Solar and grid-powered UPS using Samlex TN-1500

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soylentgreen
soylentgreen Solar Expert Posts: 111 ✭✭
I have a small computer server rack that I run 24/7 for business. I've also had two serious (4+ hour long) power outages in the last year, and am interested in reducing my energy bill as well. Originally, I was just going to buy an APC brand UPS with external battery pack which I calculated would give me about 8 hours of UPS runtime, and cost $500.

But I'm also a solar geek, and was wondering if I could put this money towards a solar/battery/grid powered system instead.

I'm looking for comments on my plan :

Needs:
* 50W x 24 hours = 1200WH/day for a small server

Wants:
* Pure sine wave
* Solar power first
* Battery power second
* Grid power third

Calculations:
* 1200WH needed / .70 derating (round trip Solar panel -> battery -> inverter) = 1700WH
* Average insolation where I live is about 5 hours, solar panel(s) will be due south with azimuth tilt
* 17000WH/5H = 340 watts of solar needed

Proposed Equipment:
* Samlex TN1500
* 6V Costco brand Golf Car batteries (estimate 200 AH each). Qty 4. Gross watt hours = 200*6*4 = 4800, Usable watt hours (33%) = 1600WH
* Solar Panel: generic 200 watt panels, qty 2, e.g. 400W
* The panels, batteries, and inverter can all be mounted close to one another, so wiring runs are minimal.

Costs/Savings:
Equipment would cost about $1500. I was going to have to spend $500 on a UPS anyway, so I can rationalize away $500 and say it's an even $1000.
This would save me on average 1.2KWH/day, or about $10/month in electricity (SDGE tier III =$0.29/KWh). So it would pay for itself in a little over 8 years. Of course, batteries don't last that long, so perhaps it would never pay for itself. But it's providing me additional benefit (long-lasting UPS) so I don't care if it's cost positive or negative, really.

Comments/Questions:
* From reading the user manual, the Samlex TN-1500 looks perfect for what I need: it claims to prioritize Solar and Battery first, switching to grid power as a last resort.
* However, the TN-1500 12volt model has a max solar voltage of 25V, which means I'd have to get 12V panels which are rather expensive. Would it make sense to wire this up as a 24V system instead and get the 24-volt samlex? Could I then use a typical generic grid-tie 250watt solar panel which are 30VOC?
* It's not clear from me whether the samlex has a "charge controller" or not, and if so is it PWM or MPTT or what...?
* How is my proposed battery bank size: too small? too big? I don't really care if the grid power is used when we have a stretch of cloudy days, however it would seem that constantly switching between grid AC and inverter AC might be hard on the system. Since two batteries cost about the same as a 200W solar panel, would it make more sense to have 2 batteries + 600W solar? 4 batteries + 400W solar, or 6 batteries + 200W solar? Not sure how to calculate the sweet spot.

Feedback appreciated, thanks!

Comments

  • westbranch
    westbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,183 ✭✭✭✭
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    Re: Solar and grid-powered UPS using Samlex TN-1500

    look here http://www.meanwell.com/search/tn-1500/tn-1500-spec.pdf for 24 v version
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • TheBackRoads
    TheBackRoads Solar Expert Posts: 274 ✭✭
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    Re: Solar and grid-powered UPS using Samlex TN-1500

    I'm doing something similar. I have an off grid setup and my charge controller controls a relay for 120V AC and that's controlling an
    APC AP7750. They are about 200-250 on ebay right now. I have the management card on mine as well. However it would also let you have a "preference" for line control (A or B) I have preference set to solar so that when the relay activates it switches loads and then when the relay turns off it goes back to grid. Something to think about, that way your not limited to a certain inverter.

    apc.thebackroads.net
    ID: readonly
    PW: apc
    NOTE: Only 1 person can be logged in at a time, if no dice, try again later.

    eBay

    One last random thought.... how long does your internet stay up during an outage? Do you need 8+ hours of run time? Or is it more that you'd rather not have the systems slam down?
  • soylentgreen
    soylentgreen Solar Expert Posts: 111 ✭✭
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    Re: Solar and grid-powered UPS using Samlex TN-1500
    I'm doing something similar. I have an off grid setup and my charge controller controls a relay for 120V AC and that's controlling an
    APC AP7750. They are about 200-250 on ebay right now. I have the management card on mine as well. However it would also let you have a "preference" for line control (A or B) I have preference set to solar so that when the relay activates it switches loads and then when the relay turns off it goes back to grid. Something to think about, that way your not limited to a certain inverter.
    apc.thebackroads.net
    ID: readonly
    PW: apc
    eBay
    Thanks for the suggestion!
    One last random thought.... how long does your internet stay up during an outage? Do you need 8+ hours of run time? Or is it more that you'd rather not have the systems slam down?

    That's a good question : mainly it's an issue of not spending time rebooting the servers, since there is a bit of manual checking that has to occur when that happens (making sure databases shut down cleanly, etc.) So having a longer runtime is still useful, even if the ISP drops the network at some point...