the most time intensive part of the process.  Below are some options listed in order based on relative cost:

I)    Roof mounted solar panels at fixed angle
II)   Ground mounted solar panels at fixed angle
III)  Ground mounted solar panels with manual one axis tracking
IV)  Ground mounted solar panels with one or two axis auto tracking

For North Americans, our panels will be angled toward the South to receive maximum radiation from the Sun.  The best angle of operation will depend on the season and the latitude of your location (see radiation tables). 

With installations near the Equator, the panels should be nearly straight up to the sky.  With installations in the Southern Hemisphere, the panels will be angled toward the North.

The pro’s and cons of the various mounting options are discussed in detail at http://www.microgrid-industries.com/microgrid_energy_articles.html

Roof mounted solar panels may be the most affordable solution, however lack in adjustability and access for cleaning and maintenance.  They also tend to run at higher temperatures during the summer months.  Roof mounting kits are available from most solar panel distributors.

In the example design, the ground structure and manual tracker was chosen.  This gives a good balance of performance improvement and ease of maintenance.  During harsh winters, it prevents snow buildup with steeper pitched angles.  During Summer months, it provides cooler operation and greater power production.  Up to 20% additional performance is gained by fine tuning the angle between seasons. 

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MicroGrid Living

- MicroGrid Power Systems
- Benefits of the MicroGrid
- Running on DC Electricity
- Things to Think About
- Sizing Your Microgrid Power System
- Energy Conservation Strategies
- Hybrid Power Systems

MicroGrid Solar Power

- Solar Power Applications
- Photovoltaic Solar Panels
- Increasing Solar Panel Performance
- Mounting PV Solar Panels
- Solar Power Tracking Systems
- One Axis Solar Panel Tracking (Passive)
- Solar Power Cost & Payback
- Sizing your Solar Power System

MicroGrid Power Devices

- Wind Turbines
- Wood Burner Systems
- Thermal Power Systems
- DC Thermal Generators
- Hydro Turbines

MicroGrid History

- Nikola Tesla Source of Human Energy
- Nikola Tesla Energy from the Medium
- James Watt & the Steam Engine
- Marcellus Jacob Wind Turbine

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