One thing I briefly mentioned in my post about Solar Panels is that we are mounting them on a pole. We are doing this because we have a flat roof on the cabin that we may eventually build a deck on. Additionally since it is a flat roof the snow will accumulate and block the panels in the winter. A top of pole mount allows us to leave the roof clear, avoid having snow block the panels, and have the ability to adjust the angle of the panels seasonally.
When searching for top of pole solar mounts I learned a few things:
- They are on the pricey side considering there is no electronics involved.
- Wind is the biggest thing to be worried about but snowload is also a concern.
- The pole used is big heavy and requires a really large hole.
The price is what it is and we ended up with a good deal.
The wind in our area is not too bad. We do not get tornado’s, yet, so nothing special needs to be done. The snowload for our area is on the bubble for the mount we purchased.
Top of pole solar mounts do not come with a pole. That is because they require a very large steel pole that would be really expensive to deliver. Instead we had to make a trip to a local steel shop to buy a 12′ 4″ 40 series steel pipe. Its big and heavy.
Next the mount manufacturer informed us that the pole needs to be set in a 58 inch deep 24 inch wide hole. Digging a hole that big by hand would be a difficult job. In our case digging that hole by hand is pretty much impossible because our soil is clay and compacted.
To dig this hole we need a mechanical auger. A 24 inch auger:
The hole now needs to be filled with concrete. The volume of concrete needed for a hole that size is about 2/3’s of a yard of concrete. That’s about 26 80-lb bags of concrete. Fortunately we found someone who can handle a load that size and are hoping to have it cemented in tomorrow.
The plan is to have the panels mounted and connected this week. Very exciting.
The wiring from the panels to the cabin are going to be buried. I dug the trench for that today. I am very tired now. Good night.