Add some more DC Solar – Part 1

We are in Week 8 of Covid lockdown and I wanted something to do on the weekends and as I haven’t done much on my power wall of late I figured adding more solar would be a good small project.

My shed currently has 12 panels and the lean-to has enough room for 6 panels. I found 8x 250w panels and racking with tilts on Facebook Marketplace for $500, and so I set my mind on getting them onto the lean-to.

The panels are SunGrow 250w panels with the following specs:

Pmax: 250w
Current at Pmax (Imp): 8.15a
Voltage at Pmax (Vmp): 30.7v
Short Circut Current (Isc): 8.63a
Open Circuit Volatage (Voc): 37.4v
Dimensions 1640mm x 992mm x 50mm

The racking was in decent condition, only a few of the stainless bolts were ceased. I soaked in some WD-40 and all came loose.

First I started to clean the panels. It’s a horrible job. I used window cleaner and some paper towels. They don’t look dirty at first glance, but when you start cleaning them you realise just how much crap builds up.

Clean panel

My next problem was the lean-to. It has C channel spaced 1.5m apart, If I mounted the racking to the existing C channel I would be lucky to get 10cm of overhang as the panels are 1.6m long. I decided I had to add an extra C channel to the lean-to before attempting to mount the racking. A friend of mine had a length of 100mm C channel – Perfect for the job. I cut it into two pieces the correct length and then made four brackets to mount them to the lean-to.

The new C Channel
The new C channel with homemade bracket.

I’m now ready to start mounting the racking, a job for next weekend.

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