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Solar pre-wire


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By DCG in Lago Vista, TX on 6/3/2008


Anyone one have comments or suggestions on pre-wiring for solar - or type of setup suggested?

Perhaps just conduit runs that are capped pre-roofline? 

I'm finding that solar isn't cost effective today - other than solar water heating, but we'd still like to prep for it..


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By Grant in Blacksburg, VA on 8/1/2008


I'm thinking the same way... Pre-wire for future PV system, and immediately install  solar water heating. The advice I read was conduit runs from the utility room to the roof. 

Please keep us informed on what you do. I'm in the early planning stage and probably won't break ground for another 12 to 18 months.

Regards,

LGW


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By Gordon in Elkmont, AL on 8/24/2008


I had a separate panel installed for those circuits I expected to run on PV and then had a conduit run up to where I would expect to connect on the roof.  So I am ready once I can afford to get started.
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By Grant in Blacksburg, VA on 8/25/2008


Just a little more information than I provided previously...

While PV may not make financial sense "today," you are perfectly right that it makes financial sense today to pre-wire for it.  But pre-wiring isn't the only preparation you should consider.

The slope and direction of the panels is critical to PV performance.  You must also consider the location of chimneys, trees, and other obstructions that can shade the panels. 

I have designed my roof and the alignment of my house, so that it will have the ideal slope and direction for PV.  Part of this "planning" went into the lot selection as well.  By having an ideal roof slope, I have prevented the added future expense of racks to get the proper angle. 

I've also decided to spend a little more up front for a 16" standing seam metal roof.  This will reduce the cost of adding PV later, because there are PV strips that will adhere to the valleys between the seams.  With such a system all roof penetrations can be planned to go under the cap on the ridgeline.

If you are considering "solar" for energy efficiency and cost-savings, I hope you are also looking at solar hot water heaters.  They make financial sense to install today. 

Without re-typing all of my research on this topic to date, here are links to a thread I started where I am discussing my solar options:

ownerbuilderbook.com/Message17646

ownerbuilderbook.com/Message17916

ownerbuilderbook.com/Message17842


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By Pat in Arnold, CA on 8/26/2008


We are pre-wiring our house for solar.  However, putting solar panels on the roof isn't optimum because they can't track as the sun rotates.  We are putting all our panels on two poles that have software to track the rotation of the sun.  As the sun moves the panels will follow it. It really isn't that much more expensive to have them "tracking" verses "non-tracking".
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