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Author Topic: Crazydane's 32 kw solar array build feeding 16 kw worth of miners  (Read 1949 times)
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crazydane
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January 15, 2018, 02:00:57 AM
Merited by VoskCoin (25), senseless (5), vapourminer (2), OgNasty (1), Hueristic (1), naypalm (1), Kapz786 (1)
 #1

I figured I'd start a thread detailing my 3 stage (so far) built out to what is currently a 128 panel, 32 kw solar array to assist with offloading the cost of my mining operation.

It all started during the summer of 2016, before I got into mining.  I just wanted to generate my own power, but still be connected to the grid via an arrangement known as net metering.  In a nutshell, that means that when I generate more power than I use, my meter runs backwards, and I'm credited at the same rate I'm billed, for any power I put back into the grid.

I have 2 buildings on my property, the main dwelling with a 400A service, and my shop building with a separate 400A service.  When I inquired about going solar and wanting to connect all the panels to the shop building, I was told that was a no no since the shop building used very little power on an annual basis compared to the main dwelling.  So I had to disconnect the service at the shop, and instead, have the house be the single service entrance, which would then have to feed the shop and have the solar farm connected to it.

So in order to accomplish that, I had to first have the power to the shop building terminated.  POCO come out and drop the lines feeding the service to the shop:



I then dug up the 500 MCM Al cables between the pole and the shop, and dug a new trench from the house to the shop, to drop them back into:



What a mess that was...  500 MCM cable is pretty damn stout, btw:



So in order to meet code, I had to get a 400A safety disconnect and since I wanted to have a whole house backup generator, a 400A transfer switch.  The POCO was kind enough to drop off a new 320A meter base (transient rating is 400A), so that I could do all my prep work prior to the cut over.  So here are all 3 pieces prior to installation:



Here's the new meter base and safety disconnect mounted with the existing service just "flapping in the air":



Called the POCO back out, and it took me about 45 minutes from when the cut the power at the pole, to pull the old meter base and replace it with the 400A transfer switch and get everything wired to the point they could restore power:



After the "ground work" inspection, I was then able to back fill the trenches and seed:



So now I could finally prep for installing the first solar array, which consisted of 56 panels mounted on my shop building roof.

Here are the panels and assorted hardware:





I started by installing all the mounting brackets on the roof and then the bottom skirts:



After a few days, I was about half way there (I'm doing all this solo, btw):



6 days later I was down to the last panel:





Now it was time to do the electrical work.  The 56 panels on the roof consists of 4 strings with 14 panel in each.  I use micro inverters that are rated for 250W, so each string can generate up to 3,500 watts @ 240V.  Here's what each panel looks like before mounting on the roof:



So the DC voltage from the panel if fed into the inverter, which in turn puts out 240A AC which is then connected in series with the other panels in each string:

At the end of each string, there is what is know as an "end-run connector".  It simply terminates the AC voltage to 10 gauge wire, which is feed down to a 20A breaker:



All 4 end run connectors are then combined into a single run down into the breaker panel:



And here are the 4 solar panel strings terminated into 20A breakers in the sub-panel:

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January 15, 2018, 02:04:02 AM
Last edit: January 15, 2018, 03:47:22 AM by crazydane
 #2

The 24 panel ground array consist of panels identical to what is on the roof array.  Being that the array was located on recent back-fill, I decided to play it safe and do a full footer pour.



With the core frame in place, it was time to add the aluminum rails the panel were to rest on:



Panels all in place:



Backside showing the micro inverters at each panel"



You can see this is just before the end-run connectors were wired in.

This 24 panel ground array was broken into 2 12 panel strings, with each string returning to a 240V 20A breaker.

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January 15, 2018, 02:04:30 AM
Last edit: January 15, 2018, 11:34:37 AM by crazydane
 #3

The original shop roof mount array and the ground mount array installed at the same time, provided an 80 panel system capable of producing 20 kW.  For my latitude, that works out to around 2,200 kWh month averaged out over a year.

This was more than enough to cover all my energy needs, which was pretty high to begin with.  But once I started mining mid summer last year, I quickly found my consumption outstripped my production, so I decided to add another 48 panels via a pair of 24 panel arrays.

The panels have arrived.  These are rated at 280w where the previous ones were 260W.  Not a huge difference, but I'm curious how many kWh they will produce in the real world compared to the older panels.



I got the tube framing in place and the rails on the 1st array:



And about 50% done mounting panels:



All done:



For the power back feed, I decided to get a single exterior rated 200A panel, and consolidate all 128 panels to this one location.  I tapped the 400A shop sub-panel meter base as follows.  Note that ground and neutral are kept separate since this is a sub-panel off the main service entrance at the house:



And the 200A tap runs to the right towards the 200A solar sub-panel:



And here's where the 3/0 Cu cable terminate in the solar sub-panel.  The pic was taken before the ground wire was run.

And shot of the dedicated solar sub-panel with the roof and initial ground mount strings being connected to the grid:

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January 15, 2018, 02:05:23 AM
Last edit: January 15, 2018, 12:31:17 PM by crazydane
 #4

I have a couple of different methods to monitor my energy production and consumption.  Each array cluster has what is known as a solar gateway that collects data from all the micro-inverters to provide stats on how my energy each panel produces in real-time.  Each micro-inverter is equipped with a low power Blu-tooth transmitter to communicate with the solar gateway.  The solar gateway has an Ethernet connection to my LAN.

Here's a view of the initial 24 panel ground mount array, showing the power being generated by the individual panels:



So drilling down to this level of detail is great for trouble shooting performance issues with individual panels and/or inverters.

For my location and with my current setup with 128 panels rated at between 260W and 290W, my monthly production should be something like this:



Here's a look at my actual power usage and cost over the last several years:



My first array came online in December 2016, and you can see from the above chart that by March, 2017, I had reached a point where I was producing more power than I used.  So the only thing I had to pay for was the monthly service charge of $31.73.

Then in July 2017, I started mining and it quickly got to the point where my miners were sucking down way more power than I was able to produce.

I recently installed a system that allows me to track both usage and production.  Here's a look at the summary dashboard from this application:



From here I can drill down into various graphs to look at individual stats.

Here's a view of my solar power graph from yesterday:



Some clouds rolled in during the afternoon as you can see from the drop in power levels starting around 2pm.

Here's another view showing my actual kWh production yesterday:



So just under 120 kWh.

Here's a view of all my power consumption yesterday:



So a little under 15 kW plus whatever household appliances happens to be running.

A view of the net power consumption yesterday with the power produced from the solar arrays subtracted:



Since I have a current transformer connected to each circuits that carries miner related loads, I'm able to track consumption down to that level.

Here's a view of the miner dashboard I created.  It shows daily power, in kWh, consumed by each rig (or rigs connected to a given breaker circuits), and well as the power level usage throughout the day:



In order to track power at the circuit level, I had to install energy monitors at each breaker panel.  Here are the monitors installed at the 2 main panels:



I have similar energy monitors installed at the network/server sub-panel, as well as the shop sub-panel where the solar panels are located.
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January 15, 2018, 02:19:13 AM
Last edit: January 15, 2018, 02:38:56 AM by cashen
 #5

Very nice.
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January 15, 2018, 02:27:05 AM
 #6

Wow, thats a lot of work. Your area looks very similar to mine in the Appalachians.
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January 15, 2018, 02:42:38 AM
 #7

That's awesome - I've seen a lot of people on reddit talk about the feasibility of doing a solar mining operation. Looks like a great project - I'll follow.

I think you could do a blog on a place like steemit and probably get a few people interested. It's a bit hit and miss over there sometimes in terms of what gets popular but you could make a few bucks if the right people read about your project, plus you've already done the work by posting about it here.

Do you already have the miners all set up, or will you get them (or more) once the solar system is all up and running?

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January 15, 2018, 02:51:38 AM
 #8

Very nice. I'm in Western Australia so we get sun for most of the year. I max out my inverter during the day but of course get no use out if it at night.

Will get great when battery storage comes down in price in a few years.
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January 15, 2018, 03:03:14 AM
 #9

Good project Dane! I have done similar with 21.6kW panels / 5kW miners. Very fun and satisfying synergy.
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January 15, 2018, 04:24:01 AM
 #10

Good project Dane! I have done similar with 21.6kW panels / 5kW miners. Very fun and satisfying synergy.

Yeah this has always interested me. I sometimes 'feel bad' about pulling electricity for mining, which is mainly coming from non-renewable sources (although where I live the council/government is trying to increase its amount of renewable energy).

Having a clean mining operation is great, because you get all the benefits of mining, without the added electricity consumption pumping out fossil fuels and adding to your quarterly running bill.

           ﹏﹏﹋﹌﹌ WPP ENERGY ﹌﹌﹋﹏﹏
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≈ WORLD POWER PRODUCTION ≈


【 BACKED ASSET GREEN ENERGY TOKEN 】
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January 15, 2018, 04:26:51 AM
 #11

Very nice. I'm in Western Australia so we get sun for most of the year. I max out my inverter during the day but of course get no use out if it at night.

Will get great when battery storage comes down in price in a few years.

If you are generating an excess amount of energy because of extra solar panels, with a net metering setup with your local electricity provider, you could use the excess electricity generated in the morning at night. Usually tho they buy your electricity at a reduced price from what they sell it at but if you have a large solar array then you should also be able to offset electricity expenses at night time.

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January 15, 2018, 05:05:29 AM
 #12

Very nice. I'm in Western Australia so we get sun for most of the year. I max out my inverter during the day but of course get no use out if it at night.

Will get great when battery storage comes down in price in a few years.

If you are generating an excess amount of energy because of extra solar panels, with a net metering setup with your local electricity provider, you could use the excess electricity generated in the morning at night. Usually tho they buy your electricity at a reduced price from what they sell it at but if you have a large solar array then you should also be able to offset electricity expenses at night time.

Where I am unfortunately we only have 1 energy provider and they basically have a monopoly on the service.

We get paid 0.07 cents a KW for unused surplus energy that goes back in the grid but that's all.

"Perth may be one of the most isolated cities on the planet (it’s closer to Singapore than Sydney, and closer to Jakarta than Australia’s capital, Canberra), but it’s also one of the sunniest. In fact, it’s officially the sunniest capital city in the world, with an average of eight hours of sun per day, year-round. "

Unfortunately that means the energy provider likes to keep profits up and with the plunging price of solar electricity there is little incentive offered
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January 15, 2018, 06:19:39 AM
 #13

Very nice. I'm in Western Australia so we get sun for most of the year. I max out my inverter during the day but of course get no use out if it at night.

Will get great when battery storage comes down in price in a few years.

If you are generating an excess amount of energy because of extra solar panels, with a net metering setup with your local electricity provider, you could use the excess electricity generated in the morning at night. Usually tho they buy your electricity at a reduced price from what they sell it at but if you have a large solar array then you should also be able to offset electricity expenses at night time.

Where I am unfortunately we only have 1 energy provider and they basically have a monopoly on the service.

We get paid 0.07 cents a KW for unused surplus energy that goes back in the grid but that's all.

"Perth may be one of the most isolated cities on the planet (it’s closer to Singapore than Sydney, and closer to Jakarta than Australia’s capital, Canberra), but it’s also one of the sunniest. In fact, it’s officially the sunniest capital city in the world, with an average of eight hours of sun per day, year-round. "

Unfortunately that means the energy provider likes to keep profits up and with the plunging price of solar electricity there is little incentive offered

have you thought about adding other forms of renewable energy? like wind turbines? there some really good ones these days, also what about power storage all the extra panels only do soo much good, you produce enough that energy storage should be something you might wanna look at, ive been looking to do solar and wind myself but am limited by the size of my property. Washington state has some great solar incentives like getting paid more if you get certain things that are made in the state like the solar panels and inverter

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January 15, 2018, 06:26:47 AM
 #14

Nice work.  Cool

With 16kw of miners your solar panel investment should pay off pretty quickly.

Looking forward to more updates.  Wink
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January 15, 2018, 06:29:53 AM
 #15

Rserved - Part 4 Energy production, impact on power bill, and tracking usage vs. production.

which site did you order the panels and micro inverters and everything else needed? I'm curious

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January 15, 2018, 06:54:45 AM
 #16

Very nice. I'm in Western Australia so we get sun for most of the year. I max out my inverter during the day but of course get no use out if it at night.

Will get great when battery storage comes down in price in a few years.

If you are generating an excess amount of energy because of extra solar panels, with a net metering setup with your local electricity provider, you could use the excess electricity generated in the morning at night. Usually tho they buy your electricity at a reduced price from what they sell it at but if you have a large solar array then you should also be able to offset electricity expenses at night time.

Where I am unfortunately we only have 1 energy provider and they basically have a monopoly on the service.

We get paid 0.07 cents a KW for unused surplus energy that goes back in the grid but that's all.

"Perth may be one of the most isolated cities on the planet (it’s closer to Singapore than Sydney, and closer to Jakarta than Australia’s capital, Canberra), but it’s also one of the sunniest. In fact, it’s officially the sunniest capital city in the world, with an average of eight hours of sun per day, year-round. "

Unfortunately that means the energy provider likes to keep profits up and with the plunging price of solar electricity there is little incentive offered

have you thought about adding other forms of renewable energy? like wind turbines? there some really good ones these days, also what about power storage all the extra panels only do soo much good, you produce enough that energy storage should be something you might wanna look at, ive been looking to do solar and wind myself but am limited by the size of my property. Washington state has some great solar incentives like getting paid more if you get certain things that are made in the state like the solar panels and inverter

I definitely don't have enough space for turbines. I don't know if you know much about POWR ledger? It's a great blockchain project it would really benefit someone like me if introduced to my area as I could basically "sell" my surplus solar for credits that I could then maybe use at night when I am not generating anything.
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January 15, 2018, 12:33:17 PM
 #17

Do you already have the miners all set up, or will you get them (or more) once the solar system is all up and running?

Miners are up and running already.  Please see my updates in the 4th post.
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January 15, 2018, 12:37:18 PM
 #18

Very nice. I'm in Western Australia so we get sun for most of the year. I max out my inverter during the day but of course get no use out if it at night.

Will get great when battery storage comes down in price in a few years.

Do you not have a net metering arrangement with your power company?  I'm basically using the grid as my battery.  Any excess energy I used during the day is pushed into the grid, and I'm credited the exact kWh I push in, and I then pull those back out at night, plus whatever additional kWh I need.  If I push in more than I use over time, I build up a "bank" of kWh with the POCO.  Before I started mining, I had build up a bank of well over 1,000 kWh.
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January 15, 2018, 12:48:33 PM
 #19

Rserved - Part 4 Energy production, impact on power bill, and tracking usage vs. production.

which site did you order the panels and micro inverters and everything else needed? I'm curious

For the 2 most recently installed ground mount arrays, I ordered the panels and mounting hardware from Renvu the last time they ran a special with free shipping.

The micro-inverters, solar panels, end run connectors, and associated cabling and such, I ordered from Streakwave.

Rough ball park on cost:

$200 280W Solar Panel
$100 250W Micro Inverter
$50 Solar Gateway
$20 End Run connectors
$20 Y-Cable

So to build a 24 panel array, you would need:

24 panels
24 inverters
24 Y-cables
1 Solar gateway
2 End Run connectors

So about $ 7,770 for a 6.72 kW array.  To this you have to add the cost of ground or roof mounting, plus conduit, wiring and breakers, to tie into your existing system.  Doing everything myself, I've been able to keep the cost down to about $1.25 - $1.50 per watt.  Most solar companies offering turn-key solutions charge between $3 and $5 per watt.
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January 15, 2018, 10:02:44 PM
 #20

Very nice. I'm in Western Australia so we get sun for most of the year. I max out my inverter during the day but of course get no use out if it at night.

Will get great when battery storage comes down in price in a few years.

If you are generating an excess amount of energy because of extra solar panels, with a net metering setup with your local electricity provider, you could use the excess electricity generated in the morning at night. Usually tho they buy your electricity at a reduced price from what they sell it at but if you have a large solar array then you should also be able to offset electricity expenses at night time.

Where I am unfortunately we only have 1 energy provider and they basically have a monopoly on the service.

We get paid 0.07 cents a KW for unused surplus energy that goes back in the grid but that's all.

"Perth may be one of the most isolated cities on the planet (it’s closer to Singapore than Sydney, and closer to Jakarta than Australia’s capital, Canberra), but it’s also one of the sunniest. In fact, it’s officially the sunniest capital city in the world, with an average of eight hours of sun per day, year-round. "

Unfortunately that means the energy provider likes to keep profits up and with the plunging price of solar electricity there is little incentive offered

have you thought about adding other forms of renewable energy? like wind turbines? there some really good ones these days, also what about power storage all the extra panels only do soo much good, you produce enough that energy storage should be something you might wanna look at, ive been looking to do solar and wind myself but am limited by the size of my property. Washington state has some great solar incentives like getting paid more if you get certain things that are made in the state like the solar panels and inverter

I definitely don't have enough space for turbines. I don't know if you know much about POWR ledger? It's a great blockchain project it would really benefit someone like me if introduced to my area as I could basically "sell" my surplus solar for credits that I could then maybe use at night when I am not generating anything.

haha lol not the ones your thinking of, not those HUGE ones that you see along the road, theres  really good residential ones now that are small and nice looking, couple that I looked at did 3 phase AC, small enough for a property like yours you could have multiple which would give you some power generation at night

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