Solar power notes

Russell Bateman
March/April 2022
last update:


28 March 2022 Installation of rails, Soladaks, inverters and rough electrical.
6 April 2022 Installation of panels and finish electrical.
April 2022 Provo City Power inspection.
9 May 2022 Received e-mail authorizing system turn-on.
9-17 May 2022 Worked through missing PV meter problem.
17 May 2022 System turn-on.
May 2022 System generating up to 60kWh on sunny days.
February 2023 Installation of Enphase battery.
??? Commissioning of Enphase battery.

Observed during installation...

Installation photos...

Various details

Rooftop rail mount.

Installed inverter.

Soladak junction box.

Fire-stop door in attic
(garage/shop side)—cabling
from other Soladaks in main
house roof.

Cabling down from Soladak into attic over mezzanine (right leg)
and from other Soladaks (left
leg); these are daisy-chained.

Soladak cabling down from attic
(right leg) through mezzanine
over garage/shop to Enphase

Electrical panels

Wiring of Enphase Combiner.

Roof mounting railing

Note Soladak—gathers
cabling from panels and
conveys to Enphase Combiner
via attic.

Note Soladak. There is one
of these per group of panels.
Loosely, these are called
"strings" even though the
panels are independent unlike
a string of panels connected
in "Christmas-tree" fasion.

Unorganized photos

Channel/rail on way up to roof.

Mounting of channel/rail to

Brackets are pre-tarred and
ready to lag to roof with screws.

West-facing installation.

Inverter cable and connector.

Back of panel (inverter is
mounted on the rail;
connectors on panel leads at bottom).

Back of Q Cell panel.

West-facing panel mount.

South-facing roof with
mounting rails.

Carrying panel from truck.

South-facing access.

Bottom of back of Q Cell panel.

Inverter detail before

West-facing installation

Rail and mounting bracket detail.

Rail and mounting bracket detail.

Rail cross section detail.

Back of Q Cell panel
—connectors that go to the microinverter.

South-facing installation

South-facing installation

South-facing installation

Cabling in new PV meter base.
Someday Provo City says there
will be a meter there, but
they're out of them and,
anyway, they don't rely on
that meter to measure
photovoltaic power (but on
the new "Net metering"
meter replacing my old one).

Loop-back cabling added to
original service entrance.

Loop back intercepts in-coming
Provo City power to subpanel,
then subpanel ties in
photovoltaic power, then
back to the main cut-off
in service entrance.

Left to right: combiner
disconnect (rapid shut-down)
and PV meter base (before
nicer clear-plastic cover.

Disconnect and PV meter base
with nicer plastic cover.

The electrical installation.

New grid power meter (Net metering-ready) performs
same function as original

Detail inside the combiner:
for each of the three "strings"
coming down from Soladaks,
there is a breaker.

Inside the Enphase Combiner,
the "cloud" LED isn't lit
because system isn't talking
to the Internet. The other two
are lit (solar arrays active).
After turning the system on
I had to configure this box'
connection to a wireless-
access point.

Inside the Enphase Combiner,
all three breakers—one for
each "string" (2 × 20 amp
plus 1 × 15 amp)—are now in
the "on" position.

Instructions for system turn-on...

The images containing large, red-outlined numbers are from Titan Solar's instructions for the initial system turn-on. However, they're from a canonical recipe that doesn't match my own installation.

  1. My system's "PHOTOVOLTAIC DISCONNECT" isn't in the service entrance (figure 1) whose cut-off breaker would bring the whole house down. Instead, it's to be the loop-back subpanel (2, 3) bearing a red label marked, "PHOTOVOLTAIC AC DISCONNECT" and likely the leftmost breaker.

    1. Provo City Power
    service entrance.

    2. Loop-back subpanel (left) from
    Provo City Power service entrance.
    (Shown opened with two breakers
    —the right one cuts house power and
    the left one connects the photovoltaic system.)

    3. Loop-back subpanel.

  2. The "PHOTOVOLTAIC DISCONNECT" is this subpanel. The label in question is red.
  3. Here's where the instructions go seriously downhill. Underneath my Q Cell panels are microinverters that transform the direct current output from the panel to alternating current. There is no "inverter" as part of the electrical panels per these instructions. Instead, what's pictured looks a little like the photovoltaic meter base.
  4. And, of course, the whole point is that, as of 11 May 2022, my system still has no photovoltaic-system meter.
  5. This instruction is for naught because there is no "inverter" that's part of the exposed electrical system. Here is the entire system spread across the south, outside wall. Not one of these boxes or panels is labeled as an "inverter." From left to right:

    1. combiner,
    2. photovoltaic disconnect,
    3. photovoltaic-system meter base,
    4. loop-back subpanel and
    5. Provo City Power service entrance.

  6. Same puzzlement as #5 just above.