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Author Topic: Solar ???  (Read 4981 times)

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Offline Darrel

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Solar ???
« on: March 02, 2016, 12:30:08 am »
So I'm thinking about going solar and have been researching on line.  I'm also 100% ignorant when it comes to solar power so I've been watching YouTube videos and reading in an attempt to learn.

I saw this on eBay and have no idea what I'd be getting.

High Power 500 Watts Mono 6x6 Solar Cells Grade B for DIY Panel 4.6W or Higher 

If I bought this, what would I find when it arrives?

Thanks
1992 LT40HD

The winds of change are blowing at hurricane force and I don't like it but good shall come even though I see not how.

Offline DDW_OR

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Re: Solar ???
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2016, 02:08:36 am »
i am 80% ignorant when it comes to solar power, graduated from DeVry in October 1992 with an AA degree

are you currently on-grid or off-grid?
will this be your main power? = $$$$$$
or a supplement power? = $$

solar power requires:
6v deep cycle golf cart batteries = cheaper and hold charge longer, that is what my RV friends say
DC to AC inverter
charger/controller = to charge, and maintain the batteries without over charging

also learn Ohm's Law
Volts times amps = watts
Watts divided by Volts = amps
Watts divided by amps = Volts
example:
500w at 12vdc = 41.67 amps
500w at 120vac = less than 4 amps, because of the loss when going from dc to ac
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Offline Darrel

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Re: Solar ???
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2016, 03:36:40 am »
Thanks DDW_OR

I've used 6 volt batteries on my RV for years and I will continue that trend when I go solar if for no other reason than I'll be using my solar system to keep my RV batteries charged while camping off grid.

Our offer was accepted on some property out of Sprague River so I'm trying to learn as much as possible so as to save $$$ on my solar system.  I'll start small but will need to grow. I also have a 4,500 watt as well as a 5,500 watt generator. But would much rather use solar. 
1992 LT40HD

The winds of change are blowing at hurricane force and I don't like it but good shall come even though I see not how.

Offline sprucebunny

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Re: Solar ???
« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2016, 07:16:19 am »
Those solar cells would arrive loose and you would need to mount them ( including soldering connections, making a waterproof frame ) to make a panel form.

With prices dropping, a premade panel with a 25 year warrentee seems like a much better deal to me.

Most people have systems based on 24 or 48 volts for thier house. Panels power output needs to be sized to the voltage of the system. Ideally panels should all be the same.

Check out a solar forum and read peoples questions.
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Offline John Mc

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Re: Solar ???
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2016, 01:54:29 pm »
As Sprucebunny mentioned, you are much better off going with a manufactured solar panel. The industry is extremely competitive, so it's hard to beat the value by trying to "roll your own". I would strongly recommend using panels from a "first tier" supplier. There has been a lot of shake-up in the PV manufacturing industry, and there is still a lot of over-capacity. A number of manufacturer have gone bankrupt, and more are expected to. What good is a 25 year warranty, if the manufacturer is not around to stand behind them.

We generally use Canadian Solar PV panels - a solid, reputable manufacturer with award-winning products. We've also used Trina, and sometimes use SolarWorld, if the customer is willing to pay a little more for American made panels (they are a German company, but have manufacturing facilities in the US).

The first thing you should consider is whether you will be doing a grid-tied system or off-grid. Grid tied has the advantages of not having batteries to maintain, less expensive (if you already have power nearby), and more efficient. It also means you don't have to size a system to handle your peak load, since the grid supplies the peak needs. The downside is that if the grid power shuts off, so does your system (unless you install grid tie with a battery backup). 

Off grid can make sense if you are far from grid power, since it avoids the expense of running power to the property. It's also something to consider if being completely independent of the grid is of value to you. An off grid system will need some means of generating power to get you through any extended periods where there is not enough sun to meet your needs. Not only are you likely to need power during such times, it's also bad for your batteries to leave them in a discharged or partially discharged state for an extended period.
If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.   - Abraham Maslow

Offline dchiapin

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Re: Solar ???
« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2016, 11:27:16 am »
my biggest suggestion is get a professional solar company to do the configuration and the installation.
When I did my off grid house in Colorado, I hired a local man that said he knew all about solar, long story short.
He didn't know the new solar rules and several extra thousands of dollars later (after hiring a real company) I finally passed inspection.
Most of the components are plug and play but the little things that really matter like proper and safe placement of the solar panels, wire routing and legal lengths of wiring for each component, proper placement of warning and information labels, different fault components for the size of your system all are things that have to be done and done right.
Get a professional to do it, you will be safer and dollars ahead.

Offline Darrel

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Re: Solar ???
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2016, 11:37:59 am »
Thanks dchiapin, I've been doing a whole lot of research and the more I learn, the more I come to the conclusion that what you say is truth. I learning about amps, volts, watts and ohms, and the more I learn, the less I know.
1992 LT40HD

The winds of change are blowing at hurricane force and I don't like it but good shall come even though I see not how.

Offline gww

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Re: Solar ???
« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2016, 07:39:55 pm »
Hang out here:
http://forum.solar-electric.com/categories

And here for more of a home built theem:
http://www.fieldlines.com/index.php

I messed with it for a couple of years and built a couple of turbines and solar panels and put a 5600 watt system in with bought panels. 

My veiw was it cost more to build your own solar panels then to buy them and the bought ones will be of more quality.  If you insist for the experiance of building a few, the second web site has a good sticky of building them.

If you have a battery you will not save money with solar.  I have a 48 volt forktruck battery and found that to be the most amphour for the buck.  Didn't need trade in like you will at sams club or such.

The only way being off grid makes sence is if you are really in a remote area and it would cost you a fortune to get the grid there.

I think the solar rebate that the gov had was set to expire in 2015/16.  I don't know if they have renewed it or not but even with it, if you use a battery it will cost more then buying electric.

The electric companies were giving rebates and if this is the case and it is high enough, you may get cheaper electric with solar and grid tie and no battery.  Ameren was $2 a watt but I believe they have stopped.

I hope this helps
gww

Offline John Mc

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Re: Solar ???
« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2016, 08:56:10 pm »
I think the solar rebate that the gov had was set to expire in 2015/16.  I don't know if they have renewed it or not but even with it, if you use a battery it will cost more then buying electric.

The 30% tax credit was originally scheduled to expire at the end of 2016. It was extended for a bit (i forget exactly how long), but it starts phasing out in a couple of years.
If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.   - Abraham Maslow

Offline dchiapin

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Re: Solar ???
« Reply #9 on: March 22, 2016, 09:20:04 am »
there is a very informative magazine "Home Power" that is so full of information about off grid systems it will boggle the mind.
I suggest getting a subscription to the magazine. Many questions you have are already answered and I think with a full subscription you get full access to all articles they have printed on line.
Of course the advertisements are very informative also because they are mostly directed to professional installers not most homeowners.
One of the first things you should do is make all appliances and electrical devises as energy efficient as possible, this reduces the size of all the components needed for your project and 'of course' reduces the costs associated with the project.
Also do a real good survey of ALL your electrical needs and what you may want in the future, this helps your professional installer better know how to configure your system so you not only know the upfront cost but also lets them know the real figures.
Just remember "it ain't cheap" and don't worry about payback times, etc. just have it in your mind the first electrical bill is a doozy but the rest of them are free (or almost)

Offline John Mc

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Re: Solar ???
« Reply #10 on: March 22, 2016, 10:30:33 am »
It pays to do your homework on any installer you are thinking of hiring. The fact that someone is "doing it professionally", is no guarantee that they actually know what they are doing or that they are not taking shortcuts.

We see roof installations all the time on roofs without the structure to handle it (it's usually not the weight of the system that is the problem, it's the additional uplift in high winds that can rip off your panels along with some of the roof under it. (for example, we see guys putting 3/8" lag bolts 3"+ into the edge of a 2x4 - I'm sorry, but there is just not enough wood left for structural strength at that point.) We also see installers not installing flashing around the roof penetrations. They seem to think the "goop" they put in and around the lag bolt hole is enough -- it's not.

We see similar problems on ground mount systems: undersized poles on a pole mount system that do not meet manufacturer's recommendations for strength to withstand expected wind loads. Rack mount systems where the diagonal bracing is not installed correctly (they obviously did not bother to read the manufacturer's installation instructions).

Electrically, there are just as many problems: installers using wire nuts instead of the appropriate "fine wire" connectors which are a code requirement when certain types of wiring (common in the solar industry) is used. Undersized breakers or disconnects, wire gauges in longer wiring runs that MIGHT meet the Code requirements, but do not meet the inverter manufacturer's specifications for allowable voltage drop.

We've seen installation that failed to meet Code requirements for protecting the wiring from access by "curious fingers" (One big name installer did this on all of their systems, including some ground mounts in the back yard of a school. They refused to allow inspectors on their jobs, successfully arguing they didn't have jurisdiction by applying some little know loophole originally intended for traffic lights. They finally got caught and were slapped on the wrist and told to go back and shield some of their past installations.)

Unfortunately, using a "big name" nationally known installer does not guarantee these things will be done correctly. They have been some of the biggest offenders in our area.
If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.   - Abraham Maslow

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Re: Solar ???
« Reply #11 on: March 22, 2016, 11:11:11 am »
I agree, there are some bad installers, that was what happened to me on the first contractor
But, yes do your homework and ask for references. Even if they give you references check up on them through your states electrical board or who ever oversees solar installation contractors.

Offline John Mc

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Re: Solar ???
« Reply #12 on: March 22, 2016, 11:22:10 am »
and be aware that OF COURSE the installer is going to give you references from people where the system is working fine.
If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.   - Abraham Maslow

Offline Darrel

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Re: Solar ???
« Reply #13 on: March 24, 2016, 12:32:24 am »
I sure am glad for what I'm learning here, I have always been of the opinion that if you want something done right, just do it yourself.  But in this case I feel that I would be in way over my head.  So when it come right down to it, I plan to be very involved and whoever I hire is going to know right from the start that I expect nothing less than perfection.
1992 LT40HD

The winds of change are blowing at hurricane force and I don't like it but good shall come even though I see not how.

Offline John Mc

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Re: Solar ???
« Reply #14 on: March 24, 2016, 08:14:24 am »
Are you considering a ground mount, or a roof mount?
If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.   - Abraham Maslow

Offline Darrel

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Re: Solar ???
« Reply #15 on: March 24, 2016, 10:54:04 am »
Are you considering a ground mount, or a roof mount?

Ground most likely because it is easier to reach for clearing snow.

Also, I watched a YouTube video on building your own panels and decided that that isn't for me!

The place I bought has power to the corner of the property but I noticed that many of the neighbors have solar and no hookup to the grid. I asked one neighbor about it yesterday and he told me that hooking up to the grid will cost me about $10,000. I find that hard to believe but if true, I will not be using the services of Pacific Power.
1992 LT40HD

The winds of change are blowing at hurricane force and I don't like it but good shall come even though I see not how.

Offline ljohnsaw

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Re: Solar ???
« Reply #16 on: March 24, 2016, 11:13:11 am »
Are you considering a ground mount, or a roof mount?

Ground most likely because it is easier to reach for clearing snow.

Also, I watched a YouTube video on building your own panels and decided that that isn't for me!

The place I bought has power to the corner of the property but I noticed that many of the neighbors have solar and no hookup to the grid. I asked one neighbor about it yesterday and he told me that hooking up to the grid will cost me about $10,000. I find that hard to believe but if true, I will not be using the services of Pacific Power.

Well, that's cheap!  PG&E (Pacific Graft & Extortion  ;)) wanted to charge me $1,000 just to come out and give me an estimate.  I finally got them to say it would be between $25 and 35k to run about 2,000'. :o
John Sawicky

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SkyTrak 9038, Davis Little Monster backhoe, Case 16+4 Trencher, Home Built 38" cut Bandmill up to 64' - using it all to build a timber frame cabin.

Offline gww

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Re: Solar ???
« Reply #17 on: March 24, 2016, 11:20:44 am »
darrel
You better think long and hard before you say $10,000 is too much for a grid hook up.  If you tried to cover what I use installed by a professional it would start at $90,000.  I have over $20, thousand actual money in a 5600 watt system that I installed and that I used some used equiptment.  Mostly the inverters were used.  The battery will need replaced in 7 through 20 years unless you make a mistake and toast them in a month.  Most figure the inverters will need worked on or replaced in ten years.  I would do a years hard research and put prices to things before I made a decision.  You can live frugal and do with out air conditioning and hang your cloths on the line and use a smaller system but the per watt money will be more then you could have paid for it just buying from poco.  Most that go off grid do it because it cost $100,000 to get grid installed or to do there part to save the world or cause they have an independant streak and don't care what it cost.  The independent streak is sort of a misnomer because if something breaks it is usually of a tech nature that you can't do for yourself and so you have to buy from others.

I installed based on wanting to learn something I was a bit interested in and have a bit of a independant streak myself.  I wanted it.  Poeple drive suvs rather then mini cars cause they want to not cause they need to.  I won't say they are wrong.  I will say you won't save money and that should not be your reason to get solar.  It is closer then it was before but not there yet.
I don't care what you do but am trying to help you do it with open eyes.
Cheers
gww

Offline John Mc

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Re: Solar ???
« Reply #18 on: March 24, 2016, 01:08:34 pm »
darrel
You better think long and hard before you say $10,000 is too much for a grid hook up.  If you tried to cover what I use installed by a professional it would start at $90,000.  I have over $20, thousand actual money in a 5600 watt system that I installed and that I used some used equiptment.

Holy mackerel, Darrel. The market must be a lot different out there than it is here in VT. We did a ground mount system a little over a year ago that was about 5kW installed for about $13,000 (after the 30% federal tax credit). That was using all new components from first tier suppliers. We might be able to do better now, since prices have ebbed a bit since then. I'll see if I can dig up the cost on a more recent job. We did a system that was close to 5kW ground mount last December.
If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.   - Abraham Maslow

Offline ljohnsaw

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Re: Solar ???
« Reply #19 on: March 24, 2016, 01:56:00 pm »
darrel
You better think long and hard before you say $10,000 is too much for a grid hook up.  If you tried to cover what I use installed by a professional it would start at $90,000.  I have over $20, thousand actual money in a 5600 watt system that I installed and that I used some used equiptment.

Holy mackerel, Darrel. The market must be a lot different out there than it is here in VT. We did a ground mount system a little over a year ago that was about 5kW installed for about $13,000 (after the 30% federal tax credit). That was using all new components from first tier suppliers. We might be able to do better now, since prices have ebbed a bit since then. I'll see if I can dig up the cost on a more recent job. We did a system that was close to 5kW ground mount last December.
John,
That sounds like a grid-tied setup, correct?  I put in a 4.6kw and was out about $14k two years ago (after 305 rebate).  If Darrel can get his hands on the  good panels, not have to pay the installation or for a line inverter, he might come out even when he buys the batteries.  It all depends on if you NEED 120vac or if you can live off of 12/24/36vdc.  More efficient and less cost that way.

I'm thinking 4 panels @ 327 each for a 1.3kw battery system for my off-grid cabin will do me just fine.
John Sawicky

Just North-East of Sacramento...

SkyTrak 9038, Davis Little Monster backhoe, Case 16+4 Trencher, Home Built 38" cut Bandmill up to 64' - using it all to build a timber frame cabin.

Offline John Mc

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Re: Solar ???
« Reply #20 on: March 24, 2016, 02:26:56 pm »
Oops, you're right, it was a grid tied. Off grid would be more expensive, but still nothing like $90,000. We haven't had a whole of of call for off-grid installations. Most folks in our area don't want to hassle with battery maintenance, and are not all that far from the grid.
If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.   - Abraham Maslow

Offline gww

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Re: Solar ???
« Reply #21 on: March 24, 2016, 03:15:51 pm »
If you average $80 a month on your electric bill just go on line and get an estimate from any solar installer and I will bet it is close to $90,000 to get an off grid system that gets you close to your use.  My battery alone was $5000 and it would have been $10,000+ if I had got any of the name brand solar batteries. 

My battery is 48 volts and 800 amp hour.  You would need to tripple this to come close to running my house in all weather and this is before air conditioning.

You can live on less electric but most don't.

As I said in my earlier post, You might come out ahead if you get grid tied and if the electric company has grants/rebates.  This still means paying the $10,000 to get the grid.

Electric where I live is only 11 cents a kwh.

My system probly only saves me $20 a month off of my bill.  Another thing.  You lose 10 percent of the panels rating on average.  Once you add a battery you only get about 50% of the panel rating due to the loses of bringing a battery to full charge.  You can midigate this with a small oppertunity load like hot water when you have excess above what it takes to charge the batteries but you can't get rid of all of the loss.  I did get a 120/240 volt inverter to run my house.  They also are a bit pricy compared to a pure grid tie inverter.  If I was smart I would have gotten a grid tie inverter and an interconnect agreement and taken the electric companies rebate but I didn't want to sign another contract and so did it on my own.  The 12 volt and 24 volt powering of things may be more efficient but you can't use box store stuff and the thicker wire you have to use to keep voltage drop to a minimum cost lots.

There may be cheaper poeple installing solar then the ones you can get a quote from on line but getting a quote from them should be eye openning.

I don't mind being wrong if some one knows better ways then me to get solar installed but I believe if you put your proposal out there on the web forums I posted, the poeple there will be as good on that as the poeple here are on foristry.

I had to move for the last four years to be able to get my retirement.  I was 5 min. away from work and spent all my free time for thouse four years studying nothing but solar and wind.  I am a slow learner though.
I hope my post helps in some way.
Cheers
gww

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Re: Solar ???
« Reply #22 on: March 24, 2016, 11:50:13 pm »
Ok, so I've given this some thought today. I can read, and if I decide that I want to or if I need to, I can follow directions.  I can also build things with my hands, and I know how to use tools. And yes, I also know how to ask questions. So what is preventing me from doing a bit more research and putting in my own system?

So here is a question for gww.  So why did you choose to use a 48 volt, 800 amp hour battery?  Couldn't you have gotten the same 48 volts and 800 amp hours for far less using multiple deep cycle golf cart batteries?  And yes, before I make my final decision, I will definitely check out the links you provided in your earlier post.
1992 LT40HD

The winds of change are blowing at hurricane force and I don't like it but good shall come even though I see not how.

Offline John Mc

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Re: Solar ???
« Reply #23 on: March 25, 2016, 08:48:31 am »
Darrel, I'll let those more knowledgeable comment about the electrical choices and design, though I will say that plenty of people use deep cycle golf cart or marine batteries. They may not last as long as purpose made batteries for solar, but they work.  My brother-in-law (an electrical engineer) is putting in a system (grid tie with battery back-up) and starting off with a used fork lift truck battery he scrounged from the junk yard near me. Many of these are replaced strictly based on age. The yard had three or four of them, so he tested and found the best one. It may work great, or it may fail a few years out, but it's cheap, and it gets him started.

The mechanical end of things is pretty straightforward. You can buy pre-manufactured rack mounts (we use Iron Ridge - they also have an online design assistant to figure out pier spacing, spans, etc), or you can make your own. I do recommend considering using their slotted rails (the part that the solar panels sit on) as well as their mid clamps and end clamps, even if you mount those rails to your own frame. It makes for much easier mounting than a completely "home made" set up (though completely home-made can be done). Using their rails also makes grounding the array easy: put a ground lug in the slot of each rail, and run the appropriate gauge bare copper wire to connect each lug, and then to a copper ground rod driven into the ground. "WEEB" clips go on the mid clamps and serve to ground each module to the rails. (If you do go with your own mounting system, most modules have holes pre-drilled in the frame to attach a ground lug.)

An alternative, if you can use more storage space is to just build a shed of the dimensions for your array, and mount it on the roof of the shed. Even here, it's better to mount the panels up on rails, rather than directly on the roof. PV modules are more efficient if they are cool, so having some space up off the roof can help reduce heat build-up. (You want at least 2x6 rafters if you do this: the "L-feet" on which we mount the rails usually take 3/8" bolts. A 3/8" bolt going edgewise into a 2x4 does not leave a lot of wood left for structural strength.

Something else to keep in mind: in our area, we do consider snow loads, but at the pitch we install, they shed snow pretty well (far better than an asphalt shingle roof). The larger concern for us is being able to resist uplift loads from wind gusts.
If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.   - Abraham Maslow

Offline gww

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Re: Solar ???
« Reply #24 on: March 25, 2016, 09:12:17 am »
darrel
Fork truck batteries supposedly leak charge worse then golf cart batteries but because of the thicker plates, they are supposed to last much, much longer the golf cart batteries.  Like 3/7 years golf and 15/20 years fork.  Secondly  The golf cart batteries don't end up being that much cheaper expecially if you don't have a bunch of batteries laying around for exchange.

I went with 48 volt because a 5600 watt aray is quite a bit of power and my inverters are outback inverters that will convert up to 7000 watts to run bigg loads like my well pump which is about 2000 watts by itself when it kicks on.  If you go with golf cart twelve volt to run something like that you would have to run a couple of series of batteries in paralel and this can be done but causes charging issues and also bunches of cables to mess with.  If you use big batteries in series they all charge at the same rate and age at the same rate.

Lastly, My aray was 200 feet from my inverter.  The higher I could run the voltage from the aray to the house the smaller wire I could use.  I have my panel series at about 90 volts at the aray which allowed me to use 4/0 aluminum which was about a third of the cost of 2/0 copper but still about $1900 for wire and trenching.

Your charge controllers are about $500+ each, by running 48 volts I was able to get by with just 2.  They will run up to 4000 watts each at 48 volts but at 12 volts they will only do about 1200 watts because they are buck converters and thier rating is base on how many amps not so much on the voltage.

There are probly more reasons then listed but my typing finger is giving out and my brain is more fuzzy then usual right now so this is all I have.
I hope it helps.
gww
Ps Mc was answering while I was typing but I had to hit enter after doing the work of all that typing.  It seems that he does know his stuff to me. 

Offline maple flats

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Re: Solar ???
« Reply #25 on: April 17, 2016, 11:22:07 am »
I have solar and I started the expensive way. My first purchase was 2 solar panels of Ebay at 150 watts each. I then bought an inverter to convert to 240 volts ($279) , there was a problem, since I knew nothing about solar, the inverter I bought was strictly 240, not 120/240. It was the wrong type, was made for running a 240V motor only. Then I had to get a transformer to get back to 120 ($195) so I could use it. The inverter was very inefficient and the transformer compounded that. Then I needed a charge controller (CC). I bought one rated for the capacity I needed It was a cheap PWM (pulse With Modulation) ($65) unit, which is very inefficient. I was off grid so I needed batteries, here I did some homework and bought 4 Trojan 6V batteries, which are a fairly good line of solar batteries. I connected everything and I had solar power.
Within 3 months I discovered several errors in my choices, but I was hooked on solar. After those 3 months, I bought a good CC, a MPPT (maximum power point tracking) controller ($479), which gave me 97% efficiency rather than the 51% my 1st one gave. I added 4 more batteries so I then had a 48V bank in series rather than a 24V (I am still using that bank, 8 yrs later) and I bought a proper inverter, I got a Xantrex 6048 ($3400+ frt), rated for on grid as well off grid. I then decided to get more panels. Since my first panel purchase I had learned a little. The first ones were not UL approved and I needed UL panels if I was to ever go grid tied. I also found that I could buy UL panels at a cheaper price than the non UL panels. I had pd $420 for each 150 watt panel on the "bad" ones, but I could get 185 watt UL panels for $340 each (just 4 months later). I bought 4 and since I had simply made a 2x4 mount for those "bad" panels, I researched and got official aluminum ground mount racking. I installed the new panels and retired the non UL ones. A year later I added 4 more panels, in the same 185 watt. Then 2 yrs later I went to order 4 more but discovered those panels had been discontinued. I did a google search and after checking lots of vendors I only found 1 more panel. That is when I finally decided to go grid tied and jump in with both feet on my solar. nGoing grid tied meant I would qualify for Fed. and State tax rebates as well as a state program that paid up front a portion of the project based on how many watts I was adding. I also found that New York State does not allow self installs on anything that will be grid tied (or at least our local utility doesn't). IU had to get an approved solar installer. He came and checked what I had and worked up a quote for the install. He was to make a couple of very minor changes to what I had installed, then he was adding 22 new panels at 220 watts each, a new grid tied inverter and I was to run the underground wire, meter socket, entrance box and main disconnect. He then tied the new solar to the main box (which had to be a 225A box with a 200A main because I would have over rated the box too much). In the end, I still have 8 of the 185 watt panels, on a battery bank which also feeds the grid after the batteries are fully charged, plus 22 @ 220 watts which are net metered to the grid. In total I spent over $35,000 but between the State rebate, and State and Federal tax credits, my final cost is down to under $11,000. I would have done even better if I had gone grid tied from the start, because I could only claim what was purchased as I was going grid tied.
Do your homework first, rather than going the school of hard knocks.
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Offline edkemper

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Re: Solar ???
« Reply #26 on: April 18, 2016, 05:26:51 pm »
WOW! I try to research everything to death before I start. However, $90K?

I think the hardest part of the process is understanding what you need. Many build far undersized and many build a personal system that could power a small city.

Solar panels are down to under $1 a watt. YouTube is your best friend when it comes to building your own system.

Personally, I wouldn't hire someone to do this. Years ago, yes. Now, there isn't much I can't do and isn't much you can find how-to videos. I'm also smart enough to buy good hardware to use. I will mount on the ground to help clean and to clear snow. I've been researching for a couple of years now and have been asking questions. I've also watched almost every how-to video on the subject.

Hire someone and it'll cost 2x or more. I don't know about anyone else, but if I can build and wire a house, I can install a solar system that will take care of me now and in the future.
Old Man

Offline edkemper

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Re: Solar ???
« Reply #27 on: April 18, 2016, 05:30:37 pm »
Electric where I live is only 11 cents a kwh.

Just to clarify, how much is the customer charge per month? Delivery charges? If you don't use one watt in a year, how much did you pay for all the extra charges? Taxes and such.

I wish I only paid the electricity charge.
Old Man

Offline gww

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Re: Solar ???
« Reply #28 on: April 18, 2016, 06:21:24 pm »
ed
I have $20,000 in mine after the 30% federal rebate.  I only paid $0.92 per watt delivered.  I compleetly installed myself and still cut a few corners but over all followed the rules.  I know a guy who has double my wattage and didn't do the work hisself and has less then I do in his because he took advantage of amerens two dollar a watt rebate and went pure grid tie. 

I have a 5600 watt system that comes no where near covering my usage.

I don't believe hiring some one that it could be done as cheap as I did it.  Lots of little stuff that adds up to cost and just looking at panel prices is miss leading.

I did count all cost including some expermenting but believe I made up for that with a $5000 inverter system that I got for $1500.  Even inverters are not always clear on their pricing.  Many times you have to buy boots to cover wires and meters and you really need to know what you are really getting and what it will do.

I had lightning take out half of my inverter system and it was $500 for me to replace the guts.

All I am saying is that it is more intricate then you might think and if you go off grid it is even harder to cover americans average usage because you would really have to over build for the extreems.

I have my super production days but also have days in a row that I only make 2 kwhs all day.  Overcast days really knock down production.  I have made 30 kwh a day when I had a oppertunity load squeezing out every last drop but then it is harder to garrentee you are getting the battery totaly charged every seven or so days.

While all this is going on you will eventually have life issues of your battery and equiptment. 

The electric bill with charges is coming out about 11/15 cents per kwh. 

My system probly knocks off $20/30 of a $80 winter electric bill and in summer with air all bets are off.  Nothing says you need a freezer and two ice boxes and two tvs ect.  However most will want a well pump and coffee maker and microwave.

5600 watts is not a system to sneeze at and if you get that much installed with a good battery for $20000 you will have did well.  If I wanted to run all year with no grid it would take a $90,000 for me and I would have excess a lot of the time but would still strugle some of the time.  Winter before last was the cloudiest for several months that I have ever seen.  A person should really spend some time on the sites that I posted links too and run by those there what they plan to do. 

I do agree that it is mostly getting the right equipment and then installing it and if you are handy you can do it.  I did.
gww
PS going big would allow you to cut some cost also.  You would still only need one trench for you wires from the aray and small things like that. 

Offline edkemper

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Re: Solar ???
« Reply #29 on: April 18, 2016, 06:58:11 pm »
GGW,

> went pure grid tie. 

Smile. Not a fan but I understand my way is not the only way. Grid tied system benefits the power company as well as you. An off grid system is only designed to benefit me.

> All I am saying is that it is more intricate then you might think and if you go off grid it is even harder to cover americans average usage because you would really have to over build for the extremes.

This is another problem. However, many of us that are going solar are not trying to live the city life with solar. Many of us, especially those that go off grid, just donít have all the electrical toys urban folk have. a 5600Watt system for some would allow saving a lot of that in batteries because they just donít use as much power as you do.

Many of us design a system that covers all their needs in the summer and 90% of their needs in Winter. using small generators to charge batteries 2-3 times a Winter.

> While all this is going on you will eventually have life issues of your battery and equipment.

Yah, I know the drill. However I also know a number of Prius Drivers that are still using 10+ yo batteries. I know a couple of people who have been off grid for more than a decade and still are using their original batteries. So, I do know the scare tactics. However, with almost no cost (after purchase and installation) for electricity, youíd be surprised how much I can sock away for more than the cost of replacements, when needed, is still less.

There has to be a change in priorities when you go off grid. That is not easy for many.

> The electric bill with charges is coming out about 11/15 cents per kwh.

That wasnít my question. How much are the yearly costs of everything you pay, over and above the cost of the power? That is a cost off gridders donít pay.

Can you imagine going to the gas station and paying to fill up, plus a cost just they are there, (here in Oregon) a charge for the guy pumping the gas and an extra charge for the guy at the register? Donít forget we also have a charge for the oil storage, in case you need a quart. Plus an extra cost to cover the cost to rebuild the gas station when needed.

> Nothing says you need a freezer and two ice boxes and two tvs ect.  However most will want a well pump and coffee maker and microwave.

I mean no disrespect, but, a thousand Watt coffee maker and a 1800Watt Microwave? When we have wood and fire? People that go off grid are usually not the kind of people that have to have everything instantly.

Weíre talking to entirely different systems.

> 5600 watts is not a system to sneeze at and if you get that much installed with a good battery for $20000 you will have did well.  If I wanted to run all year with no grid it would take a $90,000 for me and I would have excess a lot of the time but would still strugle some of the time.

I really do understand your point. I was there for many, many years.

Iíll do my best to share what my system ends up costing. We both might be surprised.

> I do agree that it is mostly getting the right equipment and then installing it and if you are handy you can do it.  I did.

We have to disagree. If we are speaking of an off grid system, the most important part of the system is the conservation before building the system. Far cheaper to not build what you donít really need.

My friend, we are building entirely different systems. And properly sized and maintained battery banks last longer than you think.

My best as always.
Old Man

Offline gww

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Re: Solar ???
« Reply #30 on: April 18, 2016, 09:08:18 pm »
Ed
Quote
This is another problem. However, many of us that are going solar are not trying to live the city life with solar. Many of us, especially those that go off grid, just donít have all the electrical toys urban folk have. a 5600Watt system for some would allow saving a lot of that in batteries because they just donít use as much power as you do.

No disagreement.  I put about 300 watts at an rv on a creek.  All we run are some leds and a radio.  No air conditioning though.  The point is, if it is understood that this is what you have to do and you are willing, this is a great thing, but you do need to understand.

Quote
So, I do know the scare tactics. However, with almost no cost (after purchase and installation) for electricity, youíd be surprised how much I can sock away for more than the cost of replacements, when needed, is still less.

But it is not less money if you have the grid.  I don't mind that my electric cost more then if I just bought it.  I paid cash and not all at once and so if I save $30 a month now then I save $30.  If I had saved the money I would have more money cause it will never be as cheap as buying from the grid unless prices go up.  The origional poster said that it would cost $10000 for the grid.  If you break it down to just money $10000 may be a better deal. 

Also I have only had my battery for going on four years and am shooting for 15 years min out of it.  I will know more later but even at that you have to make a lot of electric to cover $5000.

Quote
That wasnít my question. How much are the yearly costs of everything you pay, over and above the cost of the power? That is a cost off gridders donít pay.

I answered your question.  If I take my total bill and devide it by the kwhs I used it will always be between 11/15 cents and mostly closer to $0.11.  No extra cost.  I believe ameren in my area is around $0.09 before the delivery charge and taxes and such.

Quote
Can you imagine going to the gas station and paying to fill up, plus a cost just they are there, (here in Oregon) a charge for the guy pumping the gas and an extra charge for the guy at the register? Donít forget we also have a charge for the oil storage, in case you need a quart. Plus an extra cost to cover the cost to rebuild the gas station when needed.

But the truth of the matter is as long as the cost of clean up is not counted and the goverment keeps helping the big industeries, the power from the grid is going to stay cheaper for the end user then you having a solar system battery and being your own electric company.

Quote
We have to disagree. If we are speaking of an off grid system, the most important part of the system is the conservation before building the system. Far cheaper to not build what you donít really need.

We may only be dissareeing on one point.  I understand conservation.   The point can be made that you can conserve while on the grid and save even more than you can conserve and use solar.  Eleven cents a kwh is still cheaper then you can produce electric for if you have a battery even if it last a really long time. The only time this might not be true is if you have one of those electric companies that charge a minimum for you just to have the grid not counting what you are using.

I metioned earlier in this thread that I am not anti solar just like I don't look down on anyone that drives a car instead of just riding a bicycle.  I would have to look down on myself if I though it wasn't more then money as a reason to have solar.  I have a bit of an independant streak and that was a good enough reason for me to do it and it was fun to learn about things.

If you have access to the grid or can get it cheep enough you will not save money with off grid but that is not the only reason to do it and that could also change in the future and it is closer to being competitive now then it was in the past.

If there was some way to store the electric without a battery and the losses involved in charging and battery life issues.  Solar would be compeditive with the grid now.

I didn't do all this typing because I am not interested cause I am.  I would love to hear your figures and ideals as you go.
Good wishes
gww

Offline ljohnsaw

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Re: Solar ???
« Reply #31 on: April 18, 2016, 09:19:21 pm »
Edkemper and GWW,
This is a very interesting discussion and very timely.  I'm still a bit away (6-12 months) from actually installing a system.  I will be 100% off grid for my cabin.  No coffee pot, no microwave.  I will have a propane cooking range/stove and a propane tankless water heater.  My electrical "needs" amount to LED (12v) lighting and a 12 or 24v "RV" pump for dispensing water in the cabin (faucets and shower).  My well is direct solar power, no battery involved, pumping into a storage tank in the cabin.  It is capable of filling a 330 gallon tank (fire suppression tank) in 2 days.  I figure water usage of 50 to 100 gallons a day - with a full load of people there.  I will probably go with a 500+ gallon tank for domestic usage.

I haven't thought too long or hard on what I will need.  However, I MUST put in a fire sprinkler system.  The pump required must provide 32gpm @ 28psi.  My gut feeling is that will be about 2hp.  The county is also requiring me to install an auto start generator in the event my batteries are not fully charged (or a big enough bank).  I have to be able to run for 10 minutes.

So, again, my gut feeling is to only have enough battery for the domestic use to carry through cloudy periods.  Let the generator handle the fire suppression (that will likely never happen).  Since my roof ridge runs north/south, I figure a couple of panels (300+ watt each) on each slope should cover my needs.  So I will have 600+/- watts of generation in the morning and afternoon with something a bit higher mid-day when they all see some sun.  I would probably want to run a bit higher voltage to lower the current.  What do you suggest? 24, 36 or 48v?

Comments?
John Sawicky

Just North-East of Sacramento...

SkyTrak 9038, Davis Little Monster backhoe, Case 16+4 Trencher, Home Built 38" cut Bandmill up to 64' - using it all to build a timber frame cabin.

Offline gww

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Re: Solar ???
« Reply #32 on: April 18, 2016, 10:12:16 pm »
Ljohn
couple of things.  Direct pumping and no battery is good.  In northern climates freezing makes above ground water storage a little harder.

I like the higher voltages due to wire size and less voltage drop.  If you already have an rv wired for lower voltages it makes it a bit more of a mute point.  For a cabin and you running the wires, I don't know so much.   A two horse motor becomes a bit of a problem though.  If it was 120 volt at 10 amps that is like 100 amps from the battery not counting start up being maby lots more.  I am a firm believer in good inverters and doing everything at 120/240 volts.  There is some convertion losses by not going twelve volts but it is easier to get over the counter stuff that works on it and you can use 12/14 guage wire everywhere.  Wire cost add up to alot when you run a bunch of it. 

The higher voltages from the panels also make your charge controllers go further.  If you add panels later you have room but you also have to add panels in series.  In other words I run 90 volts from my panels to my Charge controller.  It takes 4 panels to get 90 volts.  If I ever want more panels, I will have to add 4 at a time.  I hope that is clear.  I posted a couple of links to solar forums.  My view is before I spent any money on stuff I would put it out to those forums and let them give feed back.  You may have it perfect but then again someone might see something that will help. 

The funny thing about tosters and big motors is they really may not use much electric but cause you to have enough umf in your battery to get them going.  This will make your battery bank a bit bigger even if you don't use that much electric.  If the battery is bigger then the solar will be more cause to properly charge a big battery you will need enough amps to get it boiling (sound wise anyway) to get a good chemichal reaction.

It sounds like you are going to try and run the 2 horse on the generator and not the solar.  That will help battery wise.  I ran the little rv on the creek on two car batteries for about 5 years and had about a 24 amp draw as the max and it did ok but was not used every day.  It all comes down to math and realistic ideal of what you are using and when.  If you have the leds and other electric things it would be worth getting a killowatt meter and seeing what they really use and adding it all up.  Then you would be able to see what you really need for the rest of the stuff.
Cheers
gww

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Re: Solar ???
« Reply #33 on: April 18, 2016, 11:08:51 pm »
Ljohn
couple of things.  Direct pumping and no battery is good.  In northern climates freezing makes above ground water storage a little harder.
Actually, I'm using a LCB (Linear Current Booster) that converts the voltage to current to run the pump at a lower speed but with enough amps so it doesn't overheat.  That saves me from having to have another battery bank or running very large wire from my cabin.  I am not storing the water out in the open.  It will be stored in my basement and the ground heat will keep it from freezing.
I like the higher voltages due to wire size and less voltage drop.  If you already have an rv wired for lower voltages it makes it a bit more of a mute point.  For a cabin and you running the wires, I don't know so much.   A two horse motor becomes a bit of a problem though.  If it was 120 volt at 10 amps that is like 100 amps from the battery not counting start up being maby lots more.  I am a firm believer in good inverters and doing everything at 120/240 volts.  There is some convertion losses by not going twelve volts but it is easier to get over the counter stuff that works on it and you can use 12/14 guage wire everywhere.  Wire cost add up to alot when you run a bunch of it. 
No, I'm not running an RV.  I'm going to buy an RV pump but haven't decided if I want 12 or 24v.  Probably 24 being a little more efficient.
The higher voltages from the panels also make your charge controllers go further.  If you add panels later you have room but you also have to add panels in series.  In other words I run 90 volts from my panels to my Charge controller.  It takes 4 panels to get 90 volts.  If I ever want more panels, I will have to add 4 at a time.  I hope that is clear.  I posted a couple of links to solar forums.  My view is before I spent any money on stuff I would put it out to those forums and let them give feed back.  You may have it perfect but then again someone might see something that will help. 
Yes, I understand.
The funny thing about tosters and big motors is they really may not use much electric but cause you to have enough umf in your battery to get them going.  This will make your battery bank a bit bigger even if you don't use that much electric.  If the battery is bigger then the solar will be more cause to properly charge a big battery you will need enough amps to get it boiling (sound wise anyway) to get a good chemichal reaction.
Well, I disagree with you a bit.  At toaster or coffee pot (induction heating) and microwaves (1000w) draw a lot of power.  But I don't need them anyhow.
It sounds like you are going to try and run the 2 horse on the generator and not the solar.  That will help battery wise.  I ran the little rv on the creek on two car batteries for about 5 years and had about a 24 amp draw as the max and it did ok but was not used every day.  It all comes down to math and realistic ideal of what you are using and when.  If you have the leds and other electric things it would be worth getting a killowatt meter and seeing what they really use and adding it all up.  Then you would be able to see what you really need for the rest of the stuff.
Cheers
gww
The LED lights I have to play with are rated at 0.012w each and I plan to make multi-light fixtures with 6 or 8 of them.  I will also use LED tape lights for counter lights or indirect on top of the beams.
John Sawicky

Just North-East of Sacramento...

SkyTrak 9038, Davis Little Monster backhoe, Case 16+4 Trencher, Home Built 38" cut Bandmill up to 64' - using it all to build a timber frame cabin.

Offline gww

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Re: Solar ???
« Reply #34 on: April 18, 2016, 11:56:06 pm »
ljohn
Quote
Well, I disagree with you a bit.  At toaster or coffee pot (induction heating) and microwaves (1000w) draw a lot of power.  But I don't need them anyhow.

I am just saying that when my well pump kicks on it is 2000 watts but it will usually run less then a minute and the pressure tank will be filled.  In the big picture it is the amp draw all at once on the battery and not the 100 watts or less that it actually used.  I have a 48 volt system and see a small light flicker when my well pump kicks on.  On a 48 volt 800 amp hour battery it is more the wire size being big enough to handle the amps cause the battery recovers almost immediatly due to it really not being that much power that was actually used.

The outback 80 amp charge controller cost about $500 and will handle about 1200 watts at 12 volt and will run about 4000 watts worth of panels at 48 volts for the battery bank.

I also like the higher voltages cause if you need that much power you can run the batteries in series and I believe this helps cut down on battery charging inconsitancies.

If you don't need much power, then you don't need it.  If you find you need more power then you thought, it sucks to have to get rid of stuff to buy differrent stuff.  If you do 24 volt battery some get by by adding an extra panel with out going through the charge controller as lot of the 300 watt panels have around a 30 volt output which isn't too far out of line from what you would be charging at.  I have heard that 12 volt inverters and such are cheeper then the higher voltage stuff.

It took me a couple of years of thinking and then a couple of months of actually doing to get mine installed.

Lots of little things that can be done cheaper if thought about.  I bought a prewired sub panel  with a manual transfer switch for about $470 and could have did it much cheaper with big box store stuff once I knew what I was doing so it pays to pay attention if you are not made of money.

That was one of the few mistakes I made but over all it went well enough and I did well enough that I kept the mistakes pretty low. 

I am sure you know most of this just by reading your responce but figure I would put it out there just incase it helps with your thinking prossess.  I hope to be helping more then confusing.
Good luck
gww

Offline ljohnsaw

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Re: Solar ???
« Reply #35 on: April 19, 2016, 12:19:20 am »
GWW,
Thanks.

I should clarify if it isn't completely clear in what I wrote.  My well pump is 24vdc and I'm running it with the LCB and direct solar.  I will be using the RV style pump for the cabin water pressure with a 20 gallon pressure tank. 

I added two 1-quart pressure tanks to my RV and it made a world of difference.  I hated the on-off-on-off when you ran the faucet.  Now it will run for about 30 seconds before the pump will kick on.

Except for the RV pump, my current draw will be really low.  And that pump will be really close to the battery bank.  I will use 12g wire for the lights but with them pulling a fraction of an amp, I don't expect to see any sort of voltage drop in the runs that will be 30 or 40' in length.
John Sawicky

Just North-East of Sacramento...

SkyTrak 9038, Davis Little Monster backhoe, Case 16+4 Trencher, Home Built 38" cut Bandmill up to 64' - using it all to build a timber frame cabin.

Offline gww

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Re: Solar ???
« Reply #36 on: April 19, 2016, 12:48:56 am »
John
I get the pumps.  I just sorta wrote the above to kinda put into perspective that with solar each part of the system affects the rest of the decisions.
 
It sounds like you know what you are needing.   

When I was young my grandma only had hand pumps to draw water so you will be in paradise with your system.  In the house there was only a cistren and during the drought of summer we sometimes had to truck water from the fire station to it.  The actual wells were down by the barn. I never noticed it being bad when I was young.  May not have took as many baths then and didn't waste the bath water with just one person when you had to heat it on the stove but it wasn't all bad, went swimming a lot more in the summer.  Always carried a bar of soap.  You are going to be living good with that set up.
Hope it goes well for you.
gww

Offline OlJarhead

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Re: Solar ???
« Reply #37 on: April 19, 2016, 08:49:39 am »
1.  The panels DO NOT have to match the batteries.  Maybe 20 years ago, but not today.  MPPT controllers adjust the voltage coming in from the solar array to match the batteries and utilize more power / are more efficient.

2.  For an RV you requirements are probably a lot less than a $90k home setup.  My system (off-grid cabin) was about $5k-$6k without the genny.  Needs more solar still but works well and like you I use 6v GCB's.

3.  Shop around to places like sunelec.com and altsolar etc etc.  You can get 300w panels for under $300 today (I was going to pick up 4 more for my setup but bought a mill instead).
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Offline Klunker

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Re: Solar ???
« Reply #38 on: November 10, 2016, 12:18:42 am »
Decided to post this as I have been reading this post and I find the costs of systems to be overstated.
We are building new home. 2800sq ft living space with basement. Very enery eff. all electric house.
20K btu/hr is est heating requirement. Heating to be supplied by masonry heater primarily with air source heat pump as backup. Air source heat pump DHW heat. All electric home. Just me and the wife.
We are adding a solar system with battery backup. Originally we wanted to be behind the meter but recently our power co. put an end to that. So we now have to be on net metering.
System specs.
30) 330 watt panels = 9.9kw
8) 6v batieries with automated hydration. 19kw storage cap.
1) inverter
2) 80 amp charge controllers.
cost for system $36.7 k installed
rebates/discounts $13.4k
total out of pocket for me $23.3k
other facts
.14/kw for electric + approx $18/mo for "fees"
.04/kw paid by power co. for sold power
panels to be on workshop approx 75 ft from house.
Batteries and all other equipment to be located in basement.
cost to run power from grid approx 1000ft to house = 8K
cost for additional 8 batteries $3.8k
I could of gone off grid with 3x times the battery cap. for the cost of tying to the grid.
we are not borrowing money for system, we are putting cash in "asset" instead of risking money with no guaranteed return in current enviroment.
Optional system was for "off grid" 48) panels for 15.8kw with 16) batteries at the cost of $53.7K, discounts/rebates of $18.5k for a out of pocket cost of $35.2k.
Just for comparison purposes.

Offline John Mc

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Re: Solar ???
« Reply #39 on: November 10, 2016, 09:00:39 am »
Klunker -  Your system costs are similar to what I was seeing when I was working with a Solar installer here in VT. Unless there was something unusual going on to bump up the installed costs, we were seeing about $2.60/watt installed costs (after federal incentives) for a grid-tied system without battery backup. This was 2 or 3 years ago Prices have come down since then, but I'm no longer involved, so can't really say what current pricing is. I'm guessing the drop in prices over the last few years would cover the cost of some batteries for the backup system.

Looks like your state or utility may have better up front incentives than VT (VT residential incentives for PV have basically disappeared). We do have a pretty good deal on the net metering rates: we get paid a few cents a kW for every kW generated, plus any net excess sold to the grid is sold at the residential rate.

We were a small operation, with low overhead, which kept our costs down, but our low volume meant we did not get as good a deal on PV modules as some of the big guys. The two factors tended to offset each other, so we found we were very competitive on most jobs (we focused on residential and small business, typically 3 to 15 kW systems. Our largest was 50 kW. We had no interest in the multi-megawatt systems that are popping up all over the place around here).
If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.   - Abraham Maslow

Offline John Mc

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Re: Solar ???
« Reply #40 on: November 10, 2016, 09:04:10 am »
BTW, Klunker, 20K BTU/hr for a 2800 sq ft house is pretty impressive. Is that your expected peak load?  How cold does it get in your area?

At any rate, you must have an incredibly well sealed and insulated house.
If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.   - Abraham Maslow

Offline Klunker

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Re: Solar ???
« Reply #41 on: November 10, 2016, 12:30:22 pm »
yes, thats peak load.
8" neopor sip walls with and an additional 1" of foam on the outside.
So what about R35-38 walls and R60 ceiling, R24 on basement walls and under basement floor.
Triple pane Fiberglas windows R5.5.
we get about a week or two of subzero weather usually during the winter, I'd say the ave. temps in Jan . are around 10-20 deg F.

Offline maple flats

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Re: Solar ???
« Reply #42 on: December 14, 2016, 07:38:13 pm »
The system I posted about back on April, 17 of 2016 is at my sugarhouse. I now have added another system at my home. There I am completely isolated from the grid (the solar, not the home). I put in 1710 watts of panels (6@285W each). The power enters the home thru a basement wall. In there I have an MPPT charge controller, an 3524 Outback inverter and the energy is stored in a 24V Rolls battery bank at 683 AH. I started back in June, but didn't finish in time. When I started NY State had not yet adopted the 2014 NEC. I thought I was finished on Oct. 18, 2016. However I then discovered that NY had adopted the 2014 NEC effective 10/3/16. As such, my final inspectiohn then required me to conform to the new code, specifically relating to "Rapid Shut Down" requirements. A good idea, but one that cost me $2500 additional. All solar systems, both grid tied (they had to since the 2011 NEC) and off grid required a "rapid Shut down" feature. In case of any emergency, fire or other, first responders must have a single point shutdown control to shut off all power in the system, it must break power from the panels, and the charge controller, the inverter and the battery bank. Those controls are far pricier that the simple shut off switch required under previous NEC codes (but are much safer for firemen and other first responders). In my situation I needed 4 points that shut down the entire system, one at the location of my electric grid meter, one within 10' of the solar panels, one within 10' of where the power enters the home and 1 near the panel board where the charge controller, inverter and close to where the battery bank is.
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Offline gimpy

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Re: Solar ???
« Reply #43 on: January 13, 2017, 02:10:14 am »
Darrell,

PM me if you are interested. I recently went to a Solar presentation there in town put on by individuals. A few people doing it and a few of us just starting research. Really good folks in your neighborhood. I'm in K-Falls & Chiloquin so we're close.

If I can help get you to people who might be able to help that have a good handshake.
Gimpy old man
Lucky to have a great wife
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