Working Thread for Solar Beginner Post/FAQ

BB.BB. Super Moderators Posts: 26,768 admin
Everyone,

I have trimmed these posts from another thread and intend to put everything together in a Stick FAQ/Thread... Please feel free to add suggestions and update information as you see fit.

In a few days, I (or anyone who wants) can cut and past everything into one post (and post edit).

-Bill

If you want a do-it-yourself kit... This one appears to be hard to beat:

www.solarroofs.com

Solar Guppy has many years experience with a system from them and has been pretty happy. It does require proper maintenance to keep running well and to prevent problems (like freeze damage).

There have been a few threads here that link back to several extensive home projects--right down to installation photos, and documentation of mistakes and corrections...

Link 1
Link 2
Link 3
www.arttec.net/Solar/BarnHeat.html (also sells battery based Differential temperature pump controller).

Follow the off-forum links. The several projects/websites highlighted are very educational.

And this one is a bit more low tech home made heating system. Also very interesting and informative.

Between the two above links, they probably give the best detailed explanations of how to do a major home heating/domestic hot water project that I have seen.

The second one is, by itself, probably not practical for a city home system--but both give great ideas of the scope of such projects.

-Bill
Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
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Comments

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators Posts: 26,768 admin
    edited December 2015 #2
    Working Thread for Solar Beginner Post/FAQ

    Everyone,

    I have trimmed these posts from another thread and intend to put everything together in a Stick FAQ/Thread... Please feel free to add suggestions and update information as you see fit.

    In a few days, I (or anyone who wants) can cut and past everything into one post (and post edit).

    -Bill

    Our general suggestion for getting into solar PV electricity:
    1. Conservation--Reduce your power needs by changing to LED/CFL lighting, Energy Star Appliances (computer, TV, etc.), and just turning things off. For AC devices--get a Kill-A-Watt meter to measure their draw.
    2. Know your loads--You need to measure your loads... Watts*Hours (average power * time) or Amps*Hours (for 12 volt / DC loads). Average usage per day and by season (more sun in summer, less in winter -- same for PV power). This is where you set your expectations for your solar power system. Generating the solar power is expensive (~$1.00 TO $2.00+ per kWhr vs $0.10 per kWhr for utility power).
    3. Design the System--This part is pretty straight forward. Define your location, season(s) of use, mounting of panels (fixed, flat or tilt, how much space, etc.). Generator backup power, battery monitoring equipment, how much you want to spend (range of solar panels, charge controllers, inverter, battery types, battery monitor, etc.).
    Here are some frequently asked questions that will help you with the understanding the basic issues:

    All About Charge Controllers
    Read this page about power tracking controllers
    All About Inverters
    Choosing an inverter for water pumping
    Deep Cycle Battery FAQ
    Solar Radiation Tables for US
    PV Watts--Simple Solar Power Calculator Program (use Derating=0.52 for off-grid systems)
    http://maps.nrel.gov/imby (In my back yard--From poster Steppapajon)
    PVGIS--European/African Solar Power Calculator Program (Thanks to user stephendv for link)
    Solar Electricity Handbook (found this one with many more world wide locations--Software Menu could be flaky--pick random US site first, then enter other country worked for me 2/2/2013 -BB)
    For 12 Volt & RV Systems - HandyBob's long discussion and rant is about 99% right on how to make RV and similar 12 volt systems work correctly. One of the few "non NAWS" articles that we recommend.

    Smart Gauge's website has Peukert math information and even a couple spread sheet that you can download to calculate the 20 HR rate from other rates:

    www.smartgauge.co.uk/peukert_chg.html
    www.smartgauge.co.uk/peukert_depth.html

    Here is a remove bad link nice thread with video[/URL] from Kevin in Calgary Canada that shows designing and installing solar PV in a small RV trailer.

    New Link to Kevin's thread:
    http://forum.solar-electric.com/discussion/3246/best-vmp-for-use-with-solarboost-2000e#latest

    Poster Robert "2ManyToyz" has created a web page about the installation and use of his Link Pro Battery Monitor. How to install instructions and youtube video included.

    Our host is Northern Arizona Wind & Sun (Flagstaff Az) and they have a webstore with a good selection of components to build your own solar system. You do not have to purchase from them--but it is a handy place to find reliable products at reasonable prices to layout your system.

    If you have questions about those products, or others from different vendors--please ask. We are all volunteers here with no connection to NAWS (except for Windsun, the Admin from NAWS) and are happy to help.

    -Bill

    Note:
    Updated PV Watts Link--old link is no longer valid. 3/27/2010
    Add PVGIS Link 2/21/2011
    Add Smart Guage Links 7/19/2011
    Add IMBY linkl 11/27/2012
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators Posts: 26,768 admin
    Re: Where to Start: RV and Solar Power

    For many of your loads, you have the choice of solar PV electric or alternative power sources (the biggest choice is probably the fridge on electric or propane power)...

    If you live there 9 months or more of the year--then usually the choice is to pick an Energy Star fridge (even frostless in-door water, etc.) is a good one (around 400-800 kWhrs per year)... Propane, over the long term is probably a more expensive solution (cost of fuel, smaller/more expensive propane fridge, etc.).

    ENERGY STAR government's home page

    Off-Grid power, at least for planning purposes (assuming costs are spread over 20 years or so) still will cost you around $1-$2.00+ per kWhr. So--that "low power" fridge/freezer still will cost you between $400-$1,600 a year).

    Note that small refrigerators are seldom energy efficient. A 2 cuft "bar fridge" may use 250 kWhrs per year. A 18-20 cuft fridge/freezer will use around 400-500 cuft per year. 2x the power for 10x the storage.

    Looking at a fridge designed for off-grid use (solar or propane) are usually very expensive and have few "features" (not frost free, smaller than a standard fridge, etc.). Can be difficult to get service.

    There are alternatives for many of the "power hungry" appliances out there... One of the neatest solutions is to take a chest freezer and change the thermostat over to one that will work in the "fridge" temperature range... Can get down to 0.25 kWhrs per day (instead of 1-2 kWhrs per day).

    Chest freezer as a chest refrigerator
    micro freezer

    Solar Thermal can be a nice source for space heating and hot water... And usually is "cheaper" per kWhr/BTU vs Solar PV Electric. Also, Solar Thermal lends itself very well to do it yourself projects. Note, these are plumbing projects and have their own issues (leaks, pump failures, installation issues trapping air, anti-freeze, storage, heat exchangers, etc.):

    Solar Shed and other Solar Thermal Links

    A good place to start reading is Home Power Magazine... They have a free past issue online--and have a lot of articles you can read for free. I don't always agree with them and their reviews--but they are a fun and enlightening read:

    Home Power Mag


    You have not asked yet about wind power... At this point, I would suggest you forget installing a wind turbine until you have everything else up and running. Wind may seem cheap, but it is expensive to maintain and few turbines out there will last very long or generate very much power. I can add links--but won't unless you ask... Sort of feels like beating a dead horse (and I am not a pro-wind guy anyway--so it may look like I am being negative).

    In the end, measure / quantify the power usage of every thing you will be feeding energy, work out its cost vs your needs, then plan the power system required to support it.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,090 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Where to Start: RV and Solar Power

    A couple of thoughts just to augment Bill's great thead.

    As you are calculating your loads, remember loads will grow with time, try to budget for that. Second, Pv will produce LESS than you calculate net/net out of the wire in most cases. Most people over estimate production and underestimate loads.

    To get started, eliminate all resistance electric heat sources, toasters, hair driers, waffle irons, coffee pots etc. There are alternatives to ALL these and more. Consider a LP fridge which can be run fairly efficiently while reducing Pv costs. (Long term an energy star fridge will be cheaper net/net, but is short term cash is king then LP is the way to go.

    Design your system to grow as your budget, but be advised that some things grow better than others. Many large inverters don't run very efficiently with small loads, same with charge controllers. Battery banks don't grow very well either, as new batteries shouldn't be added to existing strings.

    Remember, off grid is going to be about twice as expensive per kwh as grid tie, something in the range of ~$10/AC watt. You really have to figure if it makes sense to bite the bullet and string grid power.

    The best advise I can give is, do you homework, read all you can here and elsewhere, and avoid the "ready, fire, aim" syndrome that plagues so many newbies.

    Good luck,

    Tony
  • cokebbehcokebbeh Registered Users Posts: 8
    Re: SUN-A-205-fa2 OR Evergreen ES-A-Series 205 Watt A

    Hello,
    May I ask what UL is and what it does?
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,090 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: SUN-A-205-fa2 OR Evergreen ES-A-Series 205 Watt A

    UL is the "Underwriters Labs" They were funded initially by the insurance industry to make sure products met certain safety standards. If you produce a product and wish it to be "listed" you have to submit samples for testing by the lab.

    Many building/electrical codes require a UL listing for installation in a building or connection to the grid. Also many insurance companies may deny coverage if an accident/fire etc was caused by a non-listed component.

    There are other testing listing agencies, including ICBO, IAPMO, ANSI, CUL etc.

    It generally is up to the user/installer to confirm that any component meets the code agencies requirement. Just because a component isn't "listed" doesn't mean it is of poor quality or defective, it just means that the manufacturer hasn't spent the time and money to get the listing. Getting a component listed is very expensive.

    So in the case of the Sun panels, they are fine panels,, they just don't carry a UL listing,

    Tony
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators Posts: 26,768 admin
    Re: SUN-A-205-fa2 OR Evergreen ES-A-Series 205 Watt A

    UL is probably the original Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory.

    Underwriters Laboratories (UL) was created for use by Insurance Companies to increase and document the safety of various products (starting with fire safety).

    Testing is performed on "first articles" and ongoing manufacturing line inspection (built to specifications) and traceability (such as tags from fuse mfg. being installed inside power supply, insulation is from flame retardant plastic made to spec. in outside company, etc.).

    Wiki History of UL

    Originally, in the US, UL was the only safety organization that was called out in various local and state laws via building codes and NEC (National Electric Code). Typically enforced by fire departments and building inspectors--if there was not a "UL" mark, they could demand that the device/product/part be removed from service (no UL on coffee pot, unplug it or shutdown the business) or deny occupancy permits.

    Also, insurance companies can deny coverage on claims if it is found that non-listed/recognized components where the cause of a fire, injury, death, etc.

    In court, it is generally the basis for a defense that the entity being sued took due diligence that the maker/user took appropriate care in selling/using the product.

    Note that NRTL's are (or should be) certified (competent) to test classes of products... For example a lab certified to test toys cannot test circuit breakers.

    Some countries use UL/NRTL/local labs as a way to enforce trade laws (can't get in through customs without appropriate mark). There are many companies out there that are NRTL's--typical in the US include UL, CSA, ETL, TUV (several different companies), etc.

    In the USA (and some countries) UL was the only approved lab (required by customs on imports).

    In the last couple decades, there have been treaties (?) creating the concept of NRTL (Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories). Each country would declare which labs where NRTL in relationship to their laws and codes (and remove, for example, "UL" from their codes/laws and use NRTL). This allowed other labs (domestic and foriegn) to perform safety certification and inspections (for internal use and export).

    NRTL's are documenting the safety of various items. They are not guaranteeing fitness for any particular use or even that the product may perform the way the vendor says it does (although, there are new services that can document/verify the performance of "things" too--outside of the normal function of a NRTL).

    What does this mean for you... In the US and Canada--if your project involves local building/fire inspectors, insurance liability coverage, or the possibility of using/operating the device can cause lawsuits (damage, injury, death)--then you are pretty much forced to use NRTL Listed/recognized components.

    If this is for "other use" (personal use, use in an out building, not connected to the Utility Grid, etc.)--NRTL marking is not required--but can frequently still be a positive point (i.e., worth paying extra money for) to indicate that the vendor took basic steps to follow industry standards for the safety of a product.

    This is different than the "CE" mark... While the "CE" mark implies certain safety, regulatory, and even documenting that the unit may meet functional requirements--This does not meet any "Safety" requirements in the US. The CE mark is self documented and certified by a declaration of the manufacturer. And does not require the validation of any outside vendor (may be some legal liability).

    For an example of what can happen if a set of solar panels does not meet NRTL requirements see this thread:

    Panel Fire Question

    The long answer to a short question. :roll:

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators Posts: 26,768 admin
    Re: Working Thread for Solar Beginner Post/FAQ

    Everyone,

    I have trimmed these posts from another thread and intend to put everything together in a Stick FAQ/Thread... Please feel free to add suggestions and update information as you see fit.

    In a few days, I (or anyone who wants) can cut and past everything into one post (and post edit).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators Posts: 26,768 admin
    Re: Working Thread for Solar Beginner Post/FAQ

    Any suggested links to a Basic Electricity 101 for beginners? One I found that may be of interest is:

    Electricity for Boaters - BoatSafe.com

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators Posts: 26,768 admin
    Re: Working Thread for Solar Beginner Post/FAQ

    And add to compare the costs of various fuel sources (and why off-grid solar electricity is not cost effective for electric heaters, stoves, hot water:

    Hearth.com's Fuel Cost Comparison Calculator

    -Bill

    And here is another [added 1/29/2012]:
    http://www.travisindustries.com/CostOfHeating_WkSht.asp

    Was doing some wood stove research and stumbled onto this cool little calculator. I know it's not a "solar" thing per say, but it can give you an "at a glance" overview of what it'll cost to heat your home in your area. I think it'd be a good way to supplement your solar config by finding the cheapest way to heat your home. :)

    Anyhow, I thought it'd be helpful, so I posted it. teeth_smile.gif
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • WindsunWindsun Solar Expert Posts: 1,164 ✭✭
    Re: Working Thread for Solar Beginner Post/FAQ

    NREL's Solar Insolation Site

    Kyocera solar power calculator
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators Posts: 26,768 admin
    Re: Working Thread for Solar Beginner Post/FAQ

    I should also add WindSun's / NAWS consolidated FAQ site:

    http://www.windsun.com/

    And how about the "off grid solar A/C" Threads:

    Sanyo mini split AC (inverter/variable speed)
    Sanyo Single Split systems (3,000-9,000 BTU)
    smallest, most efficient A/C ?

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators Posts: 26,768 admin
    Re: Working Thread for Solar Beginner Post/FAQ

    Add another very good Battery FAQ that is often recommended here (latest via Tony/Icarus). [I will add the three battery faqs here for one stop reading. -BB 4.7.2013]

    http://www.windsun.com/Batteries/Battery_FAQ.htm
    http://www.batteryfaq.org/
    http://batteryuniversity.com/

    -Bill

    PS: Another interesting Battery FAQ with "gassing voltages" and how to charge Sealed Lead Acid Batteries first posted by mike90045 and Solar Guppy:

    www.powerstream.com/SLA.htm

    In this next link, is an older bulletin from Rolls (you have to click on this link to see the attachment) on how best to recharge deep cycle batteries. And here is the (text version) of the document. (thank you member "Volvo Farmer")
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators Posts: 26,768 admin
    Re: Working Thread for Solar Beginner Post/FAQ

    Add links about wind power:

    Wind Power Links
    www.otherpower.com (good forum for DIY Wind Power)
    Hugh Piggott - Scoraig Wind Electric site for tons of info (from mike90045)
    Scoraig Wind "Recipe Book" for DYI Turbines (from Chris Olson... From his 4/11/2013 post)
    www.greenpowertalk.org (added from "russ"--Like here but more wind/less solar)
    Small windpower a scam ? Survey says SO
    Truth About Skystream & SWWP
    Windmax HY-2000 2kW Wind Turbine (apparently, some vendors don't sell spare parts--just new turbines. However, the owner, Edward has been very happy with its performance from 2010-2012--BB. 5/31/2012)

    And a general DIY Solar Builder site:

    www.builditsolar.com

    Here is a good series on Do It Yourself solar panel construction (don't recommend, but if you want to try--added Aug 7th, 2011):

    http://fieldlines.com/board/index.ph...,144982.0.html
    http://fieldlines.com/board/index.ph...,144995.0.html
    http://fieldlines.com/board/index.ph...,145004.0.html

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Working Thread for Solar Beginner Post/FAQ

    Some links to manufacturer's websites would be good. With an emphasis on Instruction/Installation Manuals. It can be very helpful to read through the manual before you buy something to see if its really suitable to your needs.

    Blue Sky Energy: http://www.blueskyenergyinc.com/
    BP Solar (US): http://www.bp.com/modularhome.do?categoryId=8050&contentId=7035481
    Concorde Batteries: http://www.concordebattery.com/
    Crown Batteries: http://www.crownbattery.com/
    Enphase Energy: http://www.enphaseenergy.com/
    Evergreen Solar: http://www.evergreensolar.com/
    Exeltech: http://www.exeltech.com/
    Iota Engineering: http://www.iotaengineering.com/dls.htm
    Kyocera Solar: http://global.kyocera.com/prdct/solar/
    Magnum Energy: http://www.magnumenergy.com/
    MidNite Solar: http://www.midnitesolar.com/
    Mitsubishi Solar: http://global.mitsubishielectric.com/bu/solar/
    Morningstar: http://www.morningstarcorp.com/en/home
    Samlex: http://www.samlexamerica.com/
    Sharp Solar (US): http://www.sharpusa.com/SolarElectricity.aspx
    SMA Sunny Boy (US): http://www.sma-america.com/en_US.html
    Steca: http://www.stecasolar.com/index.php?Solar_charge_controllers
    Surrette Batteries: http://www.surrette.com/
    Outback Power: http://www.outbackpower.com/
    TLG Windpower: http://www.tlgwindpower.com/tlg500_main.htm
    Trojan Batteries: http://www.trojanbattery.com/
    Xantrex: http://www.xantrex.com/

    It's a start, anyway.
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,311 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Working Thread for Solar Beginner Post/FAQ

    maybe to a small degree marc as i would not like that to become a potporri of spam links or never heard of companies.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Working Thread for Solar Beginner Post/FAQ
    niel wrote: »
    maybe to a small degree marc as i would not like that to become a potporri of spam links or never heard of companies.

    I agree entirely. You may note that all those links are to manufacturers represented by NAWS. :D
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators Posts: 26,768 admin
    edited January 27 #18
    Re: Working Thread for Solar Beginner Post/FAQ

    Add some information regarding where to get the Raw Solar Data / Algorithms for calculating solar irradiation by location:

    PV watts program (used here all the time for estimating solar array output)
    PV Potential (lots of European solar data--note the assumptions/operation is different than PV Watts)
    PDF solar irradiation for USA Summaries
    data sets from the NREL site
    Square One Solar Position
    Solar Radiation Calculator 3D, Visual Basic

    ........

    Well there is probably enough here to start organizing into a multi-post FAQ.

    I will take a shot at this over the next few days (unless Tony/Icarus want's to give it it a shot ;) ).

    -Bill

    PS: Some tankless water heater threads:

    Tankless water heating
    tankless water heater and solar
    tankless water heater off gird

    http://www.gaisma.com/en/dir/us-country.html Solar Insolation Data rom NOAA satellite data.

    Home Insulation discussion thread

    How to Connect Batteries Together

    And a short discussion about solar panel electrical specifications and how to understand them:

    http://forum.solar-electric.com/discussion/5458/two-strings-in-parallel-with-unequal-string-voltages
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • tallgirltallgirl Solar Expert Posts: 413 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Working Thread for Solar Beginner Post/FAQ

    Just say "No" to tankless water heaters. Sure, they use less power than tankfull water heaters, but they aren't going to run on inverter power (they barely run on pad mount transformer power ...) and the gas ones often need upsized lines.

    How about more solar thermal links? Yeah, yeah, PV rocks. And solar thermal is better than tankless OR tankfull.
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 3,258 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Working Thread for Solar Beginner Post/FAQ
    tallgirl wrote: »
    Just say "No" to tankless water heaters. Sure, they use less power than tankfull water heaters, but they aren't going to run on inverter power (they barely run on pad mount transformer power ...) and the gas ones often need upsized lines.

    How about more solar thermal links? Yeah, yeah, PV rocks. And solar thermal is better than tankless OR tankfull.

    Totally with you Julie! Not going to mention more than once the hard water maintenance with tankless or the new energy star gas tank heaters with a pumped loop built-in to get more even top to bottom temperature while the burner is on. Solar hot water is no-brainer and easy to retro on a tank. You have to use a tank if you want to really lower your cost!

    This close to Turkey day and most locations in the southwest still have not really needed a back-up water heating system if the collectors are sized right.
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail offgridsolar@sti.net

  • Solar GuppySolar Guppy Solar Expert Posts: 1,959 ✭✭✭
    Re: Working Thread for Solar Beginner Post/FAQ

    I have been an advocate of solar thermal for almost a decade, but I'm rethinking this with the new generation of heat-pump based ( energy star ) hot water systems.

    With COP's of about 3-4 and one third the cost of typical solar thermal systems this would seem to be the best choice for total cost of ownership. I also like the fact they will cool the surrounding area for free great for cooling the garage in the summer!

    Solar thermal is far from maintenance free and its a major hassle to run the plumbing for roof mount collectors and worry about roof penetrations and leaks. The heat pump HW tanks is literally a simple swap with a standard domestic electric HW tank.

    http://www.geappliances.com/heat-pump-hot-water-heater/

    http://www.energysavers.gov/your_home/water_heating/index.cfm/mytopic=12840

    At a minimum, its nice to have a new choice in saving energy!
  • GreenerPowerGreenerPower Solar Expert Posts: 264 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Working Thread for Solar Beginner Post/FAQ

    For fuel cost comparison, I recomnend this
    http://extension.missouri.edu/webster/webster/agric/FuelCostComparison.xls

    Everything is standardized to cost to generate 1 therm (100,000 BTUs). Easier to compare than unit retailed cost.
    GP
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 3,258 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Working Thread for Solar Beginner Post/FAQ

    Heat pumps are very nice for the grid and have some offgrid use. For an offgrid home it is very hard to beat a modern ground mounted solar drainback system for maintenance and big jobs like radiant heating.
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail offgridsolar@sti.net

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators Posts: 26,768 admin
    Re: Working Thread for Solar Beginner Post/FAQ

    A couple threads about Lightning:

    Off Grid Grounding Technique?
    Another Question, this time about Lightning

    Note, the above are discussions, not a do A, B, and C--and you will be "safe". There probably is no such thing with lightning. Several different techniques are discussed--and a few of those posters even have experience with lightning. :cool:

    And our host's FAQ:

    Lightning Protection for PV Systems

    From other past posts here, Windsun (admin/owner of NAWS), he said that most of lighting induced failures he saw were in the Inverters' AC output section.

    Towards the end of this thread is a very nice discussion of proper generator grounding.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,090 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Working Thread for Solar Beginner Post/FAQ
    tallgirl wrote: »
    Just say "No" to tankless water heaters. Sure, they use less power than tankfull water heaters, but they aren't going to run on inverter power (they barely run on pad mount transformer power ...) and the gas ones often need upsized lines.

    How about more solar thermal links? Yeah, yeah, PV rocks. And solar thermal is better than tankless OR tankfull.


    This assumes Electric hot water heaters! Gas/LP is another matter. Solar preheat, or heat pump recovering as a primary heat source is best, but in the event that some add on heat is needed, a demand water heater (gas/lp) is hugely efficient.

    Tony
  • russruss Solar Expert Posts: 593
    Re: Working Thread for Solar Beginner Post/FAQ

    The new heat pump style hot water heaters (no other heating function at all - only hot water) are the most cost effective available solution to household hot water today.

    Several brands are Energy Star approved * see them on Energy Star.

    Due to initial costs solar thermal is not that attractive at present.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators Posts: 26,768 admin
    Re: Working Thread for Solar Beginner Post/FAQ

    Trying to make this thread a jumping off place to further information (links, data, etc.).

    Following up on Russ' Energy Star Suggestion:

    www.energystar.gov
    Energy Star Hot Water Heaters

    Links to a couple of manufacturers from Solar Guppy (see above links for more):

    GE Heat Pump Water Heater

    Ruud Heat Pump Water Heater

    For a quick discussion about heat pump based hot water heaters, see this thread (starting at post #12):

    Guidance for Grid-Tie

    Heat Pump based hot water heaters are probably a great idea for those in warmer climates (especially if using electric power or oil for heating).

    If you are in a cooler climate (below ~55-45F area where heater will be installed)--check out the details to ensure it makes sense where you live--and I may very well be overly pessimistic on my suggestions--others disagree with me.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators Posts: 26,768 admin
    Re: Working Thread for Solar Beginner Post/FAQ

    Here is a small section on measuring your loads:
    The above includes equipment/suppliers from other sources besides our hose NAWS. Do your own research before buying. I am not recommending specific vendors/product as I don't have experience with most of them (I have Grid Tied power--no battery banks/DC loads).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators Posts: 26,768 admin
    Re: Working Thread for Solar Beginner Post/FAQ

    Eric/Westbranch posted a link to a 1922 battery repair manual. A very interesting read and look back almost 90 years at technology and mass production (near the end are some factory photographs).

    Antique battery info (1922) (thread)

    And here is the direct link to the table of contents:

    THE AUTOMOBILE STORAGE BATTERY ITS CARE AND REPAIR

    Despite the title, also includes information on storage batteries too (Farm Lighting Batteries).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators Posts: 26,768 admin
    Re: Working Thread for Solar Beginner Post/FAQ

    Windsun just pointed to me a relatively new:

    Update Links (2/11/2013 -BB):

    TROJAN BATTERY USER'S GUIDE - Trojan Battery Company
    User's Guide - Trojan Battery Company
    Industrial Line USER'S GUIDE - Trojan Battery Company
    Trojan Tips - Trojan Battery Company
    Trojan Battery Maintenance FAQ in español (PDF).
    Trojan Videos on Battery Maintenance

    And add Surrett/Rolls links:
    Vic wrote: »
    The Surrette site has some important info regarding charging, and the link to the pdf Manual:
    http://support.rollsbattery.com/solution/categories

    This should be the Battery Manual link:
    http://support.rollsbattery.com/solution/categories/688/folders/10484/articles/654-battery-user-manual-flooded-agm

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,311 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Working Thread for Solar Beginner Post/FAQ

    bb,
    i have the feeling that our saying to always check with the battery manufacturer caused enough inquiries to warrant them to do this in a more upfront and detailed fashion. this is a good thing and they probably should have done this from the start rather than assume everybody knows all of the ins and outs of their battery. many times a warranty can be voided by abuse or neglect of which much of this information is needed to comply with avoiding such outs to a warranty. do note that i am not implying that was trojan's intent in keeping a way out of a warranty in place, but i believe it was more of an oversight and an assumption on their part that consumers knew how to properly charge and maintain their batteries.
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