Installing the Enphase Inverters

The team from Real Goods Solar completed the racking today, and also installed the remaining 40 Enphase micro-inverters.  They ran wires through the conduit to the East gable, and installed the load center under the North gable.  They did well during a very hot and sunny day.

When Bryan returned to the site after attending an ‘administrative matter’ in downtown San Jose, he was delighted to find that our new aluminum manhole ring and cover were delivered today.  The manhole cover goes over our vertical culvert.

Using Enphase Micro-Inverters

In our original design for our solar photovoltaic panels, we had planned to have two inverters, both located in the East Mechanical room.  After learning more about photovoltaic panels, we decided to use micro-inverters on two of our six arrays, which would have been 16 micro-inverters.  After Jonas Villalba reviewed our installation plans, he recommended that we go to 100% micro-inverters.  The benefit of micro-inverters is that it makes each of the photovoltaic panels in the system independent of the performance of the other photovoltaic panels.

In an array of photovoltaic panels that are connected to a single inverter, the electricity generated is a function of the performance of the photovoltaic panel producing the least amount of electricity.  This means that is one panel is dirty or has degraded performance, for whatever reason, all of the other panels in the array connected to that inverter will have their output reduced.

During the time from the original design to the change to 100% micro-inverters, the cost of micro-inverters dropped.

Thus, we increased the number of Enphase micro-inverters to 48.

Each of these micro-inverters has to be installed individually, which was completed today.

Our Aluminum Manhole Cover

The water from under the foundation goes through a drainage system and ends up in our vertical culvert.  From the vertical culvert, we have two sump pumps (one is redundant) that pump the water up and into our underground cistern.  From the underground cistern, we irrigate our draught-tolerant landscaping.

The vertical culvert is approximately 17 ft deep and has an inside diameter of 36 inches.  We have a ladder that goes inside the vertical culvert for maintenance and servicing of the sump pumps.  The vertical culvert needs a safe and secure cover.  We decided to have Barry Foundry of Birmingham, Alabama manufacture our manhole cover using aluminum.  We chose aluminum to reduce the weight of the manhole cover and to avoid corrosion.

The aluminum manhole cover, and ring, arrived today.

Way cool …


The aluminum manhole cover and ring, sitting on top of the vertical culvert. We need to cut the vertical culvert so the manhole cover is at grade.


The vertical culvert, and aluminum manhole cover, is at the top of the stairs and will be a feature of the house.


The project manager for the on-site work by Real Goods Solar, Bryan McFarland, sets up to pull the first set of conductors through to the array on the East gable roof.


The racks to hold the photovoltaic panels are completed on the Upper Flat roof. The Enphase micro-inverters are installed on the racking system.


The Enphase micro-inverters are being installed on the racking system. Note the Enphase box, which holds 10 micro-inverters.





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