I'm working to finish up my DIY ground-mount solar project, and I need some advice for one of the final connections. For reference, the project is all done with micro-inverters at the panel so we're only talking about an AC connection, and I live in Wisconsin (2017 NEC).
The array is about 40 inches from the wall where I will be mounting a weatherproof junction box to make ingress to the house. Another weatherproof box will be on one of the array posts to make the junction between the microinverter equipment and whatever conduit setup I end up using here. The only possibly complicating factor is that the gas meter is in the general area, and occasionally the gas man is likely to need to walk back there and check on it (during construction I was careful to keep a path there accessible, and make sure that the array structure is more than 36 inches from the meter in any direction).
While I know that it would be compliant to just do schedule 80 PVC conduit buried 18 inches deep to make this connection, the ground in this area is awful to dig and the concrete I poured to anchor the 4x4 posts for the array further complicate the routing of underground conduit.
Would it be acceptable to just run schedule 80 conduit across the gap above ground, as long as it was plainly visible and supported on either side? If that's the case would it be better to mount it right along the ground itself, or 6 inches up etc?
Initially I was going to use LNFC (waterproof flexible PVC), in much the same way the HVAC guys always do for AC condensers. This would be by far the simplest solution, but after more research I think it would fail inspection because LNFC doesn't provide protection against physical damage (not sure how the HVAC guys get away with it though).
This picture captures the situation. I highlighted the most direct route (that potentially interferes with the path to the gas meter) in red, but also an alternate path using more conduit in orange that would ever be in anyone's way as there is no walking access to the far side.