should i add another string of batteries

ldiorioldiorio Solar Expert Posts: 47 ✭✭
i am running a 48v system with a magnum 240v inverter and  3060 watts of Panels(12) and 8 DC400-6 fullriver batteries (415AH)
am ranging from 6.2KWH to 11.5 KWH over the past few months 

am running a well pump,boiler,freezer, 2 refrig, dehumidifier and some misc lights. i set the level of discharge to 25%

what i am finding is that the batteries get fully charged at about noon time--ihave consdidered a dump load for water heating--but am thing ing i should add --the existing batteries are 2 years old another string of batteries for add'l capacity 

looking for some opinions and suggestions
lou

Comments

  • vtmapsvtmaps Solar Expert Posts: 3,738 ✭✭✭✭
    What are you trying to accomplish?   Does the system meet your needs?  If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

    --vtMaps
    4 X 235watt Samsung, Midnite ePanel, Outback VFX3524 FM60 & mate, 4 Interstate L16, trimetric, Honda eu2000i
  • ldiorioldiorio Solar Expert Posts: 47 ✭✭
    would like to add capacity for days of no sun
  • vtmapsvtmaps Solar Expert Posts: 3,738 ✭✭✭✭
    ldiorio said:
    would like to add capacity for days of no sun
    Your new batteries will very rapidly age to match the old batteries.  
    Also, you will need more solar panels... What you have now will result in a 5% charge rate if you add another string of batteries.  After 3 or 4 days of no sun, you will need more than 5% if you are ever to get them charged up again.

    --vtMaps
    4 X 235watt Samsung, Midnite ePanel, Outback VFX3524 FM60 & mate, 4 Interstate L16, trimetric, Honda eu2000i
  • ldiorioldiorio Solar Expert Posts: 47 ✭✭
    tks vtmaps for the advice-i can wire and install anything -but have a problem- putting my arms around all the caculations and formulas---need someone to set me straight before i make a wrong move
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,482 admin
    edited August 2016 #6
    We typically run with 1-3 days of storage, with 50% maximum discharge (under normal usage) for longer battery life. For various reasons, with Lead Acid batteries, 2 days of storage and 50% maximum discharge usually works out as an "optimum choice".

    So a 415 AH @ 48 volt battery bank would be optimum for cloudy day / overnight discharge of:
    • 415 AH * 48 volts * 0.85 inverter eff * 1/2 days of storage * 0.50 maximum discharge = 4,233 Watt*Hours (storage per day)
    Now--If a lot of your energy us used during the day (i.e., supplied directly by the solar panels)--And you can cut back to much less usage during bad weather--Then you may be OK with what you have. If you really want to use 8.4 kWH per day even during bad weather, and you want 2 days of storage--Then you could double the string.

    Charging wise, we suggest 5% to 13% rate of charge, with 10% or more if you are full time off grid. You can go higher rate of charge (especially with AGM, but you tend to fill up the bank pretty quickly--And should use remote battery temperature sensor to help prevent battery over heating, especially if >13% rate of charge).

    If you double the battery bank to 830 AH @ 48 volts with a 5% to 13% rate of charge from solar panels:
    • 830 AH * 59 volt charging * 1/0.77 panel+controller derating * 0.05 rate of charge = 3,180 Watt array minimum
    • 830 AH * 59 volt charging * 1/0.77 panel+controller derating * 0.10 rate of charge = 6,360 Watt array nominal
    • 830 AH * 59 volt charging * 1/0.77 panel+controller derating * 0.13 rate of charge = 8,268 Watt array "cost effective" maximum
    And then there is your energy usage and hours of sun per day (by season). Guessing at:
    http://solarelectricityhandbook.com/solar-irradiance.html
    \Your November through January sun is not great--So, if you wanted to (in average weather) to size the array for "break even" month of December, and wanted 8.4 kWH per day:

    North Providence Rhode Island
    Average Solar Insolation figures

    Measured in kWh/m2/day onto a solar panel set at a 48° angle from Vertical:
    (For best year-round performance)
    Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun
    3.33
     
    3.97
     
    4.61
     
    4.67
     
    4.93
     
    5.04
     
    Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
    5.04
     
    5.01
     
    4.76
     
    4.31
     
    3.24
     
    2.98
     
    If you want 8.4 kWH in deep winter:
    • 8,400 WH per day * 1/0.52 off grid system eff * 1/2.98 hours of sun per day (ave December) = 5,421 Watt array minimum (December "break even" month)
    So--If you double the battery bank, I would suggest a 6,360 Watt array (assuming you are full time off grid) with 10% rate of charge...

    And if you look at the 9 month minimum (non-winter), it would produce:
    • 6,360 Watt array * 0.52 off grid AC system eff * 3.97 Hours of Sun (February) = 13,130 Watt*Hours per day (~9 months of the year)
    Because you have AGM batteries, your system may produce ~10-15% more energy (AGM batteries run >90% efficiency vs flooded cell at ~80% efficiency--The numbers I used above for 52% end to end efficiency with flooded cell batteries--just to be on the conservative side).

    Anyway--That is how I rough out the math. Questions/corrections to my guesses?

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • Marc KurthMarc Kurth Solar Expert Posts: 471 ✭✭✭✭
    vtmaps said:
    ldiorio said:
    would like to add capacity for days of no sun
    Your new batteries will very rapidly age to match the old batteries.  
    Also, you will need more solar panels... What you have now will result in a 5% charge rate if you add another string of batteries.  After 3 or 4 days of no sun, you will need more than 5% if you are ever to get them charged up again.

    --vtMaps

    Agree on all counts. 

    At two years for the old batteries, I would only consider adding if a true capacity test came up close to 100% of rated. Even then, you WILL degrade your new batteries. It's a question of how much - not "if."  With that particular L16 (one of my favorites) you might get acceptable results from a battery lifespan perspective.

    But the resulting lower charge rate will hurt you when you actually use that new battery capacity - because the batteries will spend more time in a partially discharged state - because it takes longer to charge back to 100%. That is the formula for premature sulfation and a shortened battery lifespan

    With oversized battery banks, you will need some generator run time to boost the batteries back up to where the PV can finish charging. With the DC400-6, you can charge at a 20%-25% rate without any problems.



    I always have more questions than answers. That's the nature of life.
  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 2,355 ✭✭✭✭
    "I set the level of discharge to 25%."   What does this mean?
    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
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