Power System Installation
Power systems mounted on pipe stands and systems with pedestal bases can mount permanently to concrete pads or deck grating. Identify correct southerly orientation before beginning installation of solar power systems.
Skid mounted systems should be set on a pre-leveled area with solar panels facing due south.
Solar Panel Array
Orientation: The orientation of solar panels is critical to the performance of the system. Position the solar panel assembly so the panels face DUE SOUTH. If in doubt, use a compass.
Shading: The solar panels MUST NOT be shaded by obstructions such as trees, bushes, buildings, fences, or other structures. Check for shadows cast by antennas, towers, poles, and other solar arrays. The sun's position changes seasonally, so check for unforeseen shading. For best operation, set solar systems in a wide clearing, away from vegetation. Even small amounts of shading can significantly reduce power efficiency.
Panel Tilt: Generally, the tilt angle of the panel should be set for the location’s latitude plus 15 degrees. Solarcraft array frames are preconfigured for 45° and 60° for most USA locations. Some larger systems are built with a specified tilt angle for a particular location.
Identifying the Panel Connections: For Kyocera and BP solar panels with junction boxes, the white wire is positive and black wire is negative.
Deploying the Array: Enclosure mounted array frames are typically shipped with the frame folded down. For detailed instructions on how to open and securely deploy the array, please click here.
Multiple Panel Solar Array Deployment Guide
Power System Batteries
Most Solarcraft power systems are shipped with batteries installed and fully charged. Batteries are operational when the charge levels measured at the battery breaker are in a range shown below.
12 Volt System
12.4 or higher
24 Volt System
24.8 or higher
48 Volt System
49.6 or higher
Upon initial start-up, the Low Voltage Disconnect (LVD) of a UPS system may be activated until the system is connected to line power.
Storing Systems: Solar Power Systems can be stored outside with the solar and battery breakers on, and the load breakers off so the batteries remain charged.
UPS Systems can be stored with proper AC voltage connected to the AC input and the battery breaker on to maintain charge levels.
If the systems are stored without a power source connection, ensure the battery breakers are switched off. The batteries should be checked every few weeks to monitor the charge levels. For a 12V system, do not allow the charge levels to drop below 12.2V; for a 24V system do not allow the charge levels to drop below 24.4V; 48V not below 48.8V.
Battery Wiring: On all systems, a red wire is positive and black wire is negative. On 24V and higher systems, a 10 gauge white wire is sometimes used as the interconnection on the batteries to make the series connection. For larger systems, a black 8 or 6 gauge wire is used for the interconnection.
Solarcraft DC-UPS systems have a built in circuit breaker on both the input and output, with load breaker size listed on the label.
Common Sense Safe Battery Handling and Storage:
- When handling batteries, remove rings and jewelry.
- Do not handle near heat, sparks, or open flames.
- If battery case is broken, avoid contact with internal components.
Protect battery cases from physical damage to avoid leaks and spills.
- Do not allow conductive material to touch the battery terminals. A dangerous short-circuit may occur and cause fire and battery failure.
- Keep water, combustible materials, organic chemicals, reducing substances, metals, and strong oxidizers away from batteries.
Gel type sealed lead acid batteries used in most Solarcraft systems require no water or maintenance. Do not attempt to add water or break the battery seal. Inspect the batteries every six months. If corrosion accumulates at the battery terminal, shut down the system to clean them.
Gel Type sealed lead acid batteries do not require water. Do not open battery cases to add water. Keep battery terminals free of corrosion accumulations. Do not attempt to clean the terminals when the system is operational. Turn off all breakers and remove all fuses. Remove corrosion with a stainless steel wire brush, avoiding contact with the skin.
After cleaning the cable lugs and terminals, replace and tighten the bolts, wait 30 minutes, then retighten. Always use split ring lock washers on the battery terminals to retain terminal pressure even if the battery post yields. After completing all the battery connections, you may coat the terminals with anti-corrosion spray or paste.