I started rather small with solar just using an initial 16 panels by Renogy that were rated at 100 watts each. I decided to initially go with setting them on my patio and use 4 in series and 4 in parallel. This means that the parallel would increase the wattage flowing in to the charge controller and the 4 in series would increase the voltage. The panels are rated at 12v, so it would be 12v x 4 panels = 48v. This seemed like enough to charge my 36v packs, so I just went with this initially.
This was the initial roof mounting plan, but we didn't quite make it to the roof yet.
After a while I realized that the panels I had would no longer be sufficient for the battery, so I looked around for something that I could get shipped for less than the pallet rate of ~$500 and came across these Mighty Max solar panels. They are a little shorter and wider than the Renogy panels, but should be okay at 150 watts. I bought 14 of these panels without thinking about the configuration. I just looked at the limit I had on a the 60A charge controller for a 36v battery and went with that listed wattage limit. I later purchased two more so that I could have a 4s, 4p configuration similar to the Renogy panels. Then the Renogy panels were on sale, so I bought enough to max out the charge controller (28 in total). I plan to wire the Renogy panels in a 7s, 4p configuration, which will increase the voltage, but keep the wattage the same. This allows the use of smaller gauge wire without the losses whereas if they were in 7 parallel there would be higher losses of power from using cable or I would have to buy thicker, more expensive cable.
This was a new plan to at least mount the 150w panels. I put arrows where I hoped that there would be studs/rafters and decided to cut the rails to save some money.
The cutting and painting process wasn't all that exciting. I got a mini metal say with tungsten blades to chop the rails and I got a paint spray gun with white primer+paint all in one. The superstrut rails may rust when exposed to the elements, so I painted it with outdoor grade paint to mitigate that for a while. Sorry no picture of the little saw of the cutting process.
With everything cut, it was time to take to the skies...or at least the roof. When I started working I realized that it might be better to modify the design to be a 4'x2'x4' instead of switching the 2' section between the ends. I'm sure that in the end it won't really make that big of a difference.
After quite some time of bringing everything I needed up then gluing down flashing and a riser, I was ready to screw down the rail sections and get my first rail mounted. Only 7 more to go for this set of panels!
Here you can see where I cut into the old generator exhaust to utilize it as a conduit for the wires to connect to the charge controller. To the right, you can see where I've mounted 8 panels to the roof and wired all 16 (unmounted panels not pictured).
Not exactly permanent, but I have all 28 100 watt panels wired up on the roof (plus you can see the other 16 150 watt panels on the other section of the roof). This is all the panels I have totaling 5200 watts or 5.2 kilowatts! I'm excited to try out having all these connected on a sunny day. I already produce too much power for the current 120 amp hour battery. It is getting to be time to make a bigger battery, but I need to find motivation to keep processing cells. Maybe this will give me the push that I need?