Phase 2, Adding Three 15 Watt Northern Tool Solar Panels



Northern Tool sells 15 Watt solar panels for $79 on sale.  If you find that it is on sale online, print out the ad, and take it with you.  They will honor the price in the store as well.  A nice part about these panels over the Harbor Freight ones, is that these have a plastic frame with mounting tabs.  Very easy to mount these.  The downside is there's no telling how long the plastic will last the UV exposure.


Three Harbor Freight 15 Watt panels on the left, a single Northern Tool 15 Watt panel on the right.  Hours of fabrication on the left, minutes of installation on the right.  The Northern Tool panels are a bit more expensive ($79 vs. $66 each).  Either brand works well, I'll buy whatever is on sale.


Total of 95 Watts so far.  The 5 Watt panel of the left was my first small step into solar power.  It was used to run a solar fan.

The three panels on the left are Harbor Freight 15 Watt panels, the three panels on the right are 15 Watt Northern Tool panels.  All the wires tuck into the end of the ridge vent.

I have another 45 Watt kit almost ready to install.  I need to make up another frame, as shown in the first part of this article.

To route the wires inside the house, I removed the end plug on my ridge vent and snaked the wires through the opening.  The plug was pushed back into place, forming a tight seal against the wires.  A year in rainy Florida, no leaks.

Six 15 Watt panels, producing a total of 4.26 Amps/hr.  5 peak hours nets over 21 Amps per day.



A total of 95 Watts on the roof at this point.  This is about when my solar array became functional, moving from a hobby level to useable power.  This is discussed in detail in another section.


Phase 3, Upgrading The Charge Controller





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Last updated 04/23/08    All rights reserved.