for a super novice help with system design

tropicaltropical Registered Users Posts: 2
I need help designing for a small house located in Jamaica. We get alot of sun and only 2 months of the year do we have rainy conditions so I am guessing our power production is higher than the average us location by quite a bit.

I spent too much not knowing any better and invested in 3 harbor freight kits and one of their batteries (9 panels 105 watt total output).These are used with a cheap 300watt inverter, an old battery from my van and a few stand alone lanterns to provide all our lighting needs plus we run a fan and dvd/tv.

I will need to carry down my panels on the airplane so I am opting to get some unisolar 114 watt panels how many do you think I,d need to run my 19cubic foot fridge, small deep freeze and washing machine (full size top loader)?

Locally 220ah batteries are $200 US each....I paid almost $100 for the harbor freight 35ah, so I am sure local batteries are the way to go but I don,nt know how many panels and how many batteries to run 3 appliances above.

Could you advise also what inverter would meet my needs? The unisolar panels I understand wont work for 12v battery without mptt? I am a total novice to this and am pretty lost...any help appreciated.

To put in perspective we will be totally off grid as rewiring of our house which is not tocode was estimated to cost $3000 US and per kwh rates in Jamaica are something like 3 to4 times the US average so we feel it best to go solar all the way.

Thanks for any advice and help, sorry I don,t have precise consumption figures to work with!

Comments

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,765 admin
    Re: for a super novice help with system design

    Just to get an idea of how much sun, using a Southern Cuba location for PV Watts, fixed array titled to 20 degrees from flat:
    Month      Solar Radiation (kWh/m2/day)
    1      5.50     
    2      6.32     
    3      6.41     
    4      6.41     
    5      5.72     
    6      5.48     
    7      5.94     
    8      6.05     
    9      5.85     
    10      5.57     
    11      5.44     
    12      5.22     
    Year      5.82
    

    So, lets take 5.0 hours of sun per day average minimum...

    Regarding harbor freight--Lets forget them for now. You can add them to your "new" system if you wish (and they still work)--But not a good idea to build your system around them.

    Next, choice of solar panels--Unisolar is now out of business... So any further product/support from them is not going to happen. Also, I am not a big fan of "soft" or plastic based solar panels. I don't believe the will last for decades when exposed to full sun... If you have problems with flying sticks/rocks/etc., then they are bit more rugged than a glass panel in those cases.

    Another issue with any thin film type panel is that they only (typically) last about 10 years (at best from what I have seen--me no expert) and they are about 1/2 the "efficiency" of standard glass+silicon panels (you need about 2x the square area of thin film for the same amount of power as a poly or mono-crystalline solar array).

    More or less, today panels that are >100 watts tend to have better pricing (look at $/Watt -- i.e., $1-$2 per Watt is good, $5+ per watt is pretty expensive). And > 100 watt panels usually require MPPT type charge controllers (although, there are some panels that come in "standard" Vmp~17.5-18.6 volt ratings which work well with 12 volt batteries and PWM controllers--double voltage for 24 volt battery bank and 4x for 48 volt).

    Roughly, panels that are 140 watts or smaller, you may have lots of shipping options. Larger panels, then you start looking at freight forwarders that manage larger products.

    And note that these are thin pieces of tempered glass and need to be packed extremely well (if you don't get the Unisolar). Many cases, shipping one or two panels costs almost the same as shipping an entire pallet of panels (at least via truck freight in the US). Make sure you price the panels delivered (with insurance) to your front door.

    Now, back to the technical... Without knowing the size of your power needs, we can only make guesses about the hardware/batteries needed.... And I will probably be wrong.

    So--Here are a couple options:
    • 1kWH per day--Minimum system. Power laptop computer, ceiling fan, cell phone charger, some LED lighting, a small water pump from cistern, etc...
    • 3.3 kWH per day--Can power an efficient refrigerator, more lighting, well pump, and appliances (assuming fridge is ~1 kWH per day, some freezer/fridge conversions can get down to ~0.25 kWH per day). About the minimum life for a modern "electrical home". About the largest system I would suggest a "first time" self install may want to tackle.
    • 6-10 kWH per day--Pretty much modern electric home (using propane/etc. for cooking heating, hot water with alternative heating). Can even do some Air Conditioning/microwave/induction cookers if you are careful.

    For an off grid system, the battery bank should be around 1-3 days of "no sun" storage and 50% maximum discharge. So assuming you are using an AC inverter (0.85 efficient), a typical 2 day battery may look like:
    • 1,000 WH per day * 2 days * 1/0.50 max discharge * 1/0.85 inverter eff * 1/12 volt = 392 AH @ 12 volts
    • 3,300 WH per day * 2 days * 1/0.50 max discharge * 1/0.85 inverter eff * 1/24 volt = 647 AH @ 24 volts
    • 7,500 WH per day * 2 days * 1/0.50 max discharge * 1/0.85 inverter eff * 1/24 volt = 735 AH @ 48 volts

    Notice that I changed the battery voltage as the daily power use increases... This keeps wire size and voltage drop relatively under control. Also, Charge controllers are rated in Amps as charging output... A 60 amp solar charge controller can manage 4x larger solar array at 48 volts vs a 12 volt battery bank (save money on controllers).

    Note that a 392 AH @ 12 volt battery bank will cost almost the same as a 196 AH @ 24 volt battery bank--They store the same amount of energy--2x the voltage and 1/2 the AH capacity is the same (power=V*I double V / 0.5x I, cancel each other out).

    The above numbers are just rough rules of thumb--Your exact needs may change the voltage/amphour rating suggestions.

    Now, with a battery bank, you should charge it at 5% to 13% rate of charge. The more power you use (especially during the middle of the day when the sun is up), the closer you should be to 10-13% rate of charge (or even higher in some cases--again, depends on your needs). I will use 10% Rate of Charge below in the example systems as a good nominal/balanced system design (save your eyes glazing over with lots of extra numbers for our discussion):
    • 1 kWH system: 392 AH * 14.5 volts charging * 1/0.77 panel+controller derating * 0.10 rate of charge = 738 Watt Array
    • 3.3 kWH system: 647 AH * 29 volts charging * 1/0.77 panel+controller derating * 0.10 rate of charge = 2,437 Watt Array
    • 7.5 kWH system: 735 AH * 58 volts charging * 1/0.77 panel+controller derating * 0.10 rate of charge = 5,536 Watt Array

    Again--just rule of thumb design--Nothing magical about the numbers chosen. Your needs/wallet/skill will define your system.

    Now we have worked through the basics, hours of sun per day will define how much actual useful power you will get per day. You have good sun all year long--Others may see 1-2 hours of sun in winter and 7 hours in summer--So this number is very important too:
    • 1kWH system: 738 Watt Array * 0.52 off grid system eff * 5.0 hours per day minimum = 1,919 WH = 1.9 kWH per day
    • 3.3 kWH system: 2,437 Watt Array * 0.52 off grid system eff * 5.0 hours per day minimum = 6,336 WH = 6.3 kWH per day
    • 7.5 kWH system: 5,536 Watt Array * 0.52 off grid system eff * 5.0 hours per day minimum = 14,393 WH = 14.4 kWH per day

    Note, that the loads define the size of the battery bank, and the battery bank sizes the min/max of the solar array... Then you double check the amount of sun you have per day about how much "long term average" power you can have per day.

    Sizing the battery bank is important because it covers your power needs during bad weather and also supports your average/peak power needs... The next post I will address that question (post is getting too long).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: for a super novice help with system design

    Welcome to the forum.

    I love to design houses! Oh, you want help with the electrical system design. Okay, we can do that too. :p

    You want to run a refrigerator, a freezer, and a washing machine. Understandable. So first consider your Harbour Freight experience as a lesson in what not to do. None of that stuff will be at all useful for the big power needed to run those appliances.

    The Unisolar panels will probably be more trouble than they're worth. Some of them have pretty odd Voltages which make it difficult to adapt to standard systems.

    Let's just look at what kind of power consumption you're in need of:
    19 cubic foot refrigerator in Jamaica. If that comes in under 2 kW hours per day I'd be surprised.
    Freezer. If it's a good one, somewhat less than the 'frige.
    Washing machine. Variable, depending on which one and how much laundry you do. Go 'Native' and save a bundle here! :p

    Will you have a back-up generator? If so, sizing it to run the laundry on an as-needed basis will probably be cheaper than upping the solar to meet the power need.

    At any rate you're in the 5kW hours per day bracket it looks like. Fortunately you get lots of sun time there. Unfortunately it's hot there, which reduces panel Voltage and is hard on batteries.

    First rough estimate: 24 Volt system minimum. 440 Amp hours of battery minimum (about 4.8 kW hours AC) which would be 8 of those 220 Amp Hour 6 Volt units. 2 kW array minimum probably. To start that kind of equipment (motors have high start-up demand) you'd need around a 2 kW inverter.

    Now we define and refine 'til we get something that meets the needs without blowing the budget.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,765 admin
    Re: for a super novice help with system design

    OK, assuming you start with flooded cell lead acid deep cycle storage batteries (there are AGM and other batteries, but more expensive and for a new-off grid person, starting with "cheap" training batteries is a good idea. Many (most/all?) people will have some serious mistakes with their first bank or two and may trash them in months instead of the 5-10 years life you should get....

    Sizing the loads / AC inverter... More or less, C/8 (20 hour battery AH rating) is a good maximum continuous power usage. And C/2.5 is a good maximum surge rating for a battery bank (starting well pump, etc.). So, using the previous battery capacities, the recommended AC inverters would be around:
    • 1 kWH system: 392 AH * 12 volts * 1/8 rate of discharge = 588 watt max continuous
    • 1 kWH system: 392 AH * 12 volts * 1/2.5 rate of discharge = 1,882 watt max surge
    • 3.3 kWH system: 647 AH *24 volts * 1/8 rate of discharge =1,941 watt max continuous
    • 3.3 kWH system: 647 AH *24 volts * 1/2.5 rate of discharge = 6,211 watt max surge
    • 7.5 kWH system: 735 AH * 48 volts * 1/8 rate of discharge = 4,410 watt max continuous
    • 7.5 kWH system: 735 AH * 48 volts * 1/2.5 rate of discharge = 14,112 watt max surge

    Again--Just some rough sizing... Once you know more about your power needs (or how much money you are willing to spend)--Then you can size the system to your requirements rather than my rules of thumbs guesses.

    Also, you should get some support equipment too...

    I really like this (or similar) DC Current Clamp Meter (really a digital multi meter with DC and AC current clamp--which makes measuring current much easier and safer--and really helpful for diagnosing bad wiring/cells/solar panels).

    If you have flooded cell batteries--You MUST get a Hydrometer to measure your specific gravity of each cell (when new, and when equalizing bank, and you can measure a single "pilot cell" every day or so to keep track of your battery state of charge and overall health.

    If you will have spouse/kids/guests--I highly suggest a Battery Monitor (Victron is another good brand). Will make it much easier for non-technical (and people who did not pay good money for the battery bank) to understand the state of charge of the battery bank and (hopefully) reduce battery abuse which can cause early life death.

    Notice--To this point, I have said that this solar panel or that charge controller with this battery bank is the "best" for your setup--I simply do no know--And until we have something to design too (daily loads, you can only carry 4x 140 watt solar panels with you on the plane, etc.)--We can give you all the generic design guidelines and point at different hardware vendors--And just confuse/frustrate the heck out of you.

    It is usually much clearer if we have a specific target to aim at--Much fewer trips down the side streets on the way to where you want to go.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • gww1gww1 Solar Expert Posts: 963 ✭✭
    Re: for a super novice help with system design

    bill
    Thanks for the link for the clamp meter, I added it to the large amount of things I have bought.

    When you say;
    Now we have worked through the basics, hours of sun per day will define how much actual useful power you will get per day. You have good sun all year long--Others may see 1-2 hours of sun in winter and 7 hours in summer--So this number is very important too:

    •1kWH system: 738 Watt Array * 0.52 off grid system eff * 5.0 hours per day minimum = 1,919 WH = 1.9 kWH per day
    •3.3 kWH system: 2,437 Watt Array * 0.52 off grid system eff * 5.0 hours per day minimum = 6,336 WH = 6.3 kWH per day
    •7.5 kWH system: 5,536 Watt Array * 0.52 off grid system eff * 5.0 hours per day minimum = 14,393 WH = 14.4 kWH per day

    Are you saying that 1000 watts worth of panels only puts out 738 watts prior the losses in the rest of the system. Like this is the normal watts at the panel and not 1000 watts. Also the 1.9 kwh useable per day leaves the rest for battery health and such. Sorry if you speak plain and I can't understand english.

    Also, using your rule of thumb figures, if I where to heat hot water as the batteries got full, could the battery bank sizes be adjusted down compared to the solar size as long as the loads are adjusted to the lower battery bank size as well. The hot water to soak the excess pv production.

    Lastly is there a rule of thumb kwh per day usage of say a three quarter horse power well pump in a 200' deep well? These are hard to check with a kilowatt meter as most are hard wired with no plug.

    I hope these questions fit the subject and are not considered a thread hijack.
    Thank you
    gww
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: for a super novice help with system design

    Normally a panel & MPPT type controller will deliver an average of 77% of the panel's rating during good sunlight hours. So "1000 Watts" of panel will actually produce around 770 Watts to the batteries. This will vary somewhat with location.

    The typical over-all efficiency of an off-grid system is a mere 52%. This means the array size times the hours of good sun times 0.52 will give you a close approximation of how many AC Watt hours you can expect to get. So for 1000 Watts and 4 hours of "equivalent good sun" you get about 2080 Watt hours AC.

    One of the key factors in this low efficiency is that as the batteries charge the panel output goes down because there is no place for the power to go. Once the batteries are charged this is at its worst: you may need only 5% of the panels' capacity to maintain the batteries in Float, so 95% of their potential is lost. This is when we off-gridders start looking to "opportunity loads" such as water heating to make use of this power we otherwise would not get.

    You have to size your battery bank for your average, consistent loads. You may have power left over as a result, but that works better than trying to cut everything to the minimum and finding yourself without power one day. The sun does not shine brightly every day.

    It is guess work to try and estimate a well pump's consumption. A 3/4 HP pump is theoretically 560 Watts, but since my own shallow 1/3 HP pump draws 800+ Watts pulling out of a lake (6' of elevation) you can see what nonsense that is. :roll: You really need to measure the current the pump draws when running, multiply that by the time it spends running per day. And you will need an inverter not only capable of supplying the 240 VAC but also the rather enormous start-up surge demand. Some of these pumps can be fitted with "soft start" devices to alleviate that problem to some degree.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,765 admin
    Re: for a super novice help with system design
    gww1 wrote: »
    Are you saying that 1000 watts worth of panels only puts out 738 watts prior the losses in the rest of the system.

    No--I was sort using the kWH (HOUR) load "rating" to design the 2day/50% max discharge battery bank... And if you use the 5%-13% rate of charge rule of thumb--And pick 10%--That gives you a 738 Watt array.

    A 738 Watt Array in the middle of the Carribean will give you about 1.9kWH a day of useful power (5 hours per day, with 52% overall system efficiency).

    Note, because poster "Tropical" is in an area with 5 hours a day of minimum sun--There is a lot more sun than winter in many other locations. A 3 hour a day sun (or a bit less) will only supply 1kWH per day--A closer match to the battery bank.

    Because of the long hours of sun during all four seasons, Tropical could try a 5% rate of charge solar array and still get ~1kWH per day from such a system (so much sun).

    The down side being that it would not be a good idea to use power in the middle of the day too as this would reduce the 5% rate of charge and battery health may suffer some. (i.e., a 1kWH 5% array would be best for a system that charges during the day and discharges at night).

    A 10% array would better support day or night time energy usage (day time computer/well pumping, etc.)--And for Tropical, generate almost 2x the power vs those of us in north America during the winter (could allow for daytime A/C with a bit larger system).
    Like this is the normal watts at the panel and not 1000 watts. Also the 1.9 kwh useable per day leaves the rest for battery health and such. Sorry if you speak plain and I can't understand english.

    And that is why I called it a 1 kWH per day system... It really means a 2 day system with 50% battery reserve at 1 kWH per day (no sun, over night power usage, etc.).

    Also, note that I gave some typical power delivery rules of thumb... If the average power is less than 1kWH per day, or they only want 1 day backup and 50% max discharge--They could go with a smaller battery bank.

    On the other hand, if they had a 2 HP pump and need lots of max power and starting surge current, then the battery bank should be larger (AH) capacity. Which then, would push the array larger to meet the 5-13% rate of charge.
    Also, using your rule of thumb figures, if I where to heat hot water as the batteries got full, could the battery bank sizes be adjusted down compared to the solar size as long as the loads are adjusted to the lower battery bank size as well. The hot water to soak the excess pv production.

    More or less, if the heating was from the solar array floating the battery bank, then the battery bank would not come into the sizing equation.
    Lastly is there a rule of thumb kwh per day usage of say a three quarter horse power well pump in a 200' deep well? These are hard to check with a kilowatt meter as most are hard wired with no plug.

    You could estimate it with the AC mode of the current clamp meter...:

    240 Volts * 10 amps = 2,400 VA (not watts)--used to size the inverter
    2,400 VA * 0.67 PF (guess at power factor) = 1,608 Watts * Hours per day runtime (size battery bank)

    The starting surge for a well pump is ugly--can easily be 3-5x full rated current. There are VFDs and other "soft start" systems that could keep the surge current way lower (also depends on the pump type too).

    Getting a bit beyond the thread, and really my knowledge--But you could start your own with this question.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • gww1gww1 Solar Expert Posts: 963 ✭✭
    Re: for a super novice help with system design

    cariboohoot
    Thanks, Nothing hooked up yet. I have dual gvfx 3648 inverters. 2820 watts bought panels. 2000 watts homemade panels. Two homebuilt 500 watt hugh piggott type wind turbines. I have the grid but am not going to sell back. I thought I had the perfect place for solar but just noticed in the winter time I am still going to ge some afternoon shading. Any way, that is an ideal of what I am working with. I mention this cause I see the battery banks that are being put to simular systems in this post.

    My thoughts are this. I don't totally trust the longivity of the homemade panels and am discounting the wind untill I have had it for awhile. I am in Missouri and had been using 3.6 hours of sunlight and then reducing that number by 30 percent.

    I didn't think I was being overly optimistic but maby I was.

    It is a 48 volt system. The one thing missing is my loads. My ideal was to start with 16 sams club batteries giving me a 48 volt 400 amp hour battery bank. I was hoping to add enough loads to balance the system and if I got into trouble relie on the grid. I could have went to a six hundred amp hour bank and probly been able to charge them in the winter time but I wanted to ruin my first set while I learn as cheeply as posible. I am thinking the 400 amp hour buffer and dual inverters will start most loads.

    I thought a pre hot water heater might keep me from wasting the pv if the bank isn't big enough.

    Does it sound crazy to you to start with such a small battery bank? What are your thoughts on the rest of my situation?

    Again I hope my questions are in line with this thread.
    thanks
    gww
  • gww1gww1 Solar Expert Posts: 963 ✭✭
    Re: for a super novice help with system design

    Bill
    You explained your previous comments very well. I know what you were saying now. If I stole the thread I am really off base now as I anwered before I knew you answered. In my defence I thought my questions except the well pump where the same but clarifying. I know I am learning from tropicals question being answered even though the answers want to make me want to know even more. Tropical, good luck and thanks. bill and cariboocoot thanks.
    gww
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: for a super novice help with system design

    The crazy part is trying to design an off-grid system without knowing the loads. Or maybe buying GT capable inverters if you're not going to grid tie. Or possibly building 2kW of panels. Or chasing that darn frog across the road again. :p

    Basic analysis:

    Sixteen GC2 batteries: 440 Amp hours @ 48 Volts. Power available: about 9.5 kW hours AC max. This is not a small amount of power for off-grid.
    Best bet charge current: around 44 Amps. Panels needed to produce that on an MPPT controller: 2750 Watts.

    So you probably don't even need those homemade panels at all since you have 2820 Watts of commercial ones. You can probably average 5 kW hours per day from them (actually works well with the battery bank if that's kept to 25% DOD). The turbines may plug in some extra charge power when the wind blows, but don't count on them (you probably won't need to). You've got grid for "generator" if need be (never mind "why").

    You can do a lot with 5 kW hours per day. Our cabin uses roughly half that for everything. But it's about 1/3 what the in-town house uses.

    See why loads are so important?
  • gww1gww1 Solar Expert Posts: 963 ✭✭
    Re: for a super novice help with system design

    cariboocoot
    I never ment to desine a system. I was trying to build a wind turbine out of junk when my plant closed down and I had to move for work. I used to drive an hour and fifteen minutes one way to work and when I got here I was 5 minutes from my work and had nothing to do. I come from the country and was now in town. No wood to cut. I decided to build a couple panels and ended up doing it all winter. Needless to say I can't come up with the loads cause I am only home during my vacation. I been doing the rest of this stuff cause I can't hang out with my family. Now I got it all and I retire in october at the latest. So I am doing my best to learn from where I am till, I can get home and put it together. I bought the grid tie inverter cause I thought I wanted to gridtie and it would be cheaper. I looked at their application and saw how they didn't like homemade and decided I was lucky that I ended up with a battery based inverter system. I origionally thought I was dumb to get a battery system. We never have outages so I guess it doesn't matter what loads I put on it. I would like water and to run the pump on my propane hot water furnace if I could. I have never needed it before but what the heck. The answers you guys gave tropical were great for me even if I had to go about it kind of backwards.
    Thanks
    gww

    Ps
    I have chased a lot of frogs. Mostly with a gig or 22.
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,183 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: for a super novice help with system design

    well if you now have purchased 2800 W of PV and have GT inverters.... why not use them for GT .....

    and do a battery bank system with the home made ones?
     
    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
  • gww1gww1 Solar Expert Posts: 963 ✭✭
    Re: for a super novice help with system design

    westbranch
    The outback gt need a battery bank and I don't wan't to buy more untill I ruin the first ones or am very sure of myself. I got it figured that I won't be able to get rid of the grid during summer no mater what due to the ac. I just thought that if I can use everything I got and if I won't actually produce as much or more then I can use, why jump through the electric companys hoops and posible cost. The only really good thing that I can think that the grid offers is total use of what you can produce with no shutdown of your pv production. I am hoping I can create that situation with a hot water preheater.
    Time will tell. Your thoughts?
    thanks
    gww

    PS Why did you mothball the mx 60 charge controller in your profile?
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,183 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: for a super novice help with system design

    mothballed as I am building a new system, and will eventually have a classic and a Lite in Mater/Slave setup. MX will be back online in a month or so as the system gets installed...all weather permitting
     
    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
  • gww1gww1 Solar Expert Posts: 963 ✭✭
    Re: for a super novice help with system design

    Westbranch
    Hope all goes well, I love pictures. I don't take many but I love them if you do.
    Cheers
    gww
  • tropicaltropical Registered Users Posts: 2
    Re: for a super novice help with system design

    Thanks to all. Yes the harbor freight panels will not be of help for the big stuff will use them for light until they are no longer working or maybe move to an outbuilding for light there.

    Good points on the unisolr from the specs I saw I felt like they may have issues ...I didnt realize the lack of longevity but also the size per watt output would be another downside.

    I am not concerned about warranties as if I ship (cargo) and end up with an issue it wont be affordable to get the panel back to the states for repair/replace so reliability and longevity would be key.

    When I get back to Jamaica I will try to take a better look at those appliances to get a better idea of load.

    Based off some guestimates of consumption how about some brand reccomendations if you were to go by nothibg other than reliability for panel and charge controller assuming I am loolong at about a 3kw system?
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