Thursday, February 21, 2013

Chapter 68...Mounting Solar Panels On Shipping Container

Off Grid...Chapter 68

It is now time for the second half of our new solar set up.

Friday 6-5
Well it's a really good thing we got all the batteries and panels moved yesterday because it looks like a rainy day. Yuk!!

I had to take a picture of the cows this morning because they all seem like they want to come in. I'm not sure if they are fascinated by "Mr. Frog", who has found a new home on or patio, or they want the straw.

The cows have been very quiet this year and the babies are hardly ever around. In a way it's a good thing but I miss 98. He was so friendly in a "baby bull" kind of way, lol.

Before I get into the solar wiring let me give you a quick review on how an off grid solar set up works. There are 4 main components to make a solar system. The solar modules, the charge controller, the battery bank, and the inverter.

The solar modules(PV Panels) are wired through a charge controller before it goes to the battery bank. The charge controller prevents the batteries from being overcharged and it also eliminates any reverse current flow from the batteries back to the solar modules at night.

The battery bank stores the energy produced by the solar array during the day for use anytime day or night. The battery bank is wired to the inverter.

The inverter is an electronic device that converts 12volt DC into 110AC. It allows the use of all household appliances including TV's, power tools, washing machines, vacuum cleaners, and kitchen appliances

Ok now that we all understand how this works it's time for a quiz, lol. Only kidding but now I can move on and I won't lose most of you.

Mike got the charge controller and the breaker box hooked up for the first 6 panels.

Woo hoo. Now we can charge the batteries. Unfortunately we don't have any sun.

After doing that we make a platform for the generator to sit on. Eventually we will also make a cover for it.

We got rained out for the rest of the day.

Saturday 6-6
The sun is out and it is a busy day for Mike and I. Right now we have half of our solar panels installed and charging our batteries. Mike is working on the second charge controller for the second "set" of 6 panels.

While Niki watches from the shade.

For the rest of the afternoon I worked on my garden and got all my plants in the ground. C'mon little guys it's time to grow, lol. Mike continued working on the solar set up.

Later on we decided to work on the walkway together. When we took apart the battery box we had some patio block underneath. We decided to re use these leftover blocks to make a walkway form our drive to our patio.

First Mike rakes the straw away so we can place the blocks.

Then he starts digging out a spot for the block. This way it will be recessed into the ground and we can mow right over it.

Seven blocks later and we have a new walkway.

Then we add more seed and more straw.

After dinner we went back up top. Mike worked in his building while I did some landscaping. We have some wash out in our new clover on the hill. I filled about 20 buckets full of dirt and poured them into the ruts. I'm still not done but it is a start.

Sunday 6-7
Uh oh, we woke up this morning and the turkeys are having a feast with the seed on our front lawn. We love all animals until they start costing us money. I told Mike to go dump some grass seed outside our fence, lol.

Mike got both charge controllers on the wall.

Then we raked, seeded. and put seed on the land next to the green building.

Raking and cleaning the land/hill next to the gray building.

We finished our day by going over to the other property to mow and weed eat.

Monday 6-8
Back to the solar set up. It's time to get the next set of panels mounted on top of the building.

Mike pre drills the holes in the panels to mount the brackets to.

Then Mike gets on the roof and I start handing him the brackets and panels 7,8, and 9.

Now it's my turn. I climb the ladder to the top of the roof. While I hold the panels in line Mike bolts the brackets on.

The panels and the brackets are all bolted together.

Then Mike bolts all of it to the roof.

Next Mike starts the wiring for the second charge controller for the second set of panels.

Then Mike starts working on the second combiner box for the second set of panels. The solar panels have 2 wire each a negative and a positive making a total of 12 wire for each set of 6 panels. Mike will hook the solar panel wires into the combiner box and bring out only 2 wires(1 negative and 1 positive) which will go inside the building, to the charge controller, and to the batteries.

Mike works on pre drilling the brackets for the last set of panels. We will install those in the morning.

The first of our building vents is installed. Mike is working on a better system for venting but this is a start.

More seed and curlex for the side of the gray building.

Tuesday 6-9
Today is going to be the hardest day of all for our solar panel move. The last 3 panels going up are right at the edge of the building which will make the installation a little tricky. It's almost like the panels were made specifically to fit our building. lol. We have to keep the ladder on one side and bring the tractor bucket up to the back edge of the building. We will have to stand/sit in the tractor bucket to get the last 3 panels up. It's the same routine as before. Mike climbs up, I hand him the brackets and panels. Then I climb up to hold the panels while Mike bolts the brackets to the panels.

Working at the edge of the building with the panels.

Lowering the panels down.

I am in the bucket holding the panels so they don't fall while Mike bolts them into the building.

Finally all the solar panels are on the roof. Woo hoo. It's a perfect fit. Hopefully we will never have to move these panels again.

While Mike finishes connecting the last panels I go and work on another project. We have a few things to finish before our front wall on the house can be backfilled. The drain pipe that is behind the wall needs to be covered with gravel, covered with weed cloth, and then more gravel on top to hold it in place when they dump the dirt. The weed cloth keeps any dirt out of the pipe and the gravel helps filter the water.

Here is the pipe that I will be covering.

Here I am in the hole putting the weed cloth and gravel in.

I fill some buckets with gravel and dump them on the pipe, put the weed cloth on top, and then more gravel.

That is all for this chapter. All of our solar panels are on the roof and Mike has everything hooked up. Now we just have to run the wire from the building to our house in a casing and then underground. That will be for another day.



  1. It is really interesting and fun to watch the process............... solar panels cost

  2. Thank you for providing the information. I would like to see some more blogs on this topic.. solar pv

  3. wowww.....Great informative blog.............. solar pv

  4. Thank you. There is too little "real" information on this without people getting way over technical.