Author Topic: Home Solar Power ??  (Read 11460 times)

alfsauve

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Re: Home Solar Power ??
« Reply #60 on: October 30, 2022, 11:10:07 AM »
Went with 2 Weize 100Ah GEL batteries.  I'm not going to deep cycle these every day so not worth the price for LiFeP batteries.  There is a weigh penalty of about 40# per battery though.  So the total weight of the box, electronics and batteries is about 150#.  1,000W inverter is plenty to run a fridge and freezer along with a few lights and fans.    Below you'll see the where I was playing with the layout, the final layout in the box and the box on it's stand.   I kept the stand separate to make it a smaller package for portable operations.    There's room in the bottom for a 3rd battery.  If more batteries are desired I could build another box and stack them. 


I ran the freezer for 6 hours to insure it all works.   Rather boring because at 100W the inverter doesn't hum and the fans don't come on.  Miss Kitty approves, so much nice than a gas generator.  Of course solar charging during any prolonged blackout would mean relocating the cells to better sunlight, but for keeping the batteries topped off in the mean time, I'll mount them on the roof. 

Miss Kitty, using her best Ian Malcom, Jurassic Park voice say:  "So you do intend to have solar panels with your solar system someday?" 

Funny thing about that.  FedEx, evidently recreating the Pony Express, drug the two solar panels from CA to GA  behind their truck.  Took two weeks, most of which was spent either 50miles up the road at their Cartersville center or at the local distro warehouse.   I refused to accept the panels and HD has order me two more.  We'll see if they fair better.
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Rastus

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Re: Home Solar Power ??
« Reply #61 on: October 30, 2022, 06:17:52 PM »
That looks great.  Now I'm interested in how much that set you back!  The Jackery 1000W is ~$1099 with $150 off (no solar panel) right now.  Also the Jackery is only 46 amp hours versus your 200 amp hour setup.   

Jackery link:   
https://www.amazon.com/Jackery-Portable-Explorer-Generator-Emergency/dp/B083KBKJ8Q/ref=sr_1_2_sspa?crid=1L0EU937O5LK0&keywords=Jackery+Portable+Power+Station+Explorer+1000%2C+1002Wh+Solar+Generator+%28Solar+Panel+Optional%29&qid=1667171638&sprefix=jackery+portable+power+station+explorer+1000%2C+1002wh+solar+generator+solar+panel+optional+%2Caps%2C106&sr=8-2-spons&ufe=app_do%3Aamzn1.fos.765d4786-5719-48b9-b588-eab9385652d5&psc=1

How long do you figure you can run your freezer on your setup?
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billt

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Re: Home Solar Power ??
« Reply #62 on: October 31, 2022, 01:33:20 AM »
You guys lost me 3 pages ago. I wish I knew more about this stuff. If everything goes to hell, I've got these to rely on..... Assuming I can get fuel for all of them. The Honda is from around 1985. Still runs good, but is a pain to start.




alfsauve

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Re: Home Solar Power ??
« Reply #63 on: October 31, 2022, 10:41:14 AM »
Busy today doing a Halloween SFX gig.  Tomorrow I’ll post a whole list.  Basically, including a 4awg crimper, it was just under $1,300.  With tax rebate though it comes to just over $900.  I haven’t bought the cabling to go from the panels to charger when I mount them on the roof.  It’ll be just 12awg carrying 10A @ 24V so common stuff.

There are some inefficiencies, but I think I can run both fridge/freezers for 2 days.  One trick will be to raise the temps a little and not open the freezer during the outage.

The pre-packaged units are going to be a little pricey and not a lot of Wh, but you’re  paying for the convenience, the portability and prefab.  Some offer add on batteries.

Bill, I had a gas gen for 5 years got tired of changing out the gas every 6 months.  This I’ll use to power the shop tools and keep topped off with the PV cells for free.
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Rastus

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Re: Home Solar Power ??
« Reply #64 on: October 31, 2022, 03:03:42 PM »
You guys lost me 3 pages ago. I wish I knew more about this stuff. If everything goes to hell, I've got these to rely on..... Assuming I can get fuel for all of them. The Honda is from around 1985. Still runs good, but is a pain to start.

What we're talking about are basically just batteries and power inverters.  Combined, they sell those as "solar generators" though mostly they never come with solar cells to plug into them.  I have one each of a 100 watt and 300 watt output "solar generator" and they work fine for lights, internet, telephone booster, etc. when the power goes out for a couple of hours.  They are small and light and you just plug into them just like you do with your wall receptacle. 

Also, they make barely any noise with just a hum or a fan running inside.  They were absolutely super to have around after the last hurricane in Louisiana.  If you don't need to run generators 24/7 for A/C and such the two units were great for led lights around the house....they lasted "forever" and when we kicked on the generators we recharged them quickly.

Another thing you can do is to buy uninterruptible power supplies.  Same thing as the "solar generator" but without a plug-in for a solar cell and you connect your device to them all the time so that if the electricity goes out your device never knows it.  When we folded the last company I kept 3-4 or them which the guys had on their computers so that they didn't loose hours of work if the lights flickered.  I have them on my internet connection, routers, computer and security system.  That way when the power goes out they automatically switch to their internal batteries and keep on keeping on. 

These "solar generators" have a niche'.  Alf is taking it a step further by buying the components and increasing the capacity by a factor of 4+ because of the batteries he has for less than the going price of a storebought unit. 

Right Alf?
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It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.
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Re: Home Solar Power ??
« Reply #65 on: Today at 09:06:43 AM »

alfsauve

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Re: Home Solar Power ??
« Reply #65 on: November 01, 2022, 08:17:50 AM »
"Solar Generators" The prices are all over the place.  Typical might be 500Wh unit for $1,000.   Cute, complete, fairly light, but not a lot of power.   Great for charging your laptop, pad or phone and a few lights while camping.

What I built has 2,400Wh of power.  Not light, not very compact, but it will run two fridge/freezers for 2 days.   Not to mention if it's winter I can run the HVAC blower on my natural gas furnace for some period of time.

Here's my parts list:

2ea    Weize Gel 100Ah Batteries
1ea   Renogy 1,000W Inverter
1ea   Renogy 500A battery meter
2ea   Renogy 100W Mono panel
1ea   Renogy 30A PWM Charge Controller
1ea   Renogy PV panel Accessory kit
1ea   DeWalt Batter Charger
3ea   ANL Fuse Blocks w/ 100A fuses
2ea   30A ANL fuse
2ea   20A ANL fuse
1ea   Fuse block with 6 blade fuse protected circuits
1ea   4 pair 5/16”-4AWG connector pack
1ea   Cable Crimping tool 8AWG-1/0
3ea   Black/Red Pair 1’ 4AWG cables with lugs
1ea   Plywood DIY enclosure
2ea   Mini Tie-down straps
5ft   10AWG wire with 5/16” lugs
50ft   12AWG SOOW wire
2pr   Solar Panel Connectors

I went with GEL batteries because unlike daily off-grid applications that deep cycle the battery every day, I may only deep cycle these batteries once every month.  I didn't need to pay 4x for LiFeP batteries, but I am paying for it in 2x weight.    I think a battery meter is vital for monitoring.  You can directly tie everything to the inverter (stacking) so you don't need the buss bars.  And the 20A and 30A fuse blocks could have been mini-ANL but the ANL fuse blocks came 3 to a package.   The Renogy Inverter has a USB charging port, but by adding the 12V fuse block I can attach a USB charger, or my ham radio or 12V lights, without running the inverter.

Right now I stand at $1,316.15 including taxes and a 4AWG-0/0 crimping tool. That's $921.31 after rebate.  That'll change slightly as I got a discount from HD for the screw up with the PV panels and I haven't bought the 12AWG cable or the solar connectors.   
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Rastus

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Re: Home Solar Power ??
« Reply #66 on: November 02, 2022, 08:57:38 AM »
I was wondering how long to charge those batteries if they were down.  I found this calculator:  https://portablementor.com/solar-battery-charge-time-calculator/ .

The calculator appears right since a little research provides that 100 watts should charge 30-45 amp hours a day.
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alfsauve

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Re: Home Solar Power ??
« Reply #67 on: November 02, 2022, 10:01:02 AM »
Rough, gross rule of thumb, most panels will provide 10A in full sun.  What varies with the different size panels is their voltage.  400W panels typically run at ~45V, while 100W panels are around 12V. It varies.   Put four 400W panels in series and your getting 180V, but you only have to cable for 10A.  Remember  12V can actually be 11.x to 14V, with lead acid it’s 12.8.  you have to look at the exact specs of each panel.

Match the charge controller to your expected voltage, then it doesn't care, as in my case, 24V @ 10A or 12V @ 20A. It’ll charge the 12V batteries @~20A/hr, full direct sunlight.

Oops, but all this is pie in the sky.  PV panels rarely meet their advertised output.  And they tend to loose some power after their first week in the sun.  Then the charge controllers aren’t 100% efficient, and neither are the batteries nor the inverter.  Then, of course, is the question of exactly how much sunlight do you get per day? 

This isn’t a daily use or total off grid application, so if it takes me a week too fully charge them, that’s  okay.  I may use 10-15% with power tools once in a while, if that much,otherwise the cells serve to keep the batteries topped off and to qualify for the 30% tax rebate.
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Rastus

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Re: Home Solar Power ??
« Reply #68 on: November 02, 2022, 12:28:41 PM »
Is the tax rebate on all of the components or just the solar panels?
Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom.
It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.
-William Pitt, British Prime-Minister (1759-1806)
                                                                                                                               Avoid subjugation, join the NRA!

alfsauve

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Re: Home Solar Power ??
« Reply #69 on: November 02, 2022, 02:17:37 PM »
I believe it is on the “system”.

Caveat: I’m am not an attorney nor a a currently licensed CPA.

[EDIT 11/8]  Here's the legal mumbo-jumbo from the IRS form 5695.

Quote
Qualified solar electric property costs. Qualified solar electric property costs are costs for property that uses solar energy to generate electricity for use in your home located in the United States.

They use the word "property" instead of "system".   They don't say specifically limited to the PV panels and do say that even roofing structure, if it is part of the system can qualify.  I read it as all the parts and pieces that go into providing usable electrical energy.  The IRS website hasn't been updated since 2020 so it still says 26%.

https://www.irs.gov/forms-pubs/about-form-5695

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