Phase 4, 130 Watt Kyocera Solar Panel Installation


So what did you do with your Government Stimulus Check?  I decided to buy something that would be useful for years to come.  In this case, a Kyocera KC130TM 130 Watt solar panel.  It was on sale at the time, just under $600.00.  That's under $5 per Watt, which is generally considered a good deal.  Kyocera has a reputation of producing high quality panels.

I've been using the Harbor Freight and Northern Tool 15 Watt panels for about a year.  They do perform well, but they aren't built like this panel.  The Kyocera comes with a heavy duty aluminum frame that makes it EASY to mount.  The Harbor Freight panels are a challenge to mount, and the Northern Tool panels, while easy to mount, use a plastic frame that may not last long term in the UV rich Florida environment.


A happy day.  The panel arrived and was left at the front door.  The box was a little damaged, but the panel was fine.

The silicon type panel on the left is 130 Watts.  The Amorphous panel on the right is only 15 Watts.  If space is premium, silicon panels are the way to go.  It would take nine panels on the right to equal the one on the left.  But both perform well, and the Amorphous panel actually does better on cloudy days.

Before hauling this beast on the roof, I tested it on the driveway.  This is the no load Voltage.  The day was slightly overcast, so I expect this to peak closer to 22 Volts on a better day.

Fairly close to the rated 7.39 Amps.

The spec sheet on the back of the panel.

The panel has a weather tight junction box on the back.  I used 10 gauge stranded wire to connect it to my system.

So how big is a 130 Watt panel?  I'm 5'11".  This is about as heavy as I'd want to carry up a ladder.

I bought some Z-Brackets intended to mount solar panels to RV roofs.  Since I don't plan on changing the angle, and my roof is facing South, these are ideal.  Provides about 2" of clearance under the panel for cooling.  The panel stays at a low profile since Tropical Storms and Hurricanes are a threat 6 months out of the year.  I used stainless steel lag bolts and washers to attach it to the roof.  Total of 16 bolts.  This isn't going anywhere unless the roof goes too.

I have been asked how I get the wires inside the house without having to make more holes in the roof.  I pulled the rubber end plug out of my ridge vent.

There's already a hole into the attic.  The cables fall into the attic.

The rubber plug is crammed into the end of the ridge vent once again.  Makes a nice seal against the wires.  Not had any leaks, even in driving rain.  The plug is a friction fit, so it can be easily removed as needed.

The ridge vent has small weep holes along the edge, allowing tie wraps to fasten the cables about every 6 inches.  I do need to put some split loom over the wires as the UV rays are already discoloring some wires.

My array for now.  45 Watts of Harbor Freight panels, 45 Watts of Northern Tool panels, and a 130 Watt Kyocera panel.  Not shown is another Harbor Freight 5 Watt panel on the other side of the roof (my first panel).  Total of 225 Watts, which should produce about 12 Amps in full sunlight.

View from the opposite end.  Lots of room for more panels.  Wish I had the budget to cover the entire roof!  Someday...


Phase 5, Installing A 30 Amp ProStar Controller





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Last updated 10/07/08    All rights reserved.