Certified Water Technologist #63

Certified Water Technologist #63
28 Years In the Water Treatment Industry

Small Solar System

If you would like to have a small solar power system to act as a backup for things like refrigerators, in case your power goes out, join the club.

Here is what I did. I purchased 6, 100 watt, 12vdc solar panels from a company called Renogy. In addition, I purchased a 40 amp mppt charge controller(mppt is supposed to be the best), a 3000 watt pure sine wave inverter(purchased from a company called windy nation *hack spit gag assholes* do not buy crap from these guys), and 10 golf cart batteries, 6 volts each. I did not buy all 10 at once, but over the course of a year. I started out with 2 and wound up with 10. I connected these with cables purchased from O'Reillys auto parts.

The inverter died after extremely little use, about 1 day after the warranty expired, and windy nation was zero help. They even had the balls to tell me You're Welcome when I told them thanks for nothing. So I purchased a 2000 watt modified sine wave inverter from harbor freight which so far is working okay. I plan on purchasing another 3000 watt pure sine wave inverter at a later date. Pure sine wave is better for electronics.

I mounted the solar panels on the roof using unistrut and copious amounts of silicone at all screw holes.  3 years later and no roof leaks. I mounted them south facing, angled to get the best sun at about noon. I mounted the charge controller and inverter on a plywood board mounted to the backside of my house. I ran 10 gauge wire from the panels to an automotive style fuseblock, 7.5 amps for each panel, then to the charge control. From the charge control I ran charging wire to the batteries.  The batteries are wired series parallel.  Two 6 volt batteries are in series, then wired parallel to the others that are wired in series, winding up with a 12 volt battery system.

From the batteries, use very large wire to the inverter. I am using 4 gauge. (The assholes at windy nation wanted to yell at me about the wire sizing instead of helping me fix my inverter). You tube and other places have wire sizing guides for you to follow. Don't use wire that is too small, you will lose a lot of energy in the form of heat.

This system allowed me to run 2 refrigerators and a freezer overnight when the power went out on Thanksgiving.  I had a fridge and freezer plugged in together. They were on and off automatically, and did not drain the batteries below about 12.4 or 12.5 volts overnight. During the day they would stay over 13 volts. I would plug the other fridge in periodically to let it run for a while. It sure beat the heck out of finding enough coolers and ice to keep everything cool.

If the SHTF as I suspect it might, you might be glad to have this system or one similar. And if the SHTF doesn't happen, you will be set for rolling power outages caused by uncle pg&e when the wind gets to blowing too hard, and the pge execs start sweating bullets about setting another fire.

The system I have described cost ballpark $3200, with me and my grandson doing the installation. Mostly me. 

If you have a solar system, please comment about yours. If you don't have one, I urge you to start researching one.



















12 comments:

  1. System #1 - greenhouse. one hundred watt panel going into cheap charge controller to power 12v battery that runs sure flow pump that feeds 18 dutch bucket grow system w/ green peppers. Same mount location, two 10 watt panels that run two former attic fans to cool the greenhouse (pusher & puller)Cost??

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  2. System #2 water system. two 12v panels and line grooming regulator feed directly to cheap Chinese submersible pump in 4" well. (sure flow pumps not dependable and customer service non existent):-( fills 2000 gal vertical poly tank. Gravity feeds #3

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  3. System #3 water system into house. #2 feeds 1700 underground poly tank that feeds 12v water pump and pressure tank that feeds house. Runs with 100watt panel, charge controller and two 6v batteries.
    Water system outfitted by Backwoods Solar in Sandpoint, Id. Great company and always helpful.

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    Replies
    1. That sounds like a great water system. Where I am at we have community wells. I have been thinking about putting a booster pump on to help with low pressure, solar might be the way to go.

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    2. They run just like a normal 110v system only 12v

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  4. System #4 Hot water.
    Have a Heart solar hot water panel w/ 10v solar panel that operates circulation pump. Goes into gas hot water heater that starts with pizo lighter, regulated by 110v timer switch that only runs at specific hours or when there is a need for hot water

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  5. System #5 Solar refrigeration-great info from your system. Next project??

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    Replies
    1. I have planned on buying 3-4 kw of panels and running into the house on an inverter, but other things keep getting in the way. What are you doing with solar refrigeration? Running an ac unit on inverter?

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    2. solar system like the one you mentioned

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  6. I am having a frame built on the front top of my travel trailer to mount two 80watt panels to feed through a charge controller to my two batteries. I love to boondock camping and fishing and stay for a few days. It will keep my batteries charged so I don't have to use a generator like my Honda 2000. I have used the folding temp style and it does okay, but not really enough to keep two batteries charged. I have replaced all my incandescent lighting with LEDs and of course when I camp I don't take the computer or watch TV, Why? I am out to relax, you can't relax with electronics.

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  7. I think you will like the 2 panels. I think they will keep your batteries charged up okay. I haven't been fishing in years, keep saying this year is the year.

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    1. Living in Northern Idaho has a lot of fishing here... The Salmon, Snake and Clearwater Rivers are all close and accessible . The panels are going to be mounted flat so they don't get damaged with road missiles, so I won't get 100% efficient as when ya mount at an angle relative to the noon day sun, But it will be enough. I have a new set (2) of group 27 deep cycle batteries and would going to say 4 6volt cart batteries, or the L16 batteries? Answers I will need to work out, but for now I am using 4 month old 27's as they were not cheap and I don't buy cheap, that is very expensive, cheap.

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Road Damage Due to Heat in Midwest----Updated

I have updated the link to go to a different page where you can find this article. Fox news is being assholish about reading their story. ...