Originally Posted by JDCAVE
Thanks Peter, Janice. I'm not able to run my panels in series. The open circuit voltage of three panels in series is higher than safe for the controller. I would have liked to use a Morningstar product, but it was beyond my budget for this year.
I've determined that the ground on the solar panels is insufficient. I wish I received proper instructions from the vendor on this, prior to installation. It turns out I should have used 6 gauge. I have used 8. In addition the electrical engineer who works for the vendor said that if insulated ground wire is used, residential codes call for THWN (Thermoplastic Heat and Water-resistant Nylon-coated). Ancor wire has vinyl insulation.
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Residential NEC etc. codes do not apply on your boat. A safety ground for marine solar panels is not a required installation under any of the applicable marine
standards. There is of course is a difference between a grounded conductor
(current carrying DC negative) and a grounding conductor (non-current carrying safety ground to Earth)
. It is the latter than is not required for a marine installation.
A safety ground is required on land
under NEC standards because we are often dealing with hundreds of volts and massive arrays capable of considerable current.. Until 2005 the NEC specifically excluded safety grounding on systems below 50V. With changes in the solar market, grid tie systems and because land arrays arrays often use "micro-inverters" at the PV to convert directly from DC to AC things have changed on land even for off grid. On boats though there is no requirement for the metal panel frame to be connected to the ships grounding point..