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I've been looking at installing solar panels on my roof since I bought the house 1.5 years ago. I'll probably do all the work myself, and just have an inspector sign off. So ideally I'm looking for a full kit that includes everything, so I don't have to spend tons of time making sure I have every little piece.

I stumbled across Ingrams Water and Air last year and found this kit: Talesun AC Solar Kit
Then just today noticed they have new Canadian Solar AC panel kits as well:Canadian Solar AC Kit

Just looking for some input. Any experience with either manufacturer? Which would you buy? Know of any other full kits?
Thanks in advance! :)
 

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If you go to these guys they will build a complete custom system with all the attributes you desire or require:
http://www.solar-electric.com/

The issues can be with the AHJ (Authority having Jurisdiction i.e. code dudes), they will want a drawing and sometimes an Electrical Engineer sign off or even a Structural Engineer sign off as well. They may have their own special requirements too, like mine now requires a 3 foot set back from the roof peak to allow the fire department access to vent smoke in the event of a fire.
 

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AC kits? Why not just get a grid-tied "basic" Solar PV system? What does AC have to do with anything? Companies like wholesalesolar.com have kits.

If you want to DIY you need to spend dozens of hours learning the codes, learning install methods, making sure you are not going to fail an inspection before you begin. If you really want a good Solar PV system done right, the extra to spend on an installer is worth it.
 

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Apparently in Connecticut you are only allowed to have a system that is sized to something like 40% of your electric usage, as measured during the previous years history. This way the electric company can still have a large market share.
 

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AC kits? Why not just get a grid-tied "basic" Solar PV system? What does AC have to do with anything? Companies like wholesalesolar.com have kits.

If you want to DIY you need to spend dozens of hours learning the codes, learning install methods, making sure you are not going to fail an inspection before you begin. If you really want a good Solar PV system done right, the extra to spend on an installer is worth it.
AC panels have the micro inverter built onto the back of the panel. I need micro inverters due to shading issues, and the AC panels are a good way to save labor. Plus its a 25 year warranty on both panel and inverter.
I already know a lot of the codes and install methods, it really isn't very difficult. If you've ever heard the name Wiley, well I sit about 25ft away from the guys who design the WEEBs.
I'm very capable of handling an installation myself, so why would I double the cost to pay someone to do it?
 

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Ok, AC panels. Well, you can still get microinverters from various kit-sellers. It adds to your price versus string inverters. Mine are from PowerOne and their string inverter has two MPPT inputs so you could deal with some shading issues with a PowerOne Aurora that way. However, if you have shading issues - how much? Shading causes lower output from a solar PV array and in the end, how much are you losing to shading (ie. is it a chimney, one tree, lots of trees)? I rarely hear them called AC panels. Always hear the term "micro-inverters", though. Micros exist from three companies now. SMA, PowerOne and Enphase. By the way - Enphase is a company you say has the 25 year warranty but they are also a company who has not yet had a profitable quarter as a public company. So, having them around in the out-years may be questionable. I would say buy one or two spare micro-inverters just in case. Probably is the same issue with just about every solar pv company right now - nobody knows how long most of them will be around.
 

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Ok, AC panels. Well, you can still get microinverters from various kit-sellers. It adds to your price versus string inverters. Mine are from PowerOne and their string inverter has two MPPT inputs so you could deal with some shading issues with a PowerOne Aurora that way. However, if you have shading issues - how much? Shading causes lower output from a solar PV array and in the end, how much are you losing to shading (ie. is it a chimney, one tree, lots of trees)? I rarely hear them called AC panels. Always hear the term "micro-inverters", though. Micros exist from three companies now. SMA, PowerOne and Enphase. By the way - Enphase is a company you say has the 25 year warranty but they are also a company who has not yet had a profitable quarter as a public company. So, having them around in the out-years may be questionable. I would say buy one or two spare micro-inverters just in case. Probably is the same issue with just about every solar pv company right now - nobody knows how long most of them will be around.
You're not understanding the kits... They are called AC modules because the micro inverter is INTEGRATED into the back of the panel. The Talesun modules use integrated SolarBridge inverters, and from what I have read, Canadian Solar developed their own microinverter, but I'm not sure if that's entirely true. The 25 year warranty is offered by the panel manufacturer, both of which are quite large. String inverters typically only have a 10-15 year warranty.
The shading is from a few trees between me and my neighbor. I haven't worked out exactly what shading percentage, but I'm working on that.
I have gotten quotes from a couple installers, and both recommended I go with micro inverters.
 

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I've been looking at installing solar panels on my roof since I bought the house 1.5 years ago. I'll probably do all the work myself, and just have an inspector sign off. So ideally I'm looking for a full kit that includes everything, so I don't have to spend tons of time making sure I have every little piece.

I stumbled across Ingrams Water and Air last year and found this kit: Talesun AC Solar Kit
Then just today noticed they have new Canadian Solar AC panel kits as well:Canadian Solar AC Kit

Just looking for some input. Any experience with either manufacturer? Which would you buy? Know of any other full kits?
Thanks in advance! :)
You don't have to go with a complete kit for everything. I would say the mounting hardware would be the only thing you need to order as a kit if you're wanting to save the time and headache.

I installed Talesun 235W panels and using the Enphase M215 microinverters. My hardware was custom using unistrut.

My DIY'er cost....

Inverters: $0.60/W
Panels: $0.66 /W
Shipping: $0.27 /W
Custom mounting hardware: $0.53 /W
Inverter gateway device (Enphase Envoy): $460

Total.... about $2.34 per watt, $2.82 per watt with local helping-hand type labor.

If you go with an installer, I've seen numbers from $5 to $6 per watt.

I bought my panels and inverters from Dan Elliot at http://www.solarexpress-usa.com/ . He will make sure the panels are compatible with the inverters, but just to make sure go to the enphase website and you can download the panel compatibility list. (http://enphase.com/module-compatibility/) To get the best price you need to get a complete pallet of panels, instead of breaking a pallet (extra fee).

So the only thing you have left to order is the mounting hardware and electrical equipment (disconnect/wire).

CivicSolar (http://www.civicsolar.com/) seem like they have some good prices on hardware. My friend used them for his hardware installation. All the electrical you can get local.

I think once you call some of these guys and understand the components, you'll be glad you didn't go with a complete kit. Especially if you're going DIY.

Have fun!
 

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Apparently in Connecticut you are only allowed to have a system that is sized to something like 40% of your electric usage, as measured during the previous years history. This way the electric company can still have a large market share.
Not true I Just went to a new construction building which when finished should have no energy coming in from the street during day light hours it was a HUGE system with three inverters in the garage area. Solar hot water and heat pumps for their heat..


it was a small house 12,000 sq ft and only 6 million to build ;)
 

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I would probably put the Solarbridge microinverters (made by Celestica, an outside firm which is in China) as a fourth-best choice for micro-inverters behind the other three I mentioned. But they could be worth an experiment in using them on the DIY system to save money. Like techtom says, part it out and get a good rack, choose good modules and choose a good micro-inverter. Consider modules like Suniva 260W or larger modules and either the new Enphase 240W (or is it 250W) or either PowerOne 250W or SMA 250W. The Enphase 215W would also work and they clip at 225W, which is basically what you get on a cold, bright winter/spring day. No matter what you do, going with a name brand with millions of units installed (in terms of Enphase) would make me choose them over Solarbridge.
 

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Try DMSOLAR.com they have complete kits at very competitive prices. I put in a 7.5KW system last august and have produced 1MWH more power than I have used since then. After City & Federal rebates my total out of pocket cost was $1800. I installed a micro-inverter system - easy to install and 25 year warranty on Panels and Inverters.
 

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I haven't looked at inverters much. most kit sellers tend to use enphase. I would think the warranty worry would be for the panels output any how. in that I would stay away from any panel maker that's not attached to a megacorp. Hyundai, bp, solar city, sharp, and the one attached to Honda would be good sources. you don't want to have a 25yr output warranty and 10yrs down the road be at 40% and the panel maker folded 5yrs ago. think solyndra or those peel and stick panels still for sale on ebay.
 

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Try DMSOLAR.com they have complete kits at very competitive prices. I put in a 7.5KW system last august and have produced 1MWH more power than I have used since then. After City & Federal rebates my total out of pocket cost was $1800. I installed a micro-inverter system - easy to install and 25 year warranty on Panels and Inverters.
I have been thinking about DM solar lately, do you mind sharing some information on your experience.

  1. Did you install yourself or found a contractor that would agree to install the Kit.
  2. Is the documentation that comes with the Kit well done and detailed.
  3. Did you have to provide electrical schematics for the permit (what state are you in?)
Thanks
 

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... The issues can be with the AHJ (Authority having Jurisdiction i.e. code dudes), they will want a drawing and sometimes an Electrical Engineer sign off or even a Structural Engineer sign off as well. They may have their own special requirements too, like mine now requires a 3 foot set back from the roof peak to allow the fire department access to vent smoke in the event of a fire.
Same happened to ours. Our installer submitted about 12-page packet to the utility and to the city which included lots of drawings and the Structural Engineer they hired demanded a redo of the planned layout for roof loading.
 

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I'm very capable of handling an installation myself, so why would I double the cost to pay someone to do it?
Agree with you in concept, but the reality here in our area, the cost is not double, but at least quadruple, if you include the tax credits, local and state rebates. The installers add your rebates on top of their profitable basic cost and pocketing all the money. Talk about fleecing out the taxpayers. If you install the system yourself, even without rebates, it is less than half of what the installers would want from your pocket. As for me, instead of rebates, the money should be better spent on city personnel that will provide free service to help you with the paperwork and installation, providing you up to date services with codes, for free. It would be really wise use of money rather than the greedy installers jacking up their prices simply because they know you are going to have tax credits and rebates.
 

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Agree with you in concept, but the reality here in our area, the cost is not double, but at least quadruple, if you include the tax credits, local and state rebates. The installers add your rebates on top of their profitable basic cost and pocketing all the money. Talk about fleecing out the taxpayers. If you install the system yourself, even without rebates, it is less than half of what the installers would want from your pocket. As for me, instead of rebates, the money should be better spent on city personnel that will provide free service to help you with the paperwork and installation, providing you up to date services with codes, for free. It would be really wise use of money rather than the greedy installers jacking up their prices simply because they know you are going to have tax credits and rebates.
I think that is mostly from a lack of competition. Here the installers are actually pretty fair, if you figure a system installed is about $2.50 to $3.00 a watt just for components. I got a quote a while back for under $4.00 a watt installed, with all quality components, permitting and design included.

The installers can do better on component prices if they buy in bulk, but that is only marginally true.
 
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