I'm in the DFW area and am new to solar.  I'm planning a solar set-up to power all the loads in my garage (less the 2nd fridge) including the garage door opener, the sprinkler system and an electric gate opener.  This is a pilot/feasibility project for me with thoughts of future expansion.  There is a bit of emergency planning involved because if the power fails I can't (easily) open the garage door nor the gate and we are prisoners in our home.

My calculations are based on what I have learned lurking here (many thanks) and in studying many other helpful sites on the web.  I calculate that I will need approximately 390 amp/hrs of battery storage capacity, with all fudge factors taken in to account. 

My PV panels will be attached to the garage roof (facing due South at roof pitch) and I will run the cables to the disconnect, battery controller and inverter mounted to a panel on the inside garage wall just below the panels to keep all DC wire runs as short as possible.  The batteries will reside under the panel.

Since the batteries will be inside the garage, I presume that I will need to look at gel and AGM batteries.  I have read at least one place that AGM is vastly superior to gel.  True?

I'm looking at 2 12V AGMs in the 200 amp/hour range in either the 4D or 8D size range.  The delivery charges from the web-based vendors is nearly equal to the cost of the batteries.  If I go with a local source I will probably pay a bit of a premium for the delivery, but hopefully there will be some economies of scale with their delivery vs. a one-off delivery directly to me.

Anybody know of a good source of AGMs in the DFW area?


  • crewzercrewzer Registered Users, Solar Expert Posts: 1,832 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Batteries


    Sounds like an interesting starter project!

    Gel and AGM batteries, both so-called “Valve Regulated Lead Acid”, or VRLA, have their pros and cons. You may find info from the links below to be informative. Gels do seem harder to find these days, although Deka East Penn and their subsidiary, MK Battery, both offer gel batteries as well as AGM’s. Concorde offers only AGM batteries for their solar-, marine- and RV customers. Other AGM suppliers include ABS Alaskan, Centric Power (Discover), Exide (Absolyte) and Trojan.

    MK has a battery warehouse in the Dallas area. You might want to try contacting them for sales and/or distributor info.

    Jim / crewzer
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Batteries

    Slicky, I live in Plano and have done a few solar installations myself. The electrical inspectors in the DFW area will chew you up like a mad dog and if your home owners insurance company finds out what you are doing get ready for even more hassles. I might be able to help you with your install, it just a hobby for me so I dont look to make any money doing this kind of work, the market is not there yet. I am doing some work this weekend on two alternative installations in Fairfeild Texas. One large system and a new small installation using a 2400 watt inverter which would probabliy work perfect for your needs. I know a person that had some excellent batteries on Ebay but no one purchased them, Trojans. They are four 6 volt wet cells about 380 amps each. He wanted $360 for all of them in brand new condition. Check out my email at the Dallas and or Wylie Alternative Energy Group (Meet Up web site) if you are interested. Do a ton of research before you start purchasing any parts and you will save lots and lots of money that way, also ask lots and lots of questions. There are a some very experianced and friendly people on this fourm that are very helpful. Talk at you later. arcandspark
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