This post documents the steps to mount a 120W solar panel to a pole.
I chose to use aluminum angle to construct my solar panel frame.
I cut through the aluminum angle using a hacksaw.
I drilled the holes into the aluminum using a drill press and a hand drill.
To protect the steel pipe from the elements, rust, and corrosion, I sprayed it with a cheap, $1 can of black spray paint.
The pole is concreted into the ground with rebar. I used 230 pounds of concrete. The pole is plumbed to keep the pole perpendicular to the ground, letting the panel naturally balance on the pole without putting strain on the pole to either side. But when the wind blows, it pushes on the large panel, so to keep it safely secured in the ground, I used concrete.
How do you know how deep the hole should be? How big should the hole diameter be? I referred to a chart at homepower.com. PDF File
VIDEO – Putting the pole in the ground with conduit and concrete
Conduit shields the electrical cables going from the solar panel to the house. How do you get conduit out of the boxes anyway? I think I spent way too much time trying to figure it out, trying to find the end of the conduit so I could pull it through the box. It may be easier to cut the box all the way open and remove the entire coil of conduit from its box. If you plan on using all the conduit for one job, why try so hard to preserve the box?
VIDEO – Frustrating Conduit Box Dispenser
In the next video, the solar panel is finally mounted to the top of pole and locked with a chain. The solar panel can be manually rotated on the pole and aimed at the sun. To demonstrate that the panel is producing power, I show in the video how it can charge a portable 12V battery and power an air compressor. The air compressor performs useful work, inflating the tires on my son’s bicycle.
VIDEO – Using an extension cord to transfer power from the solar panel to the house.