Installation of an 11.5kW Photovoltaic System
Sunny Hill Farms, Oregon


Installation date: February/March 2006
(web page last updated 8/5/06)

Prep Work:
- Site inspected for sun exposure and ease of installation
- Energy savings and cost calculated
- Form sheets for ETO, BETC(Oregon), and PGE (my utility, Washington County) filled out and sent in
        (for federal tax credits, check this page, or check out an overview, here)
- Permits applied for (electrical - others needed if system is >200 sqft)


The site:  2/10(Fri):              2/16(Thu):          3/08(Wed): (power on)

General Contractor: AES (Electrician: Dell's Electric, Eugene; system design by MRR Richards, Eugene, frame design and manufacture by Direct Water and Power, Albuquerque, NM, frame installed by Dave Allemann and AES, finished work inspected by Washington County, the ETO and PGE)


Start-Day (Monday, 2/6):
Dave dug the post holes  - for the foundations of the poles which will support the frame - with an auger

Tuesday 2/7
Dave dug the trenches using a ditch witch
  required trench depth for cabling is: 18"
 
When a property has been landscaped, etc., the shortest route may not always be possible.
The trench goes all the way up to the house and will need to be expanded along the house wall, but there was not enough room along the wall to go through with a ditch witch.
Wednesday 2/8, Thu 2/9
Laying the conduit for the cables in the trench, Delivery of base poles, cross bars
Frame metal (Direct Power and Water - nice n sturdy) and PVC conduit arrived.   

The trench is curved around the picnic area.


 
Justin cut the poles to length, etc.. (Thursday)
As you can see the sparks were flying.

6 boxes of hardware arrived

Friday 2/10
Pouring the concrete for the support poles
Next to the pole you can the conduit  - no cable inside, yet. The ends are closed off to prevent dirt from falling into the conduit. MiniMix delivered the concrete and "AAA Concrete Pumping" (Milwaukee, OR) pumped it to the target spots.
Concrete wash out - something you're likely to face, since the concrete pump hose needs to be cleaned out on site after the concrete is pumped. After having pumped all the necessary concrete into the holes dug for the support poles, the hose needs to be washed out. Dave A. reduced the amount of waste concrete by using the wash-out cycle to fill the last post holes with concrete
One of the employees of the concrete pumping company is cleaning his pump truck. They were considerate in the way they dealt with the concrete wash-out. They made sure the wash-out would not be a problem afterwards (after all it IS concrete). Before this picture was taken, the employee actually had a trough underneath the truck to collect the debris.
Delivery of the PV Powered inverter
Delivery of the reverse meter and the Fronius inverter

 

2nd Week

Monday 2/13
Smooth the edges The person who installed the frame (see picture) is Dave.

Prep work on brackets, etc, for the frame and modules

 

Additional protection on support poles - this frame has to last 30+ years! :)
Reduce the risk of corrosion by using a plastic spray between various metals (Al and stainless steel, in this case)
 (Wow! Dave just thought of everything! Experience does count!)
Prep work on the Inverters begins: Paul and Mike from Dell's Electric start to mount the support frame for the inverters. They find the studs in the wall, pre-drill for the lag bolts, fill the drill holes with sealant
Result: go from this:to this:

Tuesday 2/14

Rain or shine - the crew worked diligently, mounting plywood (PT) onto the metal frame (easier to mount devices onto). Mounting two cable channels Justin unpacks and preps the modules
Installing the breaker box . Preparing the protective pipes for the cables between the cable-channels and the inverters/DC disconnects/counter/breaker box.       meanwhile the lower frame gets shape , . .. then the upper

 Wednesday 2/15

inverters, DC disconnects, breaker box and counter are all mounted (no cables pulled, yet)      meanwhile the upper frame is done and ... ...the modules are all unpacked and prepped.. ...and Justin started mounting them  

Thursday (2/16)    

more modules (panels) mounted.

 

Friday, 2/17 was part of the long weekend, so no work was done on the system, ...

... but I did receive the Fronius DataLogger card (gets inserted into the inverter - pwr through CAT5 cable connector )

(page 2)(the installation is shown in 3 phases - one page per phase)