In this post I will describe the principal external components and the general approach to this job. I'm not going to include precise measurements or detailed instructions because (1) installation principles have already been described by others, especially the solar equipment vendors, and (2) we may be the only T1N Interstate owners on the planet who choose this particular solar array and installation strategy, and therefore it's not worth it for me to over-do the details. There are easier ways to do this type of project, and there certainly are cheaper ways. If any reader does decide they want more information on this exact installation, please contact me via interstate.blog -at- gmail and we will chat.
So here goes my attempt at giving a general orientation and a "feel" for the project.
Grape Solar model called GS-S-100-TS.
|Tap to expand for clarity. I'm adding this excerpt from the technical data sheet (PDF link) to distinguish this panel from other models, some of which appear similar but are lower efficiency and different construction (and less expensive).|
|By coincidence, these panels were exactly as wide as the rails, literally to within millimeters. Photo taken by me standing on the roof. You can see my husband to photo right, standing on the Telesteps 1400 E ladder that we keep in our Interstate.|
|I think they were happy to receive our rather large order. These photos are from the packing materials.|
|Tap to expand for clarity. This is a simple diagram that will be reflected in the next few photos to follow. |
Thanks to Dave's Place for the base image.
|Here is the installed combiner box with the cap off, shown penetrating the side of the fridge roof vent.|
|Screen replaced on vent, but rain shroud not yet in place. Note that there is an elbow conduit visible just to the right of photo center. That part did not come with the combiner box - my husband added it to protect the wire.|
|Wire then comes down through the fridge cavity and proceeds below the cavity floor (we did this part of the installation while replacing our Dometic 2351 refrigerator which is described in this post). The solar panel wire is zip-tied to the existing bundle to keep it from interfering with the fridge.|
|Here's a closer view of a conventional attachment mechanism for direct on-roof placement, photo screengrabbed from this forum thread. I believe that some folks use only adhesive - no screws.|
|We used our drill press to punch new holes in the Grape Solar panel frames for our non-standard attachment to the 80/20. A hand-held drill would have posed a risk of punching through the glass panels themselves.|
|The panels attach to the 80/20 rails using these stainless steel assemblages. The "tongue" slides into the slots in the 80/20.|
|This is a cross section, so that you can see what I mean by "slots".|
|Every part of the 80/20 system goes together with its own special hardware.|
|It takes a special tool to reach in there and tighten.|
|Close-up of one part sliding into another. The end is threaded so that a protective cap can be screwed on.|
|There's the finished assemblage, back side, with everything tightened up.|
|Front side view.|