where to start?

BoFullerBoFuller Solar Expert Posts: 149 ✭✭
Is there a thread that will show me the basics? We purchased 40 acres near Seligman and put a trailer on it for now. We would like to use solar power (as there is no grid) but don't know where to start.

25 ft travel Trailer (which won't be moved) with lights, some computer use, a little microwave, an occassional blender, some power tools; and this is for a 5-6 day weekend twice a month for about 8 months. Also plan to install a 3000 gal water tank (or two) and will need power for the pump and pressure tank. I'm guessing that at 6200 feet, we will have to winterize for about 4 months. I'm sure that affects the solar design.

The plan is to start construction on a log cabin in about a year. This may take me 2-3 years to complete. Current thinking is about 1600 sq ft 3 bedroom, 2 bath; one story and loft. Goal is to retire and live fulltime there in 4 to 5 years, so I'm guessing our system will need to "grow" as our time of residence increases.

We have two generators (1000W and 5000W) but would like to use them only for emergency or AC if we happen to need it.

Trailer roof is 8 by 25 with no shading and I have a 40 ft container (8 X 40 sq ft of roof) that has no shading. We could mount panels on either of both.

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!
12 Kyocera 235 panels, 16 Trojan L16 RE-B batteries, Outback 3600W 48V system, Generac 11K propane backup generator, NW AZ, off grid, 6,000 ft (system installed in April 2015)

Comments

  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: where to start?

    Welcome to the forum.

    You've probably noticed that there is tons of information here. It can be daunting. There is a beginners/reference section: http://forum.solar-electric.com/forumdisplay.php?f=14

    Here's the short form of system design:

    1). Loads. Get a Kill-A-Watt (or similar) meter and measure the loads you intend to use under "real-world" conditions. This will give you important info like maximum amount of Watts used and total Watt hours used per day. This info is essential. Some of it may be 240 VAC, which you can't measure with a standard K-A-W meter so you have to calculate/estimate.

    2). The maximum load (and type) will determine what you need for an inverter. The Watt hours is the basis for sizing the battery bank. Once you know how big that will be you can determine the size of the array needed to recharge it, and the corresponding charge controller.

    3). Check the solar potential of your location with the PV Watts program: http://www.nrel.gov/rredc/pvwatts/

    4). Anything you don't understand or want clarification or opinions on, ask here! :D
  • BoFullerBoFuller Solar Expert Posts: 149 ✭✭
    Re: where to start?

    Thanks. That will keep me busy for awhile.
    12 Kyocera 235 panels, 16 Trojan L16 RE-B batteries, Outback 3600W 48V system, Generac 11K propane backup generator, NW AZ, off grid, 6,000 ft (system installed in April 2015)

  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 7,288 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: where to start?
    BoFuller wrote: »
    ... travel Trailer (which won't be moved) with lights, some computer use, a little microwave, an occassional blender, some power tools; and this is for a 5-6 day weekend twice a month for about 8 months. Also plan to install a 3000 gal water tank (or two) and will need power for the pump and pressure tank. ...

    Using a pressure tank, the pump can cycle off and on a lot. If you can put a tank on the container, and gravity feed to house, that can save a lot of pump cycling. What is your water source , a well ? How deep? 240V 3 wire pump is an easier load for inverters to start than 120V 2 wire well pump.
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • Ralph DayRalph Day Solar Expert Posts: 871 ✭✭✭
    Re: where to start?

    Or a soft start Grundfos pump (if submersible application). Much easier of inverters)

    Ralph
  • samuelsamuel Solar Expert Posts: 80 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: where to start?

    If you're up for some reading I'd like to offer up a blog or two. I check in on The Secret Cabin from time to time and maintain a blog called offgridcabin.

    At the least it'll help give you an idea of what you're getting yourself into. Since you'll be building a residence, The Secret Cabin will probably more interesting. At my blog I've detailed how our system has evolved and how it is uniquely set up for a cabin. I have some diagrams of our install, criticisms, and some kill-a-watt readings for some appliances.

    Remember, when the work ends so does the fun.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: where to start?
    samuel wrote: »
    Remember, when the work ends so does the fun.

    :confused: The work ends? WHEN? :p
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: where to start?
    samuel wrote: »
    If you're up for some reading I'd like to offer up a blog or two. I check in on The Secret Cabin from time to time and maintain a blog called offgridcabin.

    At the least it'll help give you an idea of what you're getting yourself into. Since you'll be building a residence, The Secret Cabin will probably more interesting. At my blog I've detailed how our system has evolved and how it is uniquely set up for a cabin. I have some diagrams of our install, criticisms, and some kill-a-watt readings for some appliances.

    Remember, when the work ends so does the fun.

    I'm also new to this and the blog you mentioned really helps for a beginner like me...thanks.
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