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Author Topic: Please help a newbie out.  (Read 41673 times)
biffanio
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« on: November 23, 2013, 01:36:27 AM »

Hello all

I am newbie seeking a little advise if someone would kind enough to help me.

I am hoping to start a very small, off the grid solar power set up.

My aims for this is to provide a very small amount of power to my home and reduce my carbon footprint.

My budget is very small and I fully understand I am going to get a very limited system,  but as money allows I would like to expand.

I would like to add a lot more battery capacity and more panels for better storage and output.

By budget is only about 1000 and I have seen a complete system online.

If anyone would please be kind enough to have a look at the equipment and tell me there thoughts on it I would be eternally grateful!
Spam removed, Roll Eyes

Also I would include this interter:

Could I please have any thoughts on the equipment and also would I be able to expand to further batteries and panels easily.?

I am under no illusions that it is a world beater but for my budget would I be getting some value for my buck?

Thank you in eager anticipation.

Neil





« Last Edit: November 23, 2013, 09:06:13 AM by biff » Logged
biff
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« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2013, 09:16:52 AM »

Good Morning Neil and welcome to the forum,
                        A quick look in the Navitron shop,in the solar PV section will reveal a selection of different priced PV panels to suit the pocket. There are even good quality off grid batteries there as well.
       You should have no trouble buying a kw of PV and an inverter for under 1,000 but the Battery question is the sticky one,Its like,"How long is a piece of string"? question and battery quality again is another "How long is a piece of string"? question again.
  Navitron do very good deals in PV (and batteries) but you are best to do the research on batteries and see what you can come up with yourself. From a personal point of view,I am thinking of joining a therapy group that helps people who buy too many forklift trucks just to use the batteries in them.
  So be mucha mucha carefull when you go near these wonderfull inventions or you could end up addicted like me. hysteria
                                                                                Biff
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biffanio
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« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2013, 11:24:32 AM »

Thank you for your reply.

If I also could ask please.

Can you connect any number of panels together?
Do they have to be the same wattage, make ect?

How would you spend 1000 on a system that would have plenty of room for additions, ie batteries, panels ect.

I am doing lots of research on this project but I just want to make sure I start on the right footing.

Many thanks

Neil
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DaveSnafu
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« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2013, 01:52:46 PM »

To add more panels is relatively straightforward, as long as they are similar in output.
 Adding more batteries is a no no, sorry to say it but you should lash out on a decent set and stick with them from the word go.
The batteries will take up a large amount of your budget, I would suggest buying a set of used forklift cells, for a few reasons.........
Traction cells are very tolerant of misuse, they are massively built and last a long time, buy 12 of them (24v).

24v systems are well supported, the grid panels available cheap at the moment are very close to battery voltage so you can run a much cheaper type of controller.
Traction cells do not mind being rapidly charged or discharged, and you can use all of it.

There are some very nice batteries on the market...........but for your first set of batteries, (training batteries ?) I would not go overboard.....you will make mistakes.....you will learn from them.....after a few years you will have a good idea on how to keep your batteries in good shape, only then should you blow a lot of dough on some fancy batteries.


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Proven wt2500,24v batteries,running house,navitron solar thermal integrated tank, 10 x 210w eclipse italia pv, wbs,
martin
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« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2013, 02:10:20 PM »

Howsabout designing a "starter system" that'll be of real use in the first place, that can be kept way into the future, even when you've got something bigger and better?
I've got something very simple that just "sort of happened" rather than being "designed", but is very useful all the same - prices are now very different on many things, so we were rather restricted on pv panels compared to nowadays (prices have dropped a lot). Mine's 220w of "12v" Yingli pv panels, feeding a 12v battery bank through a Morningstar PWM regulator, and feeding either 12v to "shed" circuits for lighting and entertainment (car radio, amp etc) or 240v through a 300 watt pure sinewave inverter (ample for my glass grinder etc)  -then when we get a power cut (which is fairly often out here in the sticks) I run a long extension lead from the inverter into the property, where I plug in a "5 socket block" that always has the wifi router, computer, "kitchen" tv and a standard lamp attached (normally running off the mains)......It's useful, practical, and won't lose it's usefulness!
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martin
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« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2013, 02:18:59 PM »

Just as an example - howsabout 2 of these - http://www.navitron.org.uk/product_detail.php?proID=732&catID=133 - 320
1 of these http://www.navitron.org.uk/product_detail.php?proID=662&catID=127 - 70
2 of these http://www.navitron.org.uk/product_detail.php?proID=795&catID=157 - 550

Which leaves 60 towards one of these http://www.navitron.org.uk/product_detail.php?proID=896&catID=120 ....... then just add a few more panels when you have the money.............

All quality gear from a reputable company! Wink
« Last Edit: November 23, 2013, 02:24:32 PM by martin » Logged

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biffanio
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« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2013, 02:59:13 PM »

Thanks for your assistance guys,it is really appreciated!

I am sure i will be back with more questions soon!

Best wishes

Neil
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biffanio
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« Reply #7 on: November 23, 2013, 04:34:29 PM »

Hello again,

Can any solar panels be used for an off the grid setup?

The reason i ask is that there is a pv panel subsection on the navitron website named solar pv for battery charging.

Are these the only panels that you can use for off the grid systems?

Sorry for being so confused!

Neil
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martin
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« Reply #8 on: November 23, 2013, 05:08:13 PM »

The simple answer is that the ones listed under the "battery" section give a voltage more suited to charging batteries - you can indeed use "any" pv panel, but the regulator/charge controller may well have to be of a lot more complex and expensive type for use with them.....
« Last Edit: November 23, 2013, 05:23:38 PM by martin » Logged

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biffanio
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« Reply #9 on: November 23, 2013, 09:18:53 PM »

Good evening all, the pest is back!

I have picked out the items I would like to purchase for my first of the grid solar system.

Could someone kind, with knowledge in this field please comment on my potential purchases please?

I initially has a starting budget of a small 1000 but have gone over (like you do)!

Okay here goes:

2 X rolls batteries 4000 series6v 460 amps.

1 X morning star 45 amp mppt controller.

2 X 245w framed pv panels.

1 X 12v pure sin Inverter 1.5kw.

I would hope you upgrade this system with more pv panels and more batteries within a few months.

Would this system work properly, be affective  and be readily upgradable in the future?

Thank you in advance for any comments.

Thank you

Neil

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martin
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« Reply #10 on: November 23, 2013, 11:15:45 PM »

You'll soon pick up that "it isn't as easy as it looks" - it is generally accepted that it isn't wise to add to an existing battery bank (as they age, their characteristics change, and adding "new" batteries tends to make the whole lot fail).
Generally though, your choices look sensible, the only thing I'd quibble with is the socking great inverter, for which we need to do some sums - at a lowish voltage (12v) the current to drive that thing at anywhere near capacity is utterly colossal (well over 100 amps current) meriting cables as thick as your finger, and it'd kill the batteries stone dead inside 3 hours
(a simple rule of thumb is to never load a battery bank with more than 10% of the batteries capacity)  - a 1.5kw inverter will draw around 30%  - a quick way to kill your batteries (and empty them!) - which is why I would suggest a far lower capacity 350 watt inverter - maximum possible draw around 30 amps -something like 6 or 7%........ The other thing to bear in mind is that the maximum I'd ever want to take from a battery is 50% of it's capacity - so if you have 460 ampere hours to start with, that's a maximum sensible limit of 230 ampere hours draw in a day. You can run many of life's little "essentials" on a smallish inverter, if you want a bigger inverter you need a simply enormous battery bank.
A good motto is "start backwards" and decide what you want to run/is sensible to run from the system.
Then to further complicate matters, your panels will produce roughly 6 times as much power in a day in midsummer than they will in midwinter......... Cool
« Last Edit: November 23, 2013, 11:18:32 PM by martin » Logged

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biffanio
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« Reply #11 on: November 23, 2013, 11:46:16 PM »

Thank you ever so much Martin.
You have been an amazing help.
What kind and type of controller would you recommend to work well with these components?

My mistake was thinking that a fairly powerful controller would accept more upgrading.

I am really pleased you are able to pick holes in my choices.

It really is a science and such a balancing act.

Thank you for sharing you knowledge!

Neil
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biffanio
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« Reply #12 on: November 23, 2013, 11:48:21 PM »

Sorry not controller, the Inverter!
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martin
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« Reply #13 on: November 24, 2013, 12:12:18 AM »

I think that I'd stick with a relatively "small" inverter like a 350 watt (or an even smaller one), as you can't effectively "add" to the battery bank once you've got it, and power whatever you can from it (which is a surprising amount)-  if you have a thumping great inverter you're never going to (sensibly) use it "flat out", and the "losses" will be higher than a smaller inverter.(When you go for a larger system you'll probably want to go for 24v or even 48v battery bank and inverter).
About the only sensibly "upgradeable" part of the suggested system would be the solar panels, but even then the old "10%" rule of thumb kicks in - it's not kind to the batteries to charge at much above 10% of the battery bank's capacity - in summer the suggested panels will be chucking out around 40 amps - battery bank 460 ampere hours is a pretty good match........
Some good sums to do would be what you can expect in the way of charge both in midwinter and midsummer, and cut your cake (consumption) accordingly - 500 watts of panels will give very roughly their rating in a day in midwinter (40 ampere hours) - in midsummer, six times that........
SO in midwinter, if you're drawing say 100 watts (call it 10 ampere hours to account for some of the losses), it'll only take 4 hours to take out what you put in (and you need to aim towards the keeping the batteries towards the full end).
Hope that all makes sense - one other thing to chuck into the equations - battery life - an el cheapo battery will quote something like "300 cycles to 50% DOD (depth of discharge)" -  that translates to "if you use half the charge in the battery, it will on average do 300 cycles before knackering out permanently" (which means that el cheapos will last under a year if discharged that deeply) - it's very roughly pro rata, so if you discharge to 20% instead, it should do 750 cycles, or 10%, 1500 cycles................(which is why it pays to design not to discharge too deeply!)
So, to cut a long story short, I'd go for the above system, treat it as your "learner system", let it run your choice of things, and "get the feel" of what it can do -THEN with some experience under your belt, leave the system in place, working for it's living, and go for the big 24/48v system - that way you'll get more of your money's worth...........
Hope that helps - it really does pay to do the sums, and heed the advice, particularly of the "off-gridders" on the forum, they've learned, often the hard and expensive way what works.........


« Last Edit: November 24, 2013, 12:15:55 AM by martin » Logged

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biffanio
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« Reply #14 on: November 24, 2013, 12:23:23 AM »

Or would you say if I added say another 2 batteries of the same spec would that suit the Inverter more?

That would be like a 1840 amps of battery.
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