After Buying my 150 watt solar panel I needed to find a way to set it up. Since we were installing adjcent to my house an external metal roof for a patio I said why not install the panel onto the metal roof. After buying the brackets and accessories, I realise that the orientation of the panel about 65 degrees and onto the sunset area. Which meant that the panel would only get the full sun in summer from noon till 4 pm and winter time at noon till 3 pm which is very little.
So I turned to the idea of buying a frame that I can setup my panel and put in onto my roof that will be exposed longer to the sun. The issue again was that its was difficult to find the frame locally and getting one online prove to be very expensive at the 75% of the price of my solar panel which I quickly dismissed the idea.
Step 1: Finding the Materials to Build the Solar Panel Frame
While I was maintaining and cleaning my yard I found long pieces of metal scattered around which were originally used to build shelves or "Adjustable metal Frame shelves". These were very basic pieces of metals that have been rusted due to being exposed to the elements such as water, air, sun etc.. I found many pieces around my yard which I gathered and put in an area to let them dry and remove any debris found on them.
Once dried and a bit cleaned I began to arrange them according to their size and length and shape. From there I can choose which ones that I would need, pick them and modify where needed be.
Some parts list for the project:
- Metal frames (Adjustable metal frame shelves)
- 6 Nuts and 6 Bolts
- 6 Rawlplug and 6 screws
- Drill to drill holes
- Hammer to insert the rawlplugs into the roof
- Saw to cut the metal pieces and other things
- Marker to mark out the holes to drill and to mark where to cut
- Another person would help in gettting the job faster and easier but not mandatory
- Screwdriver to screw in the screws
-Tools to tightened the bolts
Step 2: Choosing and Modifying the Metal Frames
From the metal frames that I had, I found matching parts which I came up lucky as I had 2 pairs of the same size and length. The other pair one was longer with 90 degree angle and other one shorter and flat which I had to modify.
First I got my tools, then use the short flat one and stack it next to the longer one where I marked the end of the shorter one. From there I took my saw and began to cut the excess bit to finally have both pieces of equal length.
Step 3: Assembling the Structure/frame and Bolting to the Roof.
In order to assemble the structure, I bought bolts and nuts which will be used to secure the frame to each other and the solar panel. First thing I did was to layout the solar panel face down to reveal the back. Then I put the metal frames on both sides and align the holes with the metal frames. Afterwards I secured the frame and the solar panel by securing them with the nuts and bolts.
Then I put the solar panel upright whereby a bolt was inserted into the frame and then the other metal part was attached and secured with a nut loosely so that I can adjust the frame. the same process was repeated onto the other side.
Then I moved the panel into its place where it will be bolted to the roof so that I can adjust its angle for maximum sunlight exposure during the day. From there I added the two metal frames on each sides bolt them to the hanging metal frames on the two sides. One last single metal frame will be added to the from of the panel to prevent it from sliding to the front.
Once everything was in place, I used marker to mark the holes that needs to be drilled in on the frames at the back which were 4 in total and then removed the solar panel to reveal the one in the front and mark two holes where it will be drilled into and be attached to.
Once all markings where completed, the solar panel was removed and drilling started for a total of six holes. Afterwards Rawlplugs, a total 6 were inserted into the holes and the metal frame from the front was put in first over its holes and screwed into place. Then the solar panel was put back into its location leaning against the front metal frame that we just put into place and then align the metal frame at the back over the holes and then screw in the screws to secure the metal frame and stabilising the whole structure.
Thats it the retaining frame structure is complete, later on I dissambled everything to paint each part and then reassemble them. I did that since it will be exposed to the elements as seeing the damaged done previously I decided to add some layers of paint to protect it and make it last as long as it can.
This is an entry in the
Epilog X Contest