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Discussion Starter #1
Here are some pics of the small pole barn I built this summer. I needed a structure to mount my solar collectors, and I always need more storage space, so I decided to build a custom pole barn. It's 15' x 24' with 8' walls. The roof trusses are designed to fit 16 3'x8' solar thermal collectors at the optimum winter angle.

Twelve 10" poured concrete pillars with simpson 6x6 column bases.
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Posts and headers going up.
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Building the trusses.
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Setting the trusses.
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Ready for siding.
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Pretty nice. When you installing the panels? What's your location?
 

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I'm in eastern PA. I was hoping to get the solar collectors up before winter just so they are not taking up space in the garage, but I'm not sure I'll get around to it until spring. There will be a 750 gallon water storage tank inside the shed, as well as all the pumps and controls. Hopefully there will be enough room left for my 4120 and 345.

Here's a few more pics with the siding on.
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Very professional looking. Can you explain how the blocks are held in place that are holding you on the roof?
 

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Looks very professional!

Very very interesting. So you are going after the solar water heating setup rather than solar electric? :munch: (The 750 gallon tank was my first hint.) I can't wait to see the finished results!



I don't think I'd cling to any roof like you were in that last picture. Maybe when I was younger..... Are you related to Spiderman?:mocking:
 

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That's a friend of mine climbing the blocks, I was safely on the ground taking pictures. He's like a monkey, no fear of heights at all. When we put the roof on we didn't have the 32' ladder to reach the top. Each one of those blocks was screwed in with one 3" deck screw! On the way down he removed the blocks and filled the holes with the correct screws. Looking back on it we should have waited for a ladder, but I guess we just wanted to get the job done. The hardest part was putting the roof panels on the back side of the front roof. That lip sticks up 6' past the peak. We built a small wood scaffold off of the rear roof purlins, but it was still quite a reach.

The system will supplement the radiant floor heating in my home. Water in the 750 gallon storage tank is heated when the sun is shining. The heating system controller monitors the tank temp, if temp is sufficient to meet the current heating load it pulls heat out of the storage tank (through a heat exchanger) and pumps it through the floor. If not sufficient it switches back to the oil fired boiler.
 

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That's pretty cool. Thanks for sharing your project! :hi:


Sent using Tapatalk.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
More progress

Wifey wanted goats, so I put the solar project on hold for a while. I added 12' to the lower end of the building, half for the goat stall and the other half to store their food and supplies. Same construction as before, but rafters instead of trusses. Because of the slope here there is a 3' drop to the floor level of the new addition. I poured a concrete retaining wall on what will be the interior of the building, and built stone walls on the outside.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Next job was fencing. The fence is probably over-built for two little dwarf goats, but they say if a fence can't hold water it won't hold goats. They also say the grass is always greener on the other side, now I know why. Maxed out the 400CX building Goat Mountain.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Solar Panels

Solar panels finally going up. We put them up in sets of four, 600 pounds per set. Used the 4120 to set them in place on the tracks, then pulled them up from the other side by cable. Yes they are tilted, and yes it is on purpose.
 

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I somehow missed this thread initially. What is the fluid you are going to use in the system in the collectors? Will the fluid be on a timer to start circulating, or a temp sensor, or will it always recirculate? Any details on the heat exchanger and what type of lines are you running to the house?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
The collectors have thermistors in them. A controller compares the collector temp to the tank temp, when the collectors reach a preset differential it turns on the pump. It varies the speed of the pump to maintain the differential for maximum efficiency and prevent short cycling. It's a drainback system, when it shuts off the fluid drains back into the tank to prevent freezing. At each startup there is a booster pump that runs just long enough to fill the collectors and get a siphon going, then it drops out and the variable speed pump takes over. The drainback design eliminates the need for Glycol and all of it's disadvantages. The heat transfer fluid will be water with corrosion inhibitor, monitored for proper pH.
The 750 gallon storage tank will be underground. It's a rubber lined fiberglass tank with 4" foam insulation. The heat exchanger is a 100' coil of 1" copper pipe submerged in the tank. The lines running to the house are GT Globe Thermoflex, two 1" PEX inside 6" black corrugated pipe and filled with foam insulation. The heating system water runs through these pipes and the copper coil. Domestic hot water gets heated by this same water going through an indirect water heater.
I rented a trencher this morning, took about 4 hours to make the 6" trench 100'+ long. I also rented a core drill to punch through the wall. It was my first time using one, I couldn't believe how quickly it went. An 8" hole through 8" concrete took about 15 minutes.
 

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May I ask what the rental cost was for the core drill? I just finished a ~3.5" hole in my foundation for a future sump pump drain, and I couldn't justify the $200 - $300 they wanted for one here.

Since I have more time than money, I made a stackable drill guide from plywood and used my rotary hammer with a 3/4" bit to drill 12 holes and chip out the remaining plug. It's not as pretty as a core drill; but it worked.

Action pictures are on my buddy's phone, and I haven't gotten them yet.
 

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The drill rig was $58 for 4 hours or $80 per day. A 3.5" diamond bit is $30/$44. The 8" bit was $54/$84. I bought the full day ($164) plus the trencher ($165) but I returned them an hour early and they actually gave me $38 bucks back!
 

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Thanks for sharing the project can't wait until you have it up and running totally. My wife will eventually need a therapy tub to bounce around in. Solar would be ideal to heat it to keep it at the right physical therapy temp. So far looks great!
 

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Awesome work on everything!

Where in PA are you, can I be your apprentice for your next project so I can build myself the building and the fencing for the goats? :laugh:
 
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