- This topic has 29 replies, 12 voices, and was last updated 1 year ago by keebler t.
November 1, 2018 at 4:16 pm #2749Anonymous
I’m fed up with having a half dozen power outages a year in the last 3 or 4 years. Takes anywhere from 6 to 12 hours to fix. Had fewer outages years ago and they used to fix them in a couple of hours.
I’m interested in finding websites (or facebook, yuck) of people who use solar power on a daily basis. I just need a place were I can ask questions. I have read about solar power but if you know of books or websites that would be useful, I would like to know.
November 1, 2018 at 8:55 pm #2773
NM – Do you have anything in particular in mind? Totally off grid, tied into the grid, batteries, garden shed? Maybe save a few steps if you’ve got something in mind.
Also are solar subsidies available in your area and if so would you use them?
November 1, 2018 at 11:37 pm #2780Anonymous
@DB Yes, I want a battery bank or maybe a Tesla Powerwall. I’m assuming that you need to be grid connected for when you have excess generated power. No, don’t expect to be able to run the A/C, refrigerator, freezer or electric hot water heaters without getting that from the grid.
What I want to run: CPAP machine, alarm system including surveillance cameras and monitor, small refrigerator for insulin, ham and other radios, small TV and satellite receiver for news, Internet router (possible backup satellite Internet connection), Recharge: laptop(s), tablets, cell phones, tools, flashlight batteries, etc., laptop monitor, and a few lights. Yard lights, but not after the SHTF. So, what have I left out?
Haven’t yet thought about subsides. I’m retired so I’m not sure if tax credits would help me much. What would be the reasons for not taking a subsidy if it was available to me?
November 2, 2018 at 12:19 am #2782
Gotcha. Sounds like an off grid 2-4 Kwh system with batteries – ish.
All solar components have improved in efficiency and come down in price over the last few years. With the exception of batteries. No earth shattering leaps there yet. AGM batteries will be the way to go, I’m sure.
Forget a power wall at the moment. Can’t get it and no follow on support/repair components available right now, or maybe ever.
As far as subsidies. A lot or conventional power companies are making it so it’s not cost effective for solar, or you can’t do it at all for grid tied. So you may get a nice subsidy on the front end and much higher cost on the back end. E.G., gotta pay extra for the “use” of the grid, specialized metering equipment, higher monthly base bill, etc.
Couple more questions. Is this a DIY or pay somebody to do it all or in part? How’s your local power co. with solar, do they pay, charge or nuetral?
If you’re a pretty decent DIY’er you could design and build the system as I’ve described above and save a few hundred $ mininmum. If not or you want grid tie, you might want to pay a bit extra for them to do the more technical aspects.
November 2, 2018 at 1:38 am #2785Anonymous
I read in the paper 2 or 3 years ago that my power company now allows homeowners to grid tie, but I haven’t researched the details yet.
At my age and health climbing around on the roof and in the attic is no longer an option. I’ll have to hire that done or make a new friend, or barter something. I’m pretty sure I could wire up the battery bank, if I had someone to go over the plans before and inspect the work after. My biggest problem is there are no basements around here so I don’t know where to put the batteries. Can’t put them in the living space. I have a 120 amp AGM battery and I tried charging it up in the house. Real quick my lips started burning so I figured the battery must be out gassing so I unplugged the charger and opened all the windows and doors for an hour. Tried again with a less powerful charger, same thing. Not knowing where to put the battery bank is my biggest holdup right now.
I got shocked a few times playing with electronics when I was a kid. I ain’t touching the house wiring. So, need help with that too.
I want to be totally involved in the design, or at least have it explained to me in detail because if the SHTF I’ll have to maintain and maybe expand/replace the system. I will want lots of photos of everything, especially panel installation. Someday somebody else will have to maintain the system and I want lots of documentation.
November 2, 2018 at 10:13 am #2813
If you want to grid tie, it’ll need to be inspected to some degree at least. So hiring someone licensed to do that is in the cards.
The beauty of AGM’s is that that they don’t “need” to be housed in their own vented space. Lead acid and the like, do. Of course local building codes can affect that. Off gassing during a normal charge in negligible, during a maintenance charge they can off gas somewhat. You wouldn’t want them in the kitchen naturally, but certainly in a garage or a utility type room. If you’re sensitive though, that is certainly a consideration.
Without subsidies, a lot of solar installers wouldn’t be. Maybe you’ve noticed in your area all the solar co.’s coming and going.
With that said, I’d recommend checking around to see if someone from one of those outfits might do side jobs just like you’re describing. Or maybe an ex-employee that has their own gig in the blue collar trades now that might help you out. I see plenty of that happening especially in rural areas and it’ll save you a lot of time and probably money. They might have access to some cheaper second hand equipment as well.
I’ll post some links after I narrow down some appropriate sites. Basic solar isn’t that hard to comprehend or even set up a nice system. It’s dealing with all the codes, the myriad of equipment options and the potential lifestyle changes if you want to go hard core solar.
November 2, 2018 at 1:45 pm #2854Anonymous
Unfortunately, no garage, only a carport. Although, I have thought about enclosing the carport into a garage. I could do that, with some help.
I’ll keep my eye open for the links.
November 2, 2018 at 10:34 pm #2905
Here’s a couple links to get you started. If you have more questions, I’m happy to help as I can from afar, via this topic/forum or you can PM me.
You could set up a low maintenance, off grid system to run what you initially describe. Barring destruction of your system, you’d have electricity for any/all of those things on your list should the grid be down.
This first one has some good links mentioned.
This one may give you some quick answers you’re looking for.
A pretty good video and covers some important basics. Has some good pointers for the beginner.
This one for available incentives
November 4, 2018 at 7:37 pm #3050Fred KrugerParticipant
Buy solar cheap… depends on manufacturers but this wholesaler usually has panels for 28 to 40 cents per kw.
I’ve used them personally several times.
Google sun electronics Miami.
If you are doing solar as a prepper… I’d recommend either an off grid system or a hybrid system.
That way you’ll not need a stand by generator nor its fuel. If you have just a grid tie system…. the grid goes down you go down.
November 4, 2018 at 8:16 pm #3055
With battery back up, a grid tied system will have power as long as the batteries are getting sufficient charge. That is the most expensive option however.
There are also charge controllers out there for grid tied, no batteries, that have 1 or 2 120v plugs so power can be supplied only when the solar panels are getting enough sun. But that’s really only for charging your cell phone and the like, not for running a major appliance.
I agree with Fred wholeheartedly. Total off grid solar or off grid hybrid is the way to go for prepping purposes.
November 4, 2018 at 8:18 pm #3056
Here’s a couple good links for solar pricing and related.
November 5, 2018 at 8:01 am #3091The Terrible TripletParticipant
There are ways to power stuff via solar without going grid tied.
The real question with anything solar, comes down to the following:
2) NEEDS vd WANTS.
3) Are you seriously prepared to make lifestyle changes?
On points above:
1) Depending on the why, one can start on another way to reach your goal:
1.1) If power failures are the pressing need to resolve, you don’t need solar.
1.2) If you want to save money, then grid tied is the best way BUT …
1.3) With grid tied, if the grid goes down then your solar system goes off too, a safety feature.
1.4) If you want to go grid tied and cater for power failures, then you need batteries and a hybrid inverter system.
2) Their is a massive price difference NEEDS vs WANTS.
3) Solar systems work best when the sun shines, a wee little caveat one does not realise until it is too late. When is you power usage the most, day or evenings when all comes home?
3.1) If you need power in the evenings, the price tag goes up substantially.
3.2) Catering for bad weather is another issue to consider after the above points have been decided upon.
4) BEFORE you start on solar systems, you have to understand your loads, reduce them. The alternative is seriously more expensive ito panels, batteries and inverter.
I can share / help / guide with a few ideas, if anyone wants?
And I don’t make one cent, so the advice is free and Caveat Emptor applies at all times.
December 29, 2018 at 3:48 pm #6940Anonymous
You can easily and quite cheaply build your own li-ion battery packs with very little knowledge and overhead to get started. I’ve built a few for my e-bike and they beat lead acid batteries hands down on every level.
Here’s a good tutorial and it’s very easily to scale, but better to hook your needs up into blocks, rather than into a single system. A good place to start is to get a power consumption meter and see what you need. Here’s a source: https://energyusecalculator.com/electricity_usage_monitor.htm
And here’s a resource for building li-ion battery packs.
How To Build A DIY Electric Bicycle Lithium Battery From 18650 Cells
December 29, 2018 at 8:36 pm #6948
Ok how would you build a real life unit of aa or d batteries 1400 amp hours 48 v? You can buy a surrete rolls set for about $12000 with 80%depth of discharge with 5000 charge cycle life flooded lead acid…. how are you going to lithium that? Small packs ok large ones tech is not there Ballard has huge city storage devices using lithium at 700,000 for one with 10 year warrantee. It’s size 4x4x6 feet and 6 tons. Has massive fire warning as in lithium if caught on fire can split water and increase the fire.
This doesn’t happen? Lithium batteries are banned from planes, the cellphone fires are from lithium batteries.
When building solar you are talking 7to10 year payback, life of system is 25. Now ask yourself how cheap do you want to go and still think you will make pay back? Cheap is not the solution if you want it to work for the 25 years. Name one tool that last that long you buy cheap? One electronic device? One mechanical? So cheap does not work, buy quality it will keep you satisfied long after the joy of a cheap price and constant problems begin.
Batteries in my workshop 48v 1400 ex surette rolls no worries on off gassing I have a wood heated shop.
- This reply was modified 4 years, 3 months ago by namelus.
December 29, 2018 at 8:56 pm #6950Anonymous
Cheap? This doesn’t fit the normal definition of cheap. You most certainly can buy quality samsung, Panasonic, LG, etc. 18650’s, 26650’s, which are protected and add even further protection in your build. Building them yourself is what makes them more economically viable.
I’ve been using li-ion for years and they have been as safe as lead acid. Tip, don’t buy a no name from China.
December 30, 2018 at 9:25 pm #7028
Average electric bill is 800 to 1400 a month for me spending 60,000 on solar complete off grid is a no brainer when you do the math.
The best solar panels are made in ways a home person cant manufacture, look at how day4 makes panels, they in my opinion are the best you can buy. There is a place in Germany now on year 14 still operation al at 105 percent of rated output… let’s see how Samsung ( they use silvery epoxy which fails in heating cooling cycles) cheap chinese with corrosive single point solder last. You need a mesh with heavy backing foil, look at what they use in space where you cant get a cheap repair and then make some choices.
You get what you pay for if you know what to look for. If you can afford to change there are companies who will finance a change to renewable which will decrease your monthly payments, both is canada and usa. This means only reason you are not moving on this is its not important enough for you or you rent.
- This reply was modified 4 years, 3 months ago by namelus.
December 31, 2018 at 4:41 am #7042
By the way day4 can no longer be purchased, the tech was sold to Italian producer.
July 11, 2021 at 8:36 am #38541
I added 5–10 watt panels .Via using cigarette lighter plug to maintain vehicles battery when not used weekly works great.I installed a 20 watt,& control to lawnmower start battery (w.mart) and a switch to 3 solar LED lights in my 12×20 shed. B.O.L. has 90 watt panel to (4D) battery (Tractor supply) $149.99 for 12 volt LED lighting when power off out there.1 light in each room Off battery.
December 20, 2021 at 11:07 am #43947
Do you guys know the history of solar panels? I encourage you to learn about their history so you can better understand solar panel technology. The article address is here.
January 17, 2022 at 4:42 pm #44973
Have you ever wondered how you should clean your solar panels?
Here’s an article on the subject –
January 21, 2022 at 9:04 am #45618
One of the most useful devices are microinverters. They are connected directly to each panel. There are many different kinds of microinverters at the moment. Here’s an article on the subject here
January 21, 2022 at 1:42 pm #45619
The best solar panels for your home. Check it out here – https://cupertinotimes.com/best-solar-panels-for-your-home/
Here you’ll find what you’re looking for!
Have you guys ever wondered where these panels come from? Here is an interesting article on this topic. I will leave the link here – https://www.gildshire.com/the-history-of-solar-panels/
January 25, 2022 at 11:50 am #45743
If you are interested in 300w solar panels. I recommend visiting this article
February 1, 2022 at 8:35 am #46120
When you install solar panels you wonder what inverter to install. Normal or micro inverter. Here is an article on the subject
February 1, 2022 at 9:12 am #46127
my main reason for solar panel,& Battery storage 600 Watts use is 12 volt lighting, well pump,TV, Radio AM, FM,HAM, weather band. I have propane cook stove,& a 12 volt / propane 5 cu.ft Fridge i really don’t intend to INVERT for any 115 VAC appliance, I have a Xantrex 1000 Watt full wave inverter. Outside a portable Dual Fuel 6,000 watt generator,
February 2, 2022 at 2:29 pm #46184
get a good controller -100 watt panel might be capable of 7 amps or close in full sun & 18+ volts no load this can fry your stuff. also be sure to have a battery or some sort, so not to fry your stuff.so voltage is sort of [email protected] 12+ up to 14 at most.
February 4, 2022 at 1:41 pm #46247Julia CronenParticipant
Considering that I want to power the garage and street lights with cameras and gates, will a 3.3 kW system be enough for me to make them completely autonomous and not tied to the network?
February 4, 2022 at 5:34 pm #46254
you would need to see all data from all wattage, per unit, added together ,hopefully your thinking everything is 12 volts dc- plus a pretty good size controller,also you need batteries to support all this. camera’s are going to “what” + inverter to operate computer & monitor 115 volts. and some sort.of memory. system.
gate will probably draw the most power. .is gate automatic of manual.control thru viewing .
just don’t have a idea.sorry i can just guess.
March 18, 2022 at 10:39 am #47909BarrensHomeyParticipant
I’m looking at a DIY off grid system, waiting for her to give me the ok, because it’s a significant expense. Batteries are the big hitter, even old style lead acid batteries cost $1K plus. And solar panels on your roof are a big sign of “disposable income” for random meth heads and thieves in the area. You may want to keep that advertising to a minimum in the coming years.
I’m considering a backup power system without the panels for now, charging batteries from utility for short term power during grid failure. A couple deep cycle batteries would be sufficient for security system and minimal lighting to last me a week, but refrigeration would be a big power draw. A tiny camper van fridge might keep essentials cool for a few days. Don’t try to run power tools off a system like that, you’ll fry the inverter in no time.
March 18, 2022 at 8:18 pm #47937
there are so many 12-24 volt items,IE; well pump,all your lighting can be (Leds) 6 cu ft refrigerator (RV)/ camper. 2 way 12 volt ignition and maintain on control /Propane work great ,might use 30 lbs a month. possible cook meals on propane as well..here in town i have a 20 watt Solar panel maintaining lawnmower start Battery $29. @ wall mart & 1 rotary timer switch to shut off lights in my 12×20 ft shed.my 2 vans (BOV) have 10 watt or less maintain the batterys. i just installed a 50 watt panel which will go to 4 group S78DT batterys + battery boxes for safety ( Walmart) i bought at “Lowes $90. each plus core .Red/Black 10 gage wire i use for all DC circuits,fuse holders some sort switch.which will light all my lighting here,.I also have a 12 volt outside light 6 watt LED bulb & /20 watt panel to Lawnmower start battery that has photo cell control.comes on Dark.I have 12 volt TV. & radio’s.there are lead acid 12 volt (class 4D) batterys about 900 CCA huge amount of power, Tractor supply has them price changes daily ? $300….battery box available for them too.endless possibilities .My 2 cents.
also get a small10 gallon House water heater (lowes, there are 12 volt heating elements available
lowest wattage available? 100 watt solar or more will heat the water (slow but works.), 12 volt DC water pump.camper ,Harbor freight might have 12 volt one. old computers had 12 volt 4” square fans. some are 2 speed.$6.oo.
keebler. have fun.
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