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BCM
Durkin Tactical Franklin Armory
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Posted: 11/5/2015 2:56:44 PM EDT
I'm about to make a trade for 5 100w solar panels, nothing but the panels though.  What do I need to get started?  The trade is good on both ends, and I don't have the cash to buy something different and setup stuff.  Batteries,  cables, controller and an AC converter is what I think I need.




What else do I need,  and what can I expect to power with this start?  I plan to expand to 5-10 more panels later.




Renogy 100 Watts 12 Volts Monocrystalline Solar Panel is what he said they are.




I know nothing about setting up solar.  I'm planning on setting up a trailer as a power plant for now.  Probably an enclosed 6x10, I'm not at my final residence yet, so I need to be able to move the set easily.
Link Posted: 11/5/2015 3:12:50 PM EDT
[#1]
Quoted:
I'm about to make a trade for 5 100w solar panels, nothing but the panels though.  What do I need to get started?  The trade is good on both ends, and I don't have the cash to buy something different and setup stuff.  Batteries,  cables, controller and an AC converter is what I think I need.

What else do I need,  and what can I expect to power with this start?  I plan to expand to 5-10 more panels later.


Renogy 100 Watts 12 Volts Monocrystalline Solar Panel is what he said they are.



I know nothing about setting up solar.  I'm planning on setting up a trailer as a power plant for now.  Probably an enclosed 6x10, I'm not at my final residence yet, so I need to be able to move the set easily.
View Quote


I'll let the experts chime in, but what do you want to do with this 'power plant' specifically?

What is your remaining budget?

How many batteries are you willing to buy, for storage purposes?

How many solar hours are you getting in Utah?

Are you planning on a 12vdc system, or are you wanting to feed into a 120vac system--say your home?

What type of 'daily' load will you be presenting to your battery bank?

Each 100w panel is probably good for about 6A of current per hour under great conditions, so 30Ah worth of juice.

Hooking up five 100w panels in parallel, which feed a digital MPPT controller and charge up a 12v Concorde Sun Xtender deep cycle battery bank isn't that hard to do.  Even hooking up a DC>AC inverter would be that hard, but you have to think things through a bit more.

Chris
Link Posted: 11/5/2015 3:39:05 PM EDT
[#2]
The main things that I'm looking to run are going to be a small freezer, occasionally a water pump (3-5) gallons at a time) and a few battery chargers.  In the summer when I need the freezer most I'll get quite a bit of charging time, but the freezer will run a lot also.  Some LED lighting is a must, but not to a large extreme, think 2 rooms at a cabin maybe.  Eventually a Ham radio too.



I have no intention of running a home, but being able to run a computer would be a bonus.





My remaining budget now is about $600 right now.  I'll be able to put more into it later, maybe 600-1000 next year.




My knowledge base is zero, so bare with me.
Link Posted: 11/5/2015 4:13:35 PM EDT
[#3]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
The main things that I'm looking to run are going to be a small freezer, occasionally a water pump (3-5) gallons at a time) and a few battery chargers.  In the summer when I need the freezer most I'll get quite a bit of charging time, but the freezer will run a lot also.  Some LED lighting is a must, but not to a large extreme, think 2 rooms at a cabin maybe.  Eventually a Ham radio too.

I have no intention of running a home, but being able to run a computer would be a bonus.


My remaining budget now is about $600 right now.  I'll be able to put more into it later, maybe 600-1000 next year.

My knowledge base is zero, so bare with me.
View Quote


This is fun and educational.  I'm a solar novice, having smaller USB/12v dinky SHTF systems, so when I put those together, I learned a little bit.

I just wanted to get you to answer some basic questions so the smart people can come in with more pinpointed answers.

Just going on memory, your budget isn't that much.  Fuck, decent deep cycle batteries are $150-$200 a pop and you're going to need a few.  Then you're going to need a digital controller and a MPPT high efficiency version starts at $175 for a quality one and goes up from there.  Then there are wires, connectors, brackets/frames and an inverter than can handle the freezer and ancillary loads.

You'll first need to determine your daily/hourly load and then people can go from there.  Example: your freezer requires how many amps at 110v?  You might be able to put the freezer on a timer, like 4 hours on, 2 hours off, or something along those lines, to save on the juice.

Chris
Link Posted: 11/5/2015 9:29:33 PM EDT
[#4]
Here is a guy who has done something similar:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJ2DgCdj9ec

Link Posted: 11/5/2015 11:58:50 PM EDT
[#5]
Renogy sells good modules.  The 100W is 12V nominal, so it's popular in the RV industry.  When handling them, be careful not to scratch the back-side (that's true for all modules).  

With the right BOS (balance of system) you can have almost 2kWh a day in UT with an off-grid system.  But your budget is going to make it tough.  Without buying a pretty serious charge controller, you're limited to a 12V battery bank.  And that kind of sucks with larger arrays and inverters - big wires required to carry the current.   You really want to try to run a 48V battery bank.  It gives you better options when providing power.  And 4 - 12V/100Ah batteries in series will handle most of the power the array can provide.  

As for charge controller, do not go cheap.  Cheap ruins batteries.  Quickly.  Outback, Morningstar, Schneider, Midnite Solar...  these are the names to look at for charge controllers.   Most can handle 150V open circuit, so you'd be able to hook all your modules up in one string.  

Cheap inverters will work for awhile.  Pure Sine is best, but not a 100% requirement.

The math on design gets ugly and I'm tired, so I won't get into it.  But there are lots of off-grid gurus out there.  Probably more in your neck of the woods than mine.

You're probably going, "huh?"   But that's OK.  Terminology comes with experience.  Read.  

There are a ton of good books out there.  I've got a shelf full of them.  Photovoltaic Design & Installation for Dummies is actually pretty good for a laymen book.  The author, Ryan Mayfield, is a colleague and damn sharp.  I've sat in on his solar training and have been impressed.  

And as a guy who makes a living designing solar systems, beware the "experts".  They screw up more than the rest of us.  

B
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