Bush pole solar panel stand

So a while back a friend gave me twelve second-hand yet hardly used 68W BP solar panels (possibly unused – they were apparently originally from the Sydney Olympic village all those years ago and were still in their packaging). I set up six on a small ground-mounted aluminium rack I had laying about (my roof faces east and west, so not so good for mounting panels to) but then had nowhere to mount the other six, so they sat outside in their cardboard boxes for months. Until there wasn’t much left of the boxes…

Yesterday I finally decided it was time to do something about it.

With plenty of trees on our bush block the obvious choice was to cut down a few eucalyptus saplings, knock the bark off, cut them to length and build a frame out of them.

After about a days work under the hot (what happened to Autumn?!) sun here’s the result:

solar-panel-frame

As I sit here they’re happily pumping approx. 20A at approx. 30V (about 600W) into my batteries, according to the charge controller.

Some of the poles ended up being a little on the thin side once I got the bark off, but they will be easy enough to replace down the track if they crack and get a bit weak as they dry. It’s a bit “rustic”, but hey, it works, and all it cost me was a few dozen screws. I’m happy!

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