After designing the system and ordering parts for the project, the new Renogy 250-watt solar panels arrived very quickly. I was eager to install them, but they were just a bit larger than I could handle safely on the garden shed roof. Fortunately, I didn’t have to wait long, and my neighbor Jason was available a few days later. I had given the mounting some thought, and was ready when he arrived.
The panels are about 65 by 39 inches, and weigh 40 pounds. The day was overcast, and not too windy (we didn’t want to mount a “sail” on the roof) so the work went quickly. The only hitch? One of the stainless nuts for mounting the aluminum “Z” brackets was SAE instead of metric like the others. We had to re-tap it to the 10 mm metric size. Not a big deal.
It was great to have Jason’s help, and we tied the center “Z” mounts into a rafter with 3-inch deck screws. The other mounting brackets didn’t line up with the 16-inch-on-center rafters, so we backed them up with a 2 by 2 making a “sandwich” of the roof decking.
Although the brackets and screws seated tightly on the shingles, I’ll go back later and cover the mounting screws with roofing cement to prevent leaks.
Once mounted, it was time for a test. Although the day was heavily overcast, a multimeter showed the expected unloaded voltage from each panel — between 33 and 34 volts DC. Connected in series like they’ll be used in our system, we measured over 67 volts. This will drop to around 60 volts under load. 500-watts of captured power!
We’re probably at least a week away from the charge controller/inverter delivery, so I’ll start buying the golf cart batteries. Eight will be needed for the 48-volt system and at around 60 pounds each it might be best to buy a few at a time. I’ll also have to reinforce the shelving in the garden shed to support the weight. Progress!