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47 Our own alternative energy systems

Please note:

These pictures are from our old place in Long Beach,
California (we were there from May, 1984 until June, 2016).

We moved to Kingman, Arizona in July, 2016.

I will be putting some photovoltaics in our new place. Time, back and
wallet permitting.

One of our systems was a grid intertie, the rest are
stand alone systems.  

At our old location we use 12 and 24 volt d.c. fluorescent and
led lighting.


896 watt / 12 volt system consisting of 23 modules.
The nine modules with the brown backing are Arco Solar M-51
40 watt modules which were removed from a grid-intertie
system operated by a utitlity plant in Northern California.
The other modules are:
one Solec 32 watt mod. 4132
four Solec 34 watt mod. 4134
four Solarex 33.5 watt mod. 4330EG

We added two Siemens mod. SP-75 modules, on the left,
to the system on 7/31/05.

We added two Shell SR-90 and one Shell SM-55 modules
to the system in October 2008 as shown below.

shell photovoltaic modules

stand alone photovoltaic system controls
off-roof array controllers

The systems output is less than the name plate rating of the modules.
I purchased the modules in the three on-roof arrays from 1978 to around
1985 and installed the system in 1986.

We had to custom build the module racks from stainless steel
due to the different sizes of modules.

The output from the three arrays on the roof go through a Morningstar
TriStar 60 charge controller and into a Class T fuse and disconnect
before going to a 900 amp hour battery bank (eight T-105 six volt batteries in
series and parallel).

This system also has a secondary battery bank which is composed of six
6 volt / 180 amp hour gel cells.
They tap off the main system before the Class T fuse.
These batteries have their own charge controller.
It is a Flexcharge NC25A/12 with an external 100 amp charging contactor.
The NC25A charging voltage is set up for gel cells and will cut-out
when the gel batteries are charged and before the flooded batteries are charged.
This allows both banks to reach full charge.
The charging contactor draws about 2.7 watts from the system when
it disconnects the gel batteries.
The output from the contactor goes through a d.c. disconnect before
going to a Class T fuse which is dedicated to the gel batteries.

The off-roof arrays go through a separate Morningstar TriStar 60 charge controller
before going into the same fuse and disconnect.

Each TriStar has a remote mounted meter to monitor the charging system.

The flooded battery bank has a remote mounted Tri-Metric 2020 to monitor
its status.

This system powers up an Exeltech 1100 watt true sine wave inverter
as well as providing power for interior and exterior fluorescent and
led lighting in our stock buildings.



400 watt grid intertie array

400 watt grid-intertie array consisting of eight Evergreen Solar
Each pair of modules is wired in series for 24 volts and has
a Trace Micro-Sine grid inter-tie inverter.
The a.c. output is combined and fed through a weather-tite
disconnect before going through a GFCI circuit breaker in the
main service panel.
The racks are fabricated from stainless steel rectangular tubing.
The mounting feet are stainless angle.


70 watt array  flexcharge pv7d photovoltaic charge controller in one of our systems

This 70 watt array is mounted on a 3-1/2" by 3-1/2" by 1/4"
square tube which is 20 feet long (a plate is welded to
the top to keep out water) and extends app. 15' from the
It is imbedded in about 1-1/2 yards of re-inforced concrete.
The two larger modules are Arco Solar pull-outs like the
ones in our first system.
The smaller module is a 10 watt semi-crystalline Solarex.
The racking is stainless steel angle.
The output is fed through a 7 amp Flexcharge PV-7D charge controller and
into two 35 amp hour AGM batteries.
As you can see, the yellow wire from the controller is not connected - it connects to a second
battery for a dual battery setup.
This system provides outdoor work and area lighting.
It also powers up a waterfall, on the rare occasions where
there is time to use it.


evergreen, unisolar and arco modules

This 237 watt array is composed of the following modules:
one Evergreen mod. EC64, one Arco Solar mod. M25,
one Uni-Solar mod. US-32, one Solarex MSX56 and one
Their output goes through a fuse and into a
Morningstar Sunsaver 20 charge controller.
The output from the controller is fused and charges two
Trojan T-105 batteries wired in series for 12 volts / 225 amp hours.
This system powers up d.c. fluorescent lighting in our office
as well as in one of our stock rooms and a waterpump.
The Arco M25 originally powered a gable vent fan until
we had it re-roofed.
The Arco and Evergreen modules were mounted on the
stainless steel structure mid-2001.

Please look at the way the rack is mounted on the roof.
I would never recommend mounting this way because of the potential
of creating a water dam.
I mounted these this way due to the type of roof decking along with the
weight and height of the array.    

The Uni-Solar module was installed on 7/31/05.
The two Solarex modules were installed on 12/25/05.


photowatt stand alone system - 180 watts our sharp photovoltaic module

12 volt solar battery bank flexcharge photovoltaic lighting system

This 260 watt stand-alone system consists of two Photowatt
(Matrix Solar) PW-1000 modules (90 watts each) and one
Sharp 80 watt NE-80EJE module.
The top Photowatt module is wired in parallel into the bottom
Photowatt module using 10 ga. tray cable.
The output is fed through 8 ga. tray cable through a fuse and blocking
diodes and into a Flexcharge mod. NC30-12L charge controller with night-time function.
The output from the Sharp module is fed into the fuse block using
two 10 ga. 2 conductor tray cables.
The controller outputs through a fuse into four 6 volt 225 amp hour Trojan T-105
golf cart batteries wired in series/parallel for a 450 amp hour system capacity.
At dusk, when the voltage drops on the array, the controller sends
12 volt d.c. to several perimeter led lights to provide energy-efficient
security lighting.
A fused output from the batteries provides power for an outdoor
fluoresent floodlight as well as for the packing/shipping area.
The packing/shipping area has fluorescent and led lighting as well
as a small inexpensive inverter to power up a hot glue gun.
This system has a remote mounted Bogart Engineering TriMetric 2020 to monitor
the battery bank state of charge as well as to keep track of load
consumption and pv array power production.


solarex high voltage array  solar converters maximum power point tracking controller

This 172 watt stand-alone system consists of four Solarex MST
Millenium series thin-film modules with an open circuit voltage of
103 volts d.c. out-of-the-box.
The short circuit current of each module is app. 0.8 amp.
The modules have since settled down (as thin fim modules do) and
are running at about 87 volts d.c. in full sun.
The rack is made of stainless steel square and rectangular
tubing welded and bolted in place.
Due to the weight of these modules the rack was assembled
in place.
The sloped mounting surfaces have stainless steel bolts
face-welded so the modules only needed to be set in place
before attaching washers and nuts.
Each module has its own output through 10 ga. tray cable which
is combined in a fuse block and then into a disconnect switch.
From the disconnect switch the output runs through a little over
100 feet of 8 ga. tray cable.
Considering the output voltage of the array, the 8 ga. cable is
more than big enough for the wire run distance.
The tray cable is fed into a 250 v.d.c. outdoor rated
disconnect switch.
I removed the original fuse blocks in the housing to make
room for a Solar Converters mod. PT-48-8-12/24B
maximum power point charge controller.
You can see that the controller is held in place using
stainless steel 1/4"-20 threaded rod for stand-offs.
The charge controller steps down the voltage to a
nominal 24 volt charging rate (app. 28.2 volts).
Both the input and output of the charge controller run
through the disconnect switch (one pole for input and
one pole for output) for safety.
The output goes into a battery box which has four Trojan T-105
six volt batteries wired in series for a 24 volt system.
The power from the charge controller goes through
a fuse in the battery box.
The fused output from the batteries uses 2 ga. portable
power cable to an interior splicer block.
The block feeds a Samlex 600 watt / 24 volt true sine
wave inverter which powers up office equipment.
The block also supplies power to indoor fluorescent
lighting and a portable 24 volt d.c. fan.


solarex mx65 photovoltaic module solarex 10 watt

85 watt system consisting of one Solarex MX65 module and two Solarex M10U
modules which are controlled by a Morningstar SunSaver 20L-12V controller.
The 12 volt battery bank consists of two Trojan t-105 six volt batteries wired in
The controls are mounted in a outdoor telephone equipment box.
This system powers, through the low voltage disconnect on the charge controller,
all of our ventilation which consists of a ceiling fan and a 16" venturi fan which is
mounted above a spring loaded louvere in the attic access hatch.
The fan acts as a whole house fan.
It also powers up two 12 volt d.c. water pumps for watering the landscaping in
the front and back yard with used laundry water.

Solar input, controller to battery and controller to load circuits are protected
by Class R fuses.
Each fuse has a wire tie hanging from it for use as a disconnect.

This system is a work in progress.
It is a 48 volt system that will power up two Exeltech inverters (1100 and 600 watt) as
well as provide 48 volt d.c. fluorescent lighting.
Currently the system is powering up an Exeltech 125 watt sine wave inverter.
As the system progresses we will show updated pictures and information.

48 volt evergreen photovoltaic array
Four Evergreen EC-115 modules (internally wired for 12 volt) -
115 watts each and wired in series through a roof-top NEMA 4 box.
The output cable (app. 85 feet) to the control cabinet is 6/3 tray cable.

pv control cabinet nema 4 combiner box
This NEMA 4 telephone cabinet contains the following:
Three CF-125 / 15 amp circuit breakers.
One Trace Photovoltaic Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter.
Three Eaton Heinamann / Lucent 10 amp - 65 vdc rated circuit breakers.
Three Morningstar ProStar 48 - 15M charge controllers.
Because of shading problems, each array has its own charge controller.
Numerous distribution and splicer blocks.
Class R fuse blocks to protect the lighting circuits.
Class T fuse blocks to protect the inverters.

48 volt battery bank

Six Trojan T-105 six volt batteries wired in series for 48 volts.
Please note the Class T fuse and shunt for the Tri-Metric 2020 battery
system monitor.


10 watt BP Solar
This 10 watt BP Solar module is use to maintain the
battery on a motorcycle.
Its output is fed through a 4 amp Steca charge controller.
The rack is aluminum square tubing and angle.      


solar powered attic fan

We have two of these solar powered attic fans.
I installed them back around 1985 and they still operate
fine today.
Current production fans are much more efficient and cost
less than these early models.

Two of our stock buildings have small muffin fans attached
to weather-tite vent stacks.
These are powered by Arco Solar Genesis G-100 (5 watt)
thin-film modules.

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