Need opinions on this "package"

ArkansasoffgridArkansasoffgrid Solar Expert Posts: 118 ✭✭
This looks like a "complete kit", minus batteries. Cabin won't be finished till late 2014, so I'll wait till then to buy batteries so they'll be fresher, but I can be working on getting this installed for now. Being totally new to solar is there something I'm missing ???


http://www.solarhome.com/the-independence-p-solar-system.htm
8-420AH US Battery L-16s, Midnite Classic 150cc, Whiz Bang Jr, Magnum MS4448PAE inverter/charger,  4590w Canadian Solar panels. Honda EU2000i generator.

Comments

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,333 admin
    Re: Need opinions on this "package"

    Looks like a pretty large system (I could not find a parts list with my browser).

    What are the major specifications (AC inverter, solar panels, charge controller)?

    And what are your daily loads? Where is the cabin (amount of sun)?

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Need opinions on this "package"

    "Kits" often don't work out well because they often don't meet your needs. They tend to be a one size fits all, like one shoe size fits all people.
    I would strongly suggest that you first determine what your loads will be and how many kwh per day you will be using.
    Next, using that info, determine the size of battery bank and voltage required to sustain that load, taking into account how many sunless days you want your system to supply power.
    Next comes the PV wattage required to properly charge that battery bank and don't forget to take into account any daytime loads in that calculation, making sure there is enough PV wattage left over for battery charging.
    Finally comes the rest of the system, things like wire, charge controller/s, inverter/s, disconnects, circuit breakers/fuses etc.
  • vtmapsvtmaps Solar Expert Posts: 3,738 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Need opinions on this "package"
    Being totally new to solar is there something I'm missing ???

    As the others have pointed out, You need to define your loads. That means average load, peak load, duration of peak load, and time of day the loads occur. For many homes the water pump is a defining factor in choosing batteries, inverter, and system voltage.
    Where the panels are located (roof, ground, fixed, trackers, virtual trackers) also influences the design of the system... for example, if the run from the panels to the electronics is long, you may want to choose 48 volts over 24 volts. Do you want the batteries and electronics in your house (audible and RF noise, battery fumes)? Many folks prefer to have a "power shed" near the house.

    Your lifestyle is also a defining factor in designing a system... would you like to save big bucks on your batteries? You can if you are willing to do the laundry and vacuum only when the sun shines or when the generator runs.

    --vtMaps
    4 X 235watt Samsung, Midnite ePanel, Outback VFX3524 FM60 & mate, 4 Interstate L16, trimetric, Honda eu2000i
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,142 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Need opinions on this "package"

    And if the battery has been used heavily the night before, you may want to run the genset in the early morning to BULK charge and let the solar do the long absorb cycle. This can maximize the utility of the PV input, longer lower Amp charge. Doing an Absorb by genset is more expensive than PV by far, unless you can use an inverter genset which can throttle down.
     
    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,
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    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • ArkansasoffgridArkansasoffgrid Solar Expert Posts: 118 ✭✭
    Re: Need opinions on this "package"

    Sorry about the other link, this is the page http://www.solarhome.com/offgrid-hyper-x--solar-kits.html and it is called the "Independence System".
    The panels will be mounted on a 32' wide south facing roof with the equipment room directly under it. It's a little overkill for my calculated loads in this small cabin, but I want to be sure it's sufficient for the "mini-split" Air Conditioner. We are outside Hot Springs AR on the side of a mtn/hill that has absolutely no shading in the summer from 7am till about 5pm in the summer. The well and mini split are 220vac, other than that it's all 110vac, with propane for water heater, clothes dryer in winter, and oven, with wood for heat. Looking at a set of 8 6v GC2 batteries from sams club to start with, since I've a fear of killing a set of $3k RE batteries.
    Also thought about 2 strings of 6 8v batteries http://www.samsclub.com/sams/duracell-golf-car-battery-group-size-gc8/prod3590217.ip?navAction= vs 1 string of 8 6v GC2 http://www.samsclub.com/sams/duracell-golf-car-battery-group-size-gc2/prod3590228.ip?navAction=
    8-420AH US Battery L-16s, Midnite Classic 150cc, Whiz Bang Jr, Magnum MS4448PAE inverter/charger,  4590w Canadian Solar panels. Honda EU2000i generator.
  • vtmapsvtmaps Solar Expert Posts: 3,738 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Need opinions on this "package"
    It's a little overkill for my calculated loads in this small cabin, but I want to be sure it's sufficient for the "mini-split" Air Conditioner.
    <snip>
    Also thought about 2 strings of 6 8v batteries vs 1 string of 8 6v GC2

    We can easily calculate the kwh capacity of any of those batteries, but we don't know if they are adequate for the load because we still don't know what the load is or the time of day of the load. How much does that mini split draw? What is its duty cycle? Does it need to run it at night?

    Remember that as your battery capacity gets smaller for a given load, the load consumes a greater portion of the available kwh because of the Peukert factor.

    A 48 volt string of GC batteries has about 5 kwh available, assuming you are drawing only 500 watts.

    --vtMaps
    4 X 235watt Samsung, Midnite ePanel, Outback VFX3524 FM60 & mate, 4 Interstate L16, trimetric, Honda eu2000i
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Need opinions on this "package"

    Here's a link to his "Independence System" and what it contains: http://www.solarhome.com/the-independence-p-solar-system.htm
  • ArkansasoffgridArkansasoffgrid Solar Expert Posts: 118 ✭✭
    Re: Need opinions on this "package"

    So using the Sam's club GC batteries which would be preferable, a string of 8–6V or two strings of 6–8V?
    Also what would be the preferred means of caring for these batteries since we are only at the cabin one weekend per month right now during construction?
    8-420AH US Battery L-16s, Midnite Classic 150cc, Whiz Bang Jr, Magnum MS4448PAE inverter/charger,  4590w Canadian Solar panels. Honda EU2000i generator.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,333 admin
    Re: Need opinions on this "package"

    At this point--I would think about getting a Honda eu2000i (1,600 watt peak) or similar Yamaha inverter/generator. They are very quiet and do not use much fuel (1-2 gallons per day, roughly? for your needs)... A few people around here even use them to power they AC for the few weeks a year they need AC (the smaller Honda only has 120 VAC, many/most/all of the mini-splits commonly available in the US seem to need 240 VAC--which would be an issue for your solar off grid inverter choices too).

    Hold off on the "big" solar power system until construction is complete and you are living there closer to full time. Golf Cart batteries will probably last 3-5 years under normal usage (less if you have an "oops" event). If the cabin is mostly unoccupied at this time, they are just aging (need recharging at least once per month, or a solar power system to "float them" for now).

    At that point, use the genset + a Kill-a-Watt or an old utility meter to measure your AC loads--then plan the system around those numbers (probably much more accurate than your guesses today).

    And even then, if you only need A/C sporatically, a quiet generator may still be the more cost effective solution at this time.

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