The solar shed: Part Two

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The solar shed gets its fit out
In Part One I did some planning and built a base.
    Now I build the hybrid post & beam / regular wall frame which I clad with 1/2″ exterior grade plywood.
Using a hybrid pole barn / regular wall I built an 8x8 frame for my shed.
Using a hybrid post and beam / regular wall I built an 8x8x10 frame for my shed.

Then I clad the shed and put on the roof.

The first cladding of the solar shed is complete. Let the rains come.
The first cladding of the solar shed is complete. Let the rains come.

Now I have to figure out how to get my panels to swing back and forth into Spring/Fall, Summer and Winter positions.

After some head scratching and soulful staring at my pocket book I decide to use dock hinges. In my area I am lucky to find a source for Unirac racking. In the old days, the add on bits are expensive. But, as I come to understand, “it is what it is.”

I mount my unirac with bolts to a pressure treated 2×10. Then mount dock hinges to the 2×10 and to the roof.

Sounds simple

For the roof of the solar shed I use 2x6s. I then put a 2×6 across the front of the shed rafters. I reinforced this 2×6 with screw attached metal brackets. Where the dock hinges attach I put another piece of 2×6 between the rafters and glue, screw and nail into the cross plate until it i solid. Each hinges attaches through a 4×6 solid piece of wood locked into the rafters.  I put a piece of flashing over the face to protect it from the elements.

The hinges bolt through a 4x8 reinforced roof member.
The hinges bolt through a 4×6 reinforced roof member.

The rafters are toe nailed and Simpson hurricane ties lock them down.

Now to lift the rack into the air and attach it to the hinges mounted on the solar shed roof.

Panel rack up on the shed.
Panel rack up on the shed.

Note the hinge bolts. Nice beefy 1/2″ers with washers. Three (now 4) years up and not a problem or movement. Sweet.

I got really lucky here. After assembly I thought, this weighs a couple hundred pounds, how the heck… So I took a couple of yellow straps, tied the metal unirac to the fork lift bars I have for my tractor FEL and hoisted them into the air. Whooop. Up they went. Cool. I said. And I drove over to the shed to see how they fit. Boy it looked good. I grabbed the hinge bolts and ran up the ladder. The hinges were fitted right in place. Nice.

Five minutes later the hinges are locked in. Time to put up some panels.

One, two, three, four, ah ah ahh, four solar panels.
One, two, three, four, ah ah ahh, four solar panels.
Socked jaw

Remember how lucky I got putting the rack onto the shed. Well… I had built a jig to hold the panels to the tractor FEL while I put the bolts in. Only I hadn’t counted on any wind. As I brought panel two up to the shed a wind picked up out of the north. And guess what, it whistled around the corner of the shed, caught the panel, knocked it onto the arms of the FEL which guided the 50 lb panel directly towards me.

Managed to get my arms up and throw the panel off the tractor onto the ground. But not before the panel gave me a good sock in the jaw.

Above is a picture of me putting the last two panels up with the rack at “flat” and no lifting the panels up to a vertical rack. Much less tooth rattling.

And no real damage done, other than to my ego.

There you go. Four panels up in the air. Each set of two panels is combined. These are 48v class panels combined in parallel for 48v at 11 amps dc. Total I have 1kw of panels mounted here.

Wanna instruction book?

For more detail on this build: I’m thinking of writing a booklet with more diagrams and better instructions. If you’re interested in purchasing this booklet, price of $3, let me know. If I get any interest I’ll write the dang thing. Thx.

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