a beginner's primer??

thookthook Registered Users Posts: 23 ✭✭
hello, name's matthew. i'm in nw ark out on ten acres and looking to do some solar by the end of fall...hopefully
i have a basic understanding in application of regular ol' household AC utilization. i've hooked up most of the electricity to my house...installing power line, breaker panel, wiring walls/outlets, 110/220 appliance installs, and enough practical experience in trouble shooting. 

what i want to start with is at least hooking my grundfos submersible well pump (160ft) up to solar...maybe full time or just part time. not sure on that, yet. i'm doing prep stuff in the event shtf with power grids and/or even just getting self sufficient in times of "normal" power outages so i can at least get water out of the well to my storage tanks. there's enough room on the well house roofing to get one or two decent size panels up there and run it to storage inside the wellhouse. 

i do have a 1/2hp jet pump to transfer water to the house and maybe i'll try to get that adapted to solar, but from the brief reading i've done, that's a bit more than beginners' territory and generally very expensive. so, i'll keep it simple and start with the grundfos, eh?

some guidance where to begin with data, equipment, and such is where i could use some initial help. for the past couple of days i've been reading, but it's been a bit like starting in the middle of a book for me, and i'm just left confused. i hope to learn what i need in order to install and maintain this myself since it seems solar is mostly a foreign language within my sphere of contact. and, plus, i just like not having to rely too much on others with most anything, anyway. something goes down, i save a lot of money and also don't have to wait on someone for days or weeks to get things going, again

than you kindly in advance
matthew
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Comments

  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 9,393 ✭✭✭✭✭
    What sort of power does your Grundfos submersible well pump require ?   240VAC ?    90VDC ? 
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • thookthook Registered Users Posts: 23 ✭✭
    mike95490 said:
    What sort of power does your Grundfos submersible well pump require ?   240VAC ?    90VDC ? 
    it's running on 240. pretty sure it's the SQ (3 inch). not solar ready
  • thookthook Registered Users Posts: 23 ✭✭
    did a little more reading and it seems generators are encouraged here and there over solar for substantial reasons. i do have a generator....though it needs some work. in the process of that now. the grundfos is on a mechanical 1hr cycle timer set to trip for 30sec's every 20 min's. that's all the well can support with recovery rate. (lost a lot when they blasted the interstate and well collapsed). anyway, that in mind, it doesn't seem feasible to use the generator for that type of demand. which is why i'm thinking solar might be the way to go if/when power goes out
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,079 admin
    We have a FAQ thread that has lots of information and "random" solar related projects and information. And there is a post about books:

    https://forum.solar-electric.com/discussion/comment/99323#Comment_99323

    The problem is that the solar basics (solar panels, solar charger, battery bank, AC inverter) are all basic building blocks that are "true" from 10-20 years ago... The issue becomes that the solar panels have gotten bigger (and cheaper per Watt), new equipment has lots of networking and some nice improved specifications (higher voltage arrays, higher output current), and we now have the "hybrid" AC inverter-charger that have a wide range of new functions like in the integrated AC charger, much better networking, new support for Li Ion Battery Management Systems, and some out of China that are all-in-one units (solar charger, inverter-charger, etc.).

    The issue sort of becomes how do you program these guys, how do you get support as a DIY person, and will the company/products even be around 5 years from now.

    Other than a few large companies with long track records--Warranty support is becoming a thing of the past many times. And you are now, more or less at times, your own support and warranty bank/reserve fund $$$.

    Back when solar panels were $10 per Watt--Warranties were a good economic backstop. My 3,300 Watt array was >$30,000. With solar panels at $0.50 or less a Watt--That same array today is can be replaced for less than $1,500 (plus taxes, shipping, and labor if not climbing the roof myself).

    AC Inverters (and inverter-chargers) are something like $0.50 a Watt... 35 years ago, wholesale power supplies for computers that we designed and built were around $0.50 a Watt back then.

    There are some things that have not dropped that much in pricing... Higher end MPPT solar charge controllers. Still not cheap for the US designed ones. And well pumps that are "solar friendly" (these pumps can have an internal VFD (variable frequency drive--sort of like a variable frequency AC inverter) to drive their 3 phase motor--Low or no starting surge, some models solar panel panel direct connect (pump VFD/Motor varies in RPM based on amount of solar power available).

    There is so much out there--It is very difficult to find a book that will cover "everything solar" and be up to date on the new stuff.

    What I like to do here is help with a the basic back of the envelope calculations (location, Watt load, Watt*Hours per day, expectations, etc.) and get a rough system design. Then you/we can talk about various designs that could meet your needs. And you can investigate those options and read the vendor data sheets and manuals (many of which are very good).

    It sounds like you have a good start on understanding how to design a "solar friendly" water pumping system... A "slow pump" that has a VFD (no starting surge, roughly a 1,000 Watt 120/240 VAC load). Pump to a tank and use a surface pump to pressurize the home (a jet type pump may not be the most efficient here).

    The issue with solar--There are some really neat solutions that keep the parts count low and the solar side costs/maintenance reasonable. Grondfos has the SQ-Flex (I think) series that can take from ~90 VDC to 300 VDC (solar panels, battery bank) or 120-240 VAC (genset or utility voltage).

    The thing with solar--If you add a battery bank--The system almost has to be 4x larger and more costly--Batteries are expensive and do not last more than 3-7 years for simple FLA batteries. If you get the SQ-Flex pump and a cistern, you connect a 1,000-2,000 Watts of solar panels (details do matter) to the pump and use the cistern as your "energy storage". Pump may run 6 hours per day to fill/top off the tank (a few gallons per minute). And you use gravity or boost pump for actual real time house water pressure/supply needs from the tank (run this from off grid solar+battery bank).

    The DC electric side--Is similar to the 120/240 VAC wiring you are used too... But you have to keep track of the details. For example, DC battery bus tends to be high amperage vs AC side... 1,200 Watts of power:
    • 1,200 Watts / 120 VAC = 10 amps
    • 1,200 Watts / 12 VDC = 100 amps
    Have seen electricians that don't realize that the current is 10x higher on a 12 VDC system vs the same power on a 120 VAC system--And wired DC side the same "as they always do".

    Also--DC current (especially >12 VDC) is much more difficult to interrupt with switches/circuit breakers/fuses. DC tends to sustain arcs much better than AC. You need to pay attention to the DC rating of switches/breaker/etc... Typically DC rated switches are much heavier duty vs AC only versions.




    Also there are suggestions on off grid/DC battery system design... Things like charging a battery bank can be maximum current flow for many hours to charge low battery bank. So for the NEC (north American National Electrical Code) so I suggest using the NEC 1.25 / 0.80 times derating for branch circuit wiring (larger wiring/breaker so you don't get nuisance trips).

    And there are other details to pay attention to... For example, DC breakers frequently have a "polarity" (newer breakers are not supposed to be polarity sensitive). They use a magnet to "blow the arc" out into the quench chamber. If the polarity is reversed, the arc can be pulled into the guts of the breaker and start a fire. Also, the arcs are "hot" and tend to rise--If you install some breakers flat or upside down, the arc will not go into the arc quench chamber.

    Anyway... For us to help best. Details matter. Besides location, depth of well, etc... How many (for example) hours a day are you planning pumping (home use, garden, field irrigation, etc.). The math to size the system is pretty easy. Say you have a 1,000 Watt pump and run it 3 hours per day... A quick sizing for a battery based off grid system may be:
    • 1,000 Watts * 3 Hours per day = 3,000 WH per day
    • Battery bank: 3,000 WH per day * 1/0.85 AC inverter eff * 2 days storage * 1/0.50 max discharge (longer battery life) * 1/24 volt battery bank = 588 AH @ 24 volt battery battery bank
    In "golf cart battery units" of 6 volt @ 200 AmpHour... That is 4x GC batteries in series (for 24 volts) and 3x GC battery strings in parallel for 600 AH.

    To charge such a bank, typically 5% to 13% rate of charge for solar. 5% can work for a weekend/summer cabin. 10%+ for full time off grid:
    • 600 AH * 29.0 volts charging * 1/0.77 solar panel+controller derarings * 0.05 rate of charge = 1,130 Watt array minimum 
    • 600 AH * 29.0 volts charging * 1/0.77 solar panel+controller derarings * 0.10 rate of charge = 2,230 Watt array nominal
    • 600 AH * 29.0 volts charging * 1/0.77 solar panel+controller derarings * 0.13 rate of charge = 2,938 Watt array "typical" cost effective maximum
    And sizing the array for your loads and location. For fixed array facing south around Conway Ark:
    http://www.solarelectricityhandbook.com/solar-irradiance.html

    Conway
    Average Solar Insolation figures

    Measured in kWh/m2/day onto a solar panel set at a 55° angle:
    (For best year-round performance)

    JanFebMarAprMayJun
    3.43
     
    3.90
     
    4.57
     
    5.20
     
    5.04
     
    5.23
     
    JulAugSepOctNovDec
    5.47
     
    5.33
     
    5.24
     
    4.64
     
    3.56
     
    3.25
     

    The worst sun month for you is December at 3.25 hours of sun per day (long term average):
    • 3,000 WH per day * 1/0.52 off grid AC system eff * 1/3.25 Hours of sun per day = 1,775 Watt array "break even" for December
    Now come the other questions... Will you pump less water in December (rain, no garden, etc.). Do you want to have more solar panels or use a backup genset? Do you want to get rid of the jet pump and use a pressure tank and just run the Grundfos pump to tank/pressurize the home?

    If, for example, you don't want to run a genset sometimes in the winter... Then suggest that you only use 65% to 50% of "predicted" off grid harvest to account for a week or more of bad weather, some summer irrigation, etc:
    • 1,775 Watt array (Dec break even) * 1/0.65 base load fudge factor = 2,731 Watt array up sized for "base loads" (24x7 loads--Not optional loads like washer, vacuum, shop loads to run with genset when needed).
    Anyway--This gets you a basic system design, with "fudge factors" stated (you may choose different for your needs and cost$).

    None of the above is set in stone, and numbers in solar are within 10% (i.e., your bank 10% larger or smaller is "the same" in solar math). Just carrying numbers through so you can follow how they are derived and used.

    Once you have the basics--Then you can start looking for hardware that is sized for your needs vs the "everything" in the solar world you started with.

    Your thoughts/questions?

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • thookthook Registered Users Posts: 23 ✭✭
    @BB.

    Thank you kindly for taking the time! Last night, we blew off the idea of ever running the jet pump on solar. What i will do is get a another or bigger pressure tank and just draw from water tanks to fill them using the generator to power the jet pump. So, if the power goes out, I have the pressure tank/s full, use water sparingly, and then fire up the generator to fill the pressure tanks, again. Or, combo use with a hand power pump from storage tanks in the well house and only utilize the jet pump in order to do dishes, laundry, or bath. 

    I will never be able to use the well on demand, again, to supply the house since the interstate blasting. We lost almost 20-30ft of well depth when that happened. Even then the recovery rate of the well wasn't that great. We really had to monitor usage. So, it was a blessing, though, because I probably would've never set up on a timer with storage tanks. In this way, we have waaaay better on demand capacity for the house. We can water animals, wash two or three loads a day, and still take baths...lol.
    As for gardening, that hasn't happened, yet. That will either be entirely supplied with rain catchment or more likely a combination of rain and well using the well only when weather hasn't cooperated. 

    To recap, I have the timer set to operate the grundfos for only 30 sec's at a time every 20 min's. This pumps somewhere between 3-5 gal's at each interval and will run that way until the float switch for max level cuts off. In this way, there are definite periods where the grundfos doesn't even come on. ie. The storage has been sitting over night unused or overall water usage has been lower because rain supplies for the animals outdoors and laundry is caught up. Incidentally, I do have a float switch to cut off the jet pump when storage tank levels get low so the jet doesn't continue running. not pertinent to solar/grundfos, I suppose, but thought to mention it, anyway

    Back to the grundfos and a solar set up plan, I have no idea how much wattage is used during start up and operation. I have a friend with gobs of electrician tools and probably has a meter he'd let me borrow to get those figures
     
    At any rate, I'm going to have to read your reply a few times and research some terms and ideas you've supplied. 

    Again, thanks!

  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 9,393 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Starting is the operation that wears out the pump & motor. You really want to change that pump (or when it's time to replace it) with a small pump with same lift, but much lower rate, so you could get 5 minutes for each start.
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • thookthook Registered Users Posts: 23 ✭✭
    edited July 21 #8
    mike95490 said:
    Starting is the operation that wears out the pump & motor. You really want to change that pump (or when it's time to replace it) with a small pump with same lift, but much lower rate, so you could get 5 minutes for each start.
    i'm not sure what you're trying to say. 5 min's for each start? do you mean 5 min's of run time drawing water from the well? if so, the well can't handle that. again, we lost a great deal of the recovery rate when they blasted the interstate. that's why the timer is set to run for the 30 second intervals. depending on the time of year and ground water levels, the pump can run up to a minute before it goes dry. but, then i have to make the interval between trips longer. long and short, after experimentation, 30 sec trip time with 20 mins intervals is the best and safest. i can sometimes do 15 min intervals in the fall when it's rainy, but there's really no point as we're getting enough water to storage at the 20 min rate
    the grundfos we have was recommended due to it's soft start. the well wall was made weak by the blasting (shale and limestone) and made quite narrow. so, the 3 inch diameter was all that would fit. it's lasted 15 years thus far. pretty typical for any pump, in my experience. i'm already on the second jet pump (supplying to the house) since installing the grundfos 
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,079 admin
    There are "non Jet" type boost pumps... Some examples of both (don't know website or products--Just examples):

    https://www.waterpumpsdirect.com/pumps/water-pressure-booster-pumps.html

    Something like 12 amps running for Flotec pump at 120 VAC.

    Various pumps from our host (slow/boost/shallow well pumps):

    https://www.solar-electric.com/residential/solar-water-pumping/surface-pumps.html

    They run from "RV pumps" (cabin, small home, emergency backup solar pump when utility power fails, etc.). If interested, please call our host and their engineers directly--I do not work for NAWS and know just enough to get into trouble.

    https://www.solar-electric.com/residential/solar-water-pumping/surface-pumps.html

    I am sure that there are other folks here with solar/boost pump setups that can help with brands/models that worked well for them.

    Mathew, a question. Why solar? You have utility power and solar is almost always 5-10x the cost of utility power (especially when using battery banks, AC inverters, charge controllers, etc.)...

    Solar is not really "cost effective" for backup power (if you lose power for a couple days a year)--Generators sized to your needs (smaller inverter-generators can work nice for emergency power--Maybe a couple gallons of gasoline per day).

    There is the other question of simply using less power/more efficient appliances to reduce your power bill (critically important if doing off grid solar power).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 9,393 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I was trying to say, when your existing pump fails, get a smaller pump with sufficient head, but lower flow rate, so you can have longer run times for each start.
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • thookthook Registered Users Posts: 23 ✭✭
    edited July 21 #11
    @BB.
    the main impetus behind solar is if/when "they" start messing with the power grid. being set up for regular power outages and the rare weather disaster would be icing. ten years ago, we had no power for two weeks in the middle of winter. fortunately, we had plenty water in the storage tanks. we didn't have a generator back then, but we do now. so, with that, we can take care of refrigeration, water delivery to the house, and a few other things. but, we still need a way to get that water out of the well in the best way

    so, i'm trying to figure out the direction you guys are pointing me in. i gather mike is saying what you are? get one of those surface pumps if i want to do solar. okay, but it appears the maximum suction on those surface pumps are 20-25ft and my well is 160ft. i recall running into this before when redoing the well (after the blasting) and any surface pump wasn't going to do the job. so, went with a submersible. 

    using a generator (for the grundfos) would be incredibly noisy. it would have to run all day or night the way the well is set up to operate within capacity/recovery rate limits. and, if s**t really hits the fan, who knows if there will be fuel supply interruptions, too. 

    let's agree, then, going solar with the grundfos isn't cost effective as a back up. but, let's say it's still the more desirable option. i could either run the generator, swap out current pump for a solar ready unit, or go with a kit to use the current grundfos in use. 

    1) the generator: aversion already expressed. however, could it be used to charge batteries (in a solar set up) when sun power is low?

    2) could convert current grundfos set up completely over to solar. a solar pump is expensive and i assume there'd be no swapping around to run the pump on AC if the solar set up should go down temporarily. 

    3) going with the current grundfos pump and hooking it up to solar: there are kits at home depot, for example, that are well within a feasible      price range. however, there's questions of quality and which kit would i need? obviously the latter will need some figuring, but the former      is as easy as web/user review research
      
    https://www.homedepot.com/p/NATURE-POWER-200-Watt-12-Volt-Monocrystalline-Complete-Solar-Panel-Kit-with-12-Volt-Charge-Controller-and-400-Watt-Inverter-50201/314965645

    perhaps you'd be willing to give me an example of set up you'd run with the pump and well set up i have? what info would you need? let's say a $1500-$2000 max budget range

    the wiring runs from the breaker, to the timer (110v), to the outlet, to the pump (220v) that's piggybacked on a max level float switch (110v), 
    incidentally, would the wiring (12 gauge/ 4 strand) have to be changed out to run it all solar?


    thanks, again. i appreciate your patience here
    matthew


  • thookthook Registered Users Posts: 23 ✭✭
    mike95490 said:
    I was trying to say, when your existing pump fails, get a smaller pump with sufficient head, but lower flow rate, so you can have longer run times for each start.

    ohhhh!! okay! yeah, i see what you're saying, now. thanks!
     
    here's some data my wife just found....

    Grundfos 1/2 hp 5gpm SQ (Pump only)

    GRUNDFOS SQ series – 120 volt AC Submersible Pump
    Delivers 1.1 gpm at maximum lift of 260′, up to 5 gpm at lift of 180′ or less. Maximum power used is 1200 watts.

    The Grundfos SQ pumps have SOFT-START electronic control built into the motor. Start up is slow and gentle over 2 seconds, requiring NO SURGE POWER.  This pump runs off of much smaller generators (1700 watt or larger) or inverters (1200 watt or larger) of any wave form, and can have longer wire runs to the pump. SOFT-START also eliminates start-up twist and strain on plastic pipe installations.

    Dry-run protection and over/under voltage protection are built in. Two wire operation, no control box required. The pump body is smaller, 2.68 inch diameter, so it fits down a 3″ or larger well pipe. These can operate in any position from horizontal to vertical and can pump from a storage tank


    that's only 5 gal's/minute. are there pumps with lower flow rate than can draw from 160ft? i mean, a surface pump would be nice in that it would be gentle on the well, but i haven't seen any that can draw from 160ft

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,079 admin
    edited July 21 #13
    Matthew,

    Sounds like you understand what you are doing/what you want... Solar Power is expensive--So conservation (low power, energy star rated, most efficient "appliances" you can find, lots of insulation for hot/cold weather, etc.) is a great investment either way (use less of the getting more expensive grid power, and/or use less of the never cheap solar power).

    A usually cost effective pumping solution is to pump from well to cistern (especially if you have a flow rated limited well/water source). Then use a surface pump to take from cistern (or elevated water tank, cistern on a hill, etc. and perhaps no or little boost pump needed)... Grundfos has lots of information online... For example:

    https://www.solar-electric.com/lib/wind-sun/SQFlex_Setup_and_Sizing.pdf

    Lets say you have a 5 GPM pump and are running 30 seconds every 20 minutes (3 gallons per 30 seconds?) or ~9 gallons per hour or 216 Gallons per day--And maybe some roof/surface water you can gather during rainy season.... That is less than 9gph/60min = 0.15 GPM pumping. Or you are using 3% of your present well pump's capacity because of well recharge limitations.

    For example, a Sun Pump running on 12 VDC is >0.35 GPM... Still above your average pumping today. No inverter, simple 12 (or 24) VDC system. Run 24 hours per day (perhaps 50% duty cycle to keep well recharge being exceeded).

    https://www.solar-electric.com/sds-d-228.html

    Pump to tank, then boost pump to home... You could run an RV pump (couple years between overall/replacement for lower cost RV pump?) running on 12 or 24 VDC:

    https://www.solar-electric.com/residential/solar-water-pumping.html (random home water components--Look for Aquatec 12 or 24 VDC for less than $100)

    Even 115 VAC model:

    https://www.solar-electric.com/aquatec-550-series-m528-115-volt-booster-pump.html

    Up to 5 GPM (zero pressure) 1.5 to 2 GPM or so @ 60 PSI... Intermittent use.

    I am not the pump expert here... Just showing options. Our host's sales people/engineers can give you some options ($800 slow pump in well pump, $1xx or so pressure pump to pressure tank, etc.). Either small enough to run on 12-24 VDC, or even a small AC inverter / genset system.

    I can't say that I have ever drilled a well, or serviced a pump at the bottom of the well (city water here)--But I know there are a lot more costs and labor than just getting a couple pumps and a pressure tank.

    And perhaps the small boost pump and even small in-well pump are just backup for the days when you have lost grid power--Or if Arkansas follows what California is doing to their subjects.

    The above does limit the large draws of power (a 1,000 Watts for 30 seconds still needs a 1,000 Watt inverter).

    However, you still have to watch the power draw of things (like well pumps) that run 12-24 hours per day (like a "slow pump")--You still need a hefty battery bank and solar array to keep it running 12/24x7. For example:
    • 80 Watt "slow pump" ~~24 VDC = 80 Watts
    • 80 Watts * 12 hours per day = 960 WH per day (slow well pump)
    • 24 VDC Aquatec 24 VDC pump ~2gpm @ 6 amps
    • 216 Gallons per day / 2 GPM = 108 Minutes
    • 108 minutes / 60 min/hour = 1.8 hours per day run time * 24 VDC * 6 amps = 259 WH per day (boost pump)
    • 960WH well + 259 boost = 1,219 WH per day water pumping
    December 2.5 hours per day of sun (somewhere in Ark):
    • 960 WH per day * 1/0.61 DC Off Grid System eff 1/2.5 hours per day sun = 630 Watt array
    • use 65% to 50% predicted solar harvest for daily base loads (water pumping) = 630 Watt array / 0.50 base load factor = 1,260 Watt array
    • 960 WH per day * 2 days storage * 1/0.50 max discharge * 1/24 VDC battery bank = 160 AH @ 24 VDC battery bank
    • use 4x 6 volt GC batteries in series * 1x string of 200 AH batteries = 4 Golf Cart batteries for 24 VDC @ 200 AH battery bank
    Less than $1,000 for well+boost pumps (24 VDC). ~$400 for 4x Golf Cart batteries (6 volt @ 200 AH). Around $630 to $1,260 for 1,260 Watt array. Need a solar charge controller, racking, wiring, etc... 

    So, $2,000 -- Not really. Maybe less than $3,000 for system that will run 24hoursx365 days per year. Not Grundfos 15 year service life--But should last a few years between pump head overhaul (just being realistic--I do not know the overall periods for these pumps--You need to do more research, talk with others who know much more than I).

    Or, get an $1,100 Honda eu2200i (1,800 Watt peak) gasoline genset:

    https://www.homedepot.com/s/eu2200i?NCNI-5

    And store 20+ gallons of stored gasoline (with fuel stabilizer, recycle into car/pickup once a year) for upwards of 24 hour per day * 10 day of runtime (on stored fuel). Or try the propane conversion (if you have propane on property).

    I have done this with a simple external fuel tank kit (sealed fuel cap+hose+external tank--Honda eu2200i genset will draw fuel from 5 gallon/etc. tank--No external fuel pump needed)--I.e., 1x 5 gallon tank will run >2 days (pumps, fridge, LED lights, other smaller loads).

    Could you run your house on a Costco Firman 7,500 Watt genset (tri-fuel) for $800, electric start--Sure... But, for example, at 50% (or less) loading, it will run through an 8 gallon (gasoline) fuel tank in ~12 hours or 16 gallons per day... (Costco sells ~2kWatt inverter-generators for 1/2 the cost of Honda/Yamaha/etc... Not sure, but the other brand H/F/etc. inverter generators seem to be MSW type (modified sine/square wave) output vs Sine Wave for Honda and other more expensive units. I would avoid MSW generators (and AC inverters) if you can avoid it...

    https://www.costco.com/firman-7500w-running--9400w-peak-tri-fuel-generator.product.100648883.html

    The Honda inverter-generators are very quiet... Could not really even hear one running 20 feet from inside the house. And neighbors could not hear it either. I had the old Briggs and Stratton (and similar) gensets open frame gensets... Could hear those running from 3 houses over (I have not heard the Firman running--So cannot say anything about).

    For me (at least the last 65 years, not sure about the next 5 years)--Our power outages (over 1-2 hours) were already rare. Multi day outages--One happened 60 years ago, and the 2nd was last year. Solar+Battery banks just cost "more" than genset plus fuel (and I recycle the fuel back into my car--So no waste there). Genset only burns fuel/oil when generating. In storage--Does not consume anything--Have kept gensets >10 years between uses--Started right up when fuel was added.

    Not saying that either of the above solutions are the right ones (or the only ones) for you--But showing that small/efficient loads and realistic expectations can get you closer to solar--Or running from a small/relatively fuel efficient genset.

    For my home in the "city" (urban area)--I like 10 days and 20 gallons of gasoline running my minimum loads (fridge/freezer/LED lighting, central heat, cell phone chargers, and if needed, washing machine, etc.) vs trying to store/recycle 160 gallons of fuel on the larger genset (although, I do have natural gas--So could use that instead). The Honda is smaller/quieter/more portable/easier to store... I could make a case for using natural gas vs gasoline--But I am in earth quake country--So natural gas may not always be available in an emergency (plus carrying a couple gas cans can be done--Natural gas would be fixed to my home).

    Regarding "solar generator" kits... Figure out your energy needs first. Then compare kit pricing vs DIY pricing and capabilities. Make sure solar panels are poly/mono-Crystalline type (those should last 20+ years). The thin film Harbor freight panels are usually 2x more area and don't last more than 6-24 months before they drop output capacity.

    Do the paper work design(s) first and see what works for you... Paper is cheaper than buying parts/kits that don't work for you (or the panels don't integrate with solar charge controller/battery bank, etc.). 

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,079 admin
    Matthew,

    Please feel free to ask questions/direct the discussion where you want it to go... Lots of ideas, but many may not work for you.

    Also, I forgot to link in the Honda Extended Run tank components:

    https://www.amazon.com/s?k=honda+eu2200i+extended+run+kit

    And change the oil once every 100 hours (4 days) or so (after break-in)....

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • thookthook Registered Users Posts: 23 ✭✭
    edited July 21 #15
    @BB.
    whew...that's a lot to grok. thank you for your time laying it out. i'm just trying to process it all

    the grundfos solar you linked is not going to fit down my well. for real. it's one of the main reasons i'm trying to stick with the SQ... it being only 2.6 inches in diameter. unless anything's changed down there. i'd need to get someone with a camera out here to look at it, again

    a quiet honda generator sounds very appealing. it's be so much easier to deal with. but, the wife's pretty set on the solar thing. and, i suppose that'd be good because of less petrol reliance. otoh, how often realistically would it need be used, right? oh well. solar good

    what i need to do is just figure out how to run what we have on both grid power and solar. you know...have an outlet for AC and a DC right next to it (if that's possible? can AC and DC run on the same wiring? different plug styles?) if there's ever a point when i need to go 100% solar on it, i can. but, as long as grid power is an option, it has distinct advantages. i see people here and there in my area setting up solar stuff with panels out in their property. not but a few, but maybe they're prepping, too. i can survive pretty well as long as i can get water out of the ground. i heat and can cook with wood. laundry can be done by hand or some bicycle set up type thing. i can haul water around in buckets and even bath from stove top water. we have an outhouse, so nothing to flush. and, we have a honda generator that's about 10 years old or so, but hardly any hours on it. i just need to get the frame fixed and rebuild the carb. it's a pull start...<<meh>> but when it worked, it started right up. noisy, but it will do the job 

    so, i guess if our SQ needs a 1200 watt set up minimum, i need to start looking at kits that will do that. 36 min's a day is the maximum it needs to run. and, if there's a day or so when i need the solar to build up, i can let the tanks rest if there's plenty of water and go easy on the use. 

    grundfos has an 800 to call. i'm going to see if there's anyone there with helpful data, as well. i'll need to take notes...lol
  • thookthook Registered Users Posts: 23 ✭✭
    mike95490 said:
    Starting is the operation that wears out the pump & motor. You really want to change that pump (or when it's time to replace it) with a small pump with same lift, but much lower rate, so you could get 5 minutes for each start.
    after some reading, i learned the SQ is actually designed to withstand immediate stop and start with no limitation...continuously. so, i guess that's moot and why it's lasted this long. as for flow rate, i still haven't seen any suitable submersibles or surface pumps with a lower flow rate. i plan to ask grundfos if there's any way to modify the existing flow rate safely. maybe not, but asking won't break anything...lol
  • geosierranevadageosierranevada Registered Users Posts: 42 ✭✭✭
    Thook.  Sorry but I think you need to have another well drilled. I could get 200 gal a day out of my low recovery well but it was not enough to run the house and supply water to my trees and plants and animals. I spent $18,000 on a 300 ft well (2018). The well is capable of 30 gal a minute. Installed a Grundfos sq flex 3-2 with 750 watts solar (direct connection) and get 1800 gal a day. It keeps my 5000 gal water tank filled and irrigates all I have. I use a Grundfos mq3-2 on demand pump to pressure the house (no pressure tank) and it works fine. 
    Have a nice day.     George

    Off grid for 18 years. 5KW panels, Trace sw4024, Bergy XL1 wind generator, GB forklift battery.  3 SQF 2 well pump, 12kw back up gen.  Not easy living in the wilderness but it keeps you busy
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,079 admin
    edited July 22 #18
    For a lot of Mfg... They usually direct first level phone calls to their distributors. NAWS (our host is one) and I am sure you can find others in your area (solar, well drillers, etc.).

    Neat thing about somebody like NAWS, they rep many different lines and they may have/find a 2.8" slow pump to fit your well (or--they may not).

    Besides the eu2200i, another poster here highly recommended the Honda eu3000is--Has electric+pull start. Not much more fuel consumption--Plus electric start.

    https://www.homedepot.com/p/Honda-3000-Watt-Super-Quiet-Electric-and-Recoil-Start-Gasoline-Powered-Inverter-Generator-with-30-Amp-Outlet-EU3000IS1AN/316605132

    There is also an eu7000is (120/240 VAC split phase power, fuel injected vs carburetor for rest of eu line)... But the eu3xxx and eu7xxxx are not cheap.

    Honda makes great units (I see both the eu3000is and eu7000is running 5-8 hours a day on the local lunch wagons--They use them after their internal gensets wore out?).

    Like George suggests--It may be time to look at a new well, and go with the larger diameter, higher recharge rate, and give you more options in the future. Your old well sounds like it is not long for this world (further collapse, possible water level falling--Especially if others are using more water in your area (when Pot became legal in California, I know of quite a few folks in the rural areas that had to drill one or several more new/deeper wells after the pot farms pumped the water table below their existing wells).

    To run your existing SQ pump... 1,200 Watts, 36 minutes a day, 3.25 hours of sun per day (December average).

    Battery sizing based on energy usage:
    • 1,200 Watts * 36 minutes per day * 1/60 minutes per hour * 1/0.85 AC inverter eff * 1/24 volt battery bank * 2 days storage * 1/0.50 max discharge = 141 AH @ 24 VDC battery bank (based on daily energy consumption).
    Battery sizing based on max power:
    • 1,200 Watts * 1/0.85 AC inverter eff * 1/24 volts * 8 hour discharge rate = 471 AH @ 24 volts suggested
    Here is where you get into "trouble" some times. Your pump does not run very long (1/2 hour per day)... But a 1,200 Watt load at nominal (max suggested) long term discharge rate of 8 hours--For flooded cell lead acid battery bank, you really need the larger battery bank for reliable long term operation. You might get by with C/5 hour rate (smaller battery bank)--Your choice.

    A 6 volt @ 225 AH "golf cart battery bank... 4 series * 2 parallel strings (8x "GC" batteries) = 24 volt @ 450 AH (close enough for solar work)

    Then charging the bank... Based on battery bank capacity. 5% / 10% / 13% rate of charge:
    • 450 AH * 29.0 volts charging * 1/0.77 panel+controller deratings * 0.05 rate of charge = 847 Watt array minimum (emergency/summer/weekend use suggested)
    • 450 AH * 29.0 volts charging * 1/0.77 panel+controller deratings * 0.10 rate of charge = 1,695 Watt array nominal
    • 450 AH * 29.0 volts charging * 1/0.77 panel+controller deratings * 0.13 rate of charge = 2,203 Watt "typical cost effective" maximum array
    And based on hours of sun (load) per day:
    • 1,200 Watts * 1/0.85 AC inverter eff * 1/0.52 off grid AC system eff * 1/3.25 hours of sun per day (Dec) = 835 Watt array "Dec break even"
    And with 65% or 50% "base load" deratrings (i.e. more panels, less generator during winter):
    • 835 Watt Dec break even array * 1/0.65 base load fudge factor = 1,286 Watt array (less genset)
    • 835 Watt Dec break even array * 1/0.50 base load fudge factor = 1,670 Watt array (even less genset runtime?)
    So--For reliable full time SQ pump operation, suggest around 1,695 Watt array... Yes it is over-sized--But you really need to do this for a reliable system and minimum management by you (check electrolyte levels, check specific gravity, check battery voltages, log--Once a month at least).

    And yes, you can run a genset to charge your battery bank. Typically, around 10-20% rate of charge:
    • 450 AH * 10% = 45 Amp charging
    • 45 Amp charging * 1/0.80 residential genset deratring * 1/0.80 typical battery charger AC to DC derating = ~2,039 Watt rated genset minimum
    • 450 AH * 20% = 90 Amp charging
    • 90 Amp charging * 1/0.80 residential genset deratring * 1/0.80 typical battery charger AC to DC derating = ~4,078 Watt rated genset minimum
    There are stand alone battery chargers. And even AC inverter-chargers (both 120 VAC and DC battery charging from AC-Generator input). And the inverter-charger can even manage the power (move from 120 VAC charging to 120 VAC output for when pump starts/runs, then back to 120 VAC battery charging when the pump shuts down).

    Genset would need around 5-10 hours to recharge a 50% depleted bank at 10% rate of charge (get about 75% state of charge and let sun recharge the next day--If sun expected). 25% charge @ 10% = ~2.5 hours. An eu2200i running an 1,600-1,800 Watt input battery charger will run around 4 hours per gallon of gasoline.

    I think if things continue the way they are (California, country)--We probably do risk some blackouts and water supply interruptions (for those of us on City Water). The emergency folks suggest being prepared for 3 days before supplies reach us. I plan more for 10 days (after 10 days, I am not sure a "big city" would be where I want to live after 10 days of no power, water, sewage (some cities have turned of city water to stop non-functional waste treatment/pumps from flooding).

    Power and "prepping" is a highly personal set of choices... Other than power for fridge/freezer, and fuel for cooking--I look at outages as more a "camping" experience (not trying to live a 100% "normal life).

    For folks in more rural areas--Having enough solar to run the home/water pumping/washing machine/etc. can make sense (utilities "abandon" rural areas or raise the charges to "uneconomical" levels (no more rural government electrification subsidies) or takes one to two months to recover after an ice storm/dam break/tornados/enter your disaster here--Solar can make the difference between abandoning a property vs living a nice/comfortable life.... But solar will not survive a direct tornado or lightning hit--So having options (including savings) is still needed.

    I will stop here--Not trying to answer all questions asked and not asked... Your thread.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • thookthook Registered Users Posts: 23 ✭✭
    edited July 22 #19
    Thook.  Sorry but I think you need to have another well drilled. I could get 200 gal a day out of my low recovery well but it was not enough to run the house and supply water to my trees and plants and animals. I spent $18,000 on a 300 ft well (2018). The well is capable of 30 gal a minute. Installed a Grundfos sq flex 3-2 with 750 watts solar (direct connection) and get 1800 gal a day. It keeps my 5000 gal water tank filled and irrigates all I have. I use a Grundfos mq3-2 on demand pump to pressure the house (no pressure tank) and it works fine. 
    Have a nice day.     George

    thank you, george. i appreciate your opinion on the matter, but i simply can't afford it. i live on the side of the mountain with a road that cannot support a well digger rig unless i get some very pricey work done. plus, the areas in which any well could possibly be dug will not fit the girth of a digger without extensive tree removal or outbuilding removal. trees i'm simply not willing to remove. call me a tree hugger... ;). and, the outbuildings are costly to replace and important for day to day operations of our animal sanctuary. i've really been over this all before with professionals last two times i've had to redo my system. the well has performed quite sufficiently as it is for the last 15 years. well, even better than before installing storage tanks and using the well with a submersible on demand. it didn't have much capacity then, either. ie. sometimes the wifey and i had to share bath water then use it to wash the laundry. truly we have it better now then we've ever had. if there's a point when this well is actually dead, then all previously mentioned issues will be moot. and, at that point, i will have to find a good paying full time job and/or take out a bank loan. i'm almost 50 years old and i just can't do that crap anymore. i'm completely out of debt, have less than a handful of bills every year, pay nothing in taxes, and still work everyday as it is. so, no disrespect your advice, but i hope you understand....that's a no go....lol

    edit: i should add the water level is at least consistent. we have a handful of neighbors and a only couple of them have wells, too. however, they're at lower altitude and so get the benefit of the water table collecting there. i'm sure if we had our well dug another 40-60ft, we'd be better off, but like i said above....
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,079 admin
    Hmm... Everything paid off and no taxes...

    Cough--California--Paid off house and still paying taxes on everything (near 10% sales taxes now, fuel taxes/prices about the most expensive in nation at ~$4 to $5 per gallon, electric rates now at/near most expensive in nation--Near $0.30 to $0.40 per kWH).   :s

    Our governor even demanded an investigation on why California fuel was so expensive:

    https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2019/10/california-governor-demands-investigation-into-high-gas-prices/

    The California Energy Commission (CEC) report Newsom referenced was something he commissioned earlier in the year. The goal was to determine why Golden State residents were paying so much more for gas than people in other parts of the country. However, the CEC report determined “the primary cause of the residual price increase is simply that California’s retail gasoline outlets are charging higher prices than those in other states.”

    It also outlined how much more Californians are being charged via regulatory measures and fuel taxes. The report estimated that California’s gas prices were $0.75 higher than anywhere else in the country last year, and over half of that appears to be directly attributable to the state’s taxes, low-carbon fuel requirements, and greenhouse cap-and-trade program. The West Coast, which is also subject to higher crude prices than other parts of the country, ran into supply problems this year as local refineries swapped over to special blends not used in other states.

    One can only wonder...

    -Bill

    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • thookthook Registered Users Posts: 23 ✭✭
    BB. said:
    For a lot of Mfg... They usually direct first level phone calls to their distributors. NAWS (our host is one) and I am sure you can find others in your area (solar, well drillers, etc.).

    Neat thing about somebody like NAWS, they rep many different lines and they may have/find a 2.8" slow pump to fit your well (or--they may not).

    Besides the eu2200i, another poster here highly recommended the Honda eu3000is--Has electric+pull start. Not much more fuel consumption--Plus electric start.

    https://www.homedepot.com/p/Honda-3000-Watt-Super-Quiet-Electric-and-Recoil-Start-Gasoline-Powered-Inverter-Generator-with-30-Amp-Outlet-EU3000IS1AN/316605132

    There is also an eu7000is (120/240 VAC split phase power, fuel injected vs carburetor for rest of eu line)... But the eu3xxx and eu7xxxx are not cheap.

    Honda makes great units (I see both the eu3000is and eu7000is running 5-8 hours a day on the local lunch wagons--They use them after their internal gensets wore out?).

    Like George suggests--It may be time to look at a new well, and go with the larger diameter, higher recharge rate, and give you more options in the future. Your old well sounds like it is not long for this world (further collapse, possible water level falling--Especially if others are using more water in your area (when Pot became legal in California, I know of quite a few folks in the rural areas that had to drill one or several more new/deeper wells after the pot farms pumped the water table below their existing wells).

    To run your existing SQ pump... 1,200 Watts, 36 minutes a day, 3.25 hours of sun per day (December average).

    Battery sizing based on energy usage:
    • 1,200 Watts * 36 minutes per day * 1/60 minutes per hour * 1/0.85 AC inverter eff * 1/24 volt battery bank * 2 days storage * 1/0.50 max discharge = 141 AH @ 24 VDC battery bank (based on daily energy consumption).
    Battery sizing based on max power:
    • 1,200 Watts * 1/0.85 AC inverter eff * 1/24 volts * 8 hour discharge rate = 471 AH @ 24 volts suggested
    Here is where you get into "trouble" some times. Your pump does not run very long (1/2 hour per day)... But a 1,200 Watt load at nominal (max suggested) long term discharge rate of 8 hours--For flooded cell lead acid battery bank, you really need the larger battery bank for reliable long term operation. You might get by with C/5 hour rate (smaller battery bank)--Your choice.

    A 6 volt @ 225 AH "golf cart battery bank... 4 series * 2 parallel strings (8x "GC" batteries) = 24 volt @ 450 AH (close enough for solar work)

    Then charging the bank... Based on battery bank capacity. 5% / 10% / 13% rate of charge:
    • 450 AH * 29.0 volts charging * 1/0.77 panel+controller deratings * 0.05 rate of charge = 847 Watt array minimum (emergency/summer/weekend use suggested)
    • 450 AH * 29.0 volts charging * 1/0.77 panel+controller deratings * 0.10 rate of charge = 1,695 Watt array nominal
    • 450 AH * 29.0 volts charging * 1/0.77 panel+controller deratings * 0.13 rate of charge = 2,203 Watt "typical cost effective" maximum array
    And based on hours of sun (load) per day:
    • 1,200 Watts * 1/0.85 AC inverter eff * 1/0.52 off grid AC system eff * 1/3.25 hours of sun per day (Dec) = 835 Watt array "Dec break even"
    And with 65% or 50% "base load" deratrings (i.e. more panels, less generator during winter):
    • 835 Watt Dec break even array * 1/0.65 base load fudge factor = 1,286 Watt array (less genset)
    • 835 Watt Dec break even array * 1/0.50 base load fudge factor = 1,670 Watt array (even less genset runtime?)
    So--For reliable full time SQ pump operation, suggest around 1,695 Watt array... Yes it is over-sized--But you really need to do this for a reliable system and minimum management by you (check electrolyte levels, check specific gravity, check battery voltages, log--Once a month at least).

    And yes, you can run a genset to charge your battery bank. Typically, around 10-20% rate of charge:
    • 450 AH * 10% = 45 Amp charging
    • 45 Amp charging * 1/0.80 residential genset deratring * 1/0.80 typical battery charger AC to DC derating = ~2,039 Watt rated genset minimum
    • 450 AH * 20% = 90 Amp charging
    • 90 Amp charging * 1/0.80 residential genset deratring * 1/0.80 typical battery charger AC to DC derating = ~4,078 Watt rated genset minimum
    There are stand alone battery chargers. And even AC inverter-chargers (both 120 VAC and DC battery charging from AC-Generator input). And the inverter-charger can even manage the power (move from 120 VAC charging to 120 VAC output for when pump starts/runs, then back to 120 VAC battery charging when the pump shuts down).

    Genset would need around 5-10 hours to recharge a 50% depleted bank at 10% rate of charge (get about 75% state of charge and let sun recharge the next day--If sun expected). 25% charge @ 10% = ~2.5 hours. An eu2200i running an 1,600-1,800 Watt input battery charger will run around 4 hours per gallon of gasoline.

    I think if things continue the way they are (California, country)--We probably do risk some blackouts and water supply interruptions (for those of us on City Water). The emergency folks suggest being prepared for 3 days before supplies reach us. I plan more for 10 days (after 10 days, I am not sure a "big city" would be where I want to live after 10 days of no power, water, sewage (some cities have turned of city water to stop non-functional waste treatment/pumps from flooding).

    Power and "prepping" is a highly personal set of choices... Other than power for fridge/freezer, and fuel for cooking--I look at outages as more a "camping" experience (not trying to live a 100% "normal life).

    For folks in more rural areas--Having enough solar to run the home/water pumping/washing machine/etc. can make sense (utilties "abandon" rural areas or raise the charges to "uneconomical" levels (no more rural government electrification subsidies) or takes one to wo months to recover after an ice storm/dam break/tornados/enter your disaster here--Solar can make the difference between abandoning a property vs living a nice/comfortable life.... But solar will not survive a direct tornado or lightning hit--So having options (including savings) is still needed.

    I will stop here--Not trying to answer all questions asked and not asked... Your thread.

    -Bill
    once again, bill, thank you for such lengthy communication. it seems lately folks have interpreted me as coming across being disagreeable and unflexible on some things. i hope you don't take it that way if that's what appears to be here. believe me, i'd just do the generator tomorrow if my wife would go along with it. if you're married or ever have been, you'll understand. i point out options, but solar is what she wants, so.....

    i live in a town of less than 500 people. nobody wants to develop here. i mean, there's no point. it's all generational farmland and rocks. logging and cattle is the only things happening. we have a fire dept, a post office, a park, a gas station, train depot, city hall, a library, and a dollar general. that's it...lol. plus, it's right at the foothills of the ozark forest, so mountains on every side. tornadoes go around us. and, much of the nastiest of weather goes well to the north or south. been here 27 years. it just works that way.

    our biggest threat is ice storms, but that's a rarity. heck...last winter barely had deep cold snaps, though cool spring weather lasted longer. i burned firewood up until the end of may. and, usually i'm done with that by onset of april.
    the other threat is with the grid since we're in the forest and the lines are simply subject to down trees. short power outages for a few minutes to several hours overnight are a part of life. however, my well house is well away from any tree dangers since wood bores killed pretty much every oak nearby. cut them down years ago. 

    nw arkansas seems pretty immune to a lot of political b.s. and consequences as it is with your area and similar. otoh, the nearby college town (fayetteville) is quite blue. still....remarkably tame compared to most others. it's almost like nobody (fed's...corporations) really cares about messing with the hillbillies....with some exception. we still have agenda 21 type crap encroaching. 

    anyway, back to solar set up....i'm beginning to understand the dynamics of what i'm dealing with here. still need to read more letting it sink in. watched a few youtube videos, joined another forum, and getting familiar with terms and equipment everyone's talking about. i may not be able to do this quite as budgeted as originally intended, but that's fine. had a small very unexpected/unusual windfall this week enabling us to even do this. though, she's wanted to for several years
  • thookthook Registered Users Posts: 23 ✭✭
    i was looking at the well house roof in terms of sun exposure and panel angle. i have quite a bit of space up there. maybe 90sq feet or more. and, there's actually two roofs since i've an add on to the original house. anyway, one side/s has about an 6-8 inch rise and faces directly south by south east. it gets direct sun from sun rise until about 1pm or so. then, the sun hits the other side giving exposure up until about 7pm. i could put panels on either side and be pretty well off, eh? even during winter, the roof/s get a fair amount of sun. furthermore, there's the broadside of the house facing the same. a couple of panels on there, too. so, maybe up to ten panels, if necessary. i don't know. just speculating

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,079 admin
    Matthew, I don't have any issues with what you are asking/saying. Energy (and housing, etc.) are all highly personal choices. What may work for me, may not work for you.

    As an engineer, we tend to go a bit overboard on designs for safety/reliability/ease of maintenance/etc. And that does add costs. You can decide to reduce some "fudge factors" (such as size of solar array ~2x your daily power needs--To account for bad weather, aging, etc.).

    It is actually quite amazing what can be done with electronics these days. Inverters, inverter-chargers, inverter generators, price reductions in solar panels, and some amazing solar charge controllers/integrated solar system.

    Regarding solar--Solar electric panels need to be free of shade. Any amount of shade that affects even just a few cells in a panel can dramatically reduce the solar harvest (by 1/2 or even more).

    You mentioned trees and you would like to not cut them down. Can you mount the array in an area that is clear of shading from, at least 9am though 3pm throughout the year? If you have shade--It is now possible to mount the array hundreds of feet away from the "battery shed". Also, it is possible to have the whole solar "shed" remote and run the 120/240 VAC power from the building to your home/well pump.

    Mounting panels in different planes does work like you suggest... 1/2 the panels facing East or South east, the other 1/2 facing West or South West is sometimes done on purpose for "virtual tracking" vs a "real" physical tracker (solar panels are "cheap" these day and the added costs of some more panels can save the issues of a "real" tracker (electro/mechanical actuators+controller, moving racks, etc.)--Gives more hours of charging (vs whole array facing south)--Lead Acid batteries really "like" hours of charge. Li Ion batteries don't "care" as much. Just feed them a bunch of current until they are charged.

    I have been focusing on Flooded Cell Lead Acid Deep Cycle "Golf Cart" batteries as they are relatively cheap and forgiving. There are other chemistries such as LiFePO4 and similar--But while they are almost "ideal" batteries (no water to check, charge/discharge at high currents, and support large number of charging cycles)--They are expensive and really should have a BMS (battery management system).

    Li Ion could be done--But that is one that needs more research by you, and a larger budget before going down that road.

    Not trying to "box you in"--There are many ways to do off grid solar. But you really need some $$ to ensure that can do it right--Vs finding out in the fall you don't have good sun or enough sun+panels to run without generator time+fuel.

    You may end up with a short term solution (smaller genset to get water and power during power failures) and a few years down the road you have a bit more savings (don't let solar suck you dry--You need some $$$ in the bank as parts break, and batteries age out/die).

    I don't suggest solar as an "investment" (not a bank account, bonds, stocks, or even property). Just like buying a car is not an "investment".

    Yes, married with adult kids. "Happy Wife, Happy Home". Not always easy.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • thookthook Registered Users Posts: 23 ✭✭
    i hate to throw a wrench in the direction i was going in, but i had no idea...they make solar generators! i know...i'm so out of touch. what do you guys think of these? talk about a really nice compromise between him and her....lol! i have ease, she has solar :)...maybe
  • thookthook Registered Users Posts: 23 ✭✭
    @BB.
    hahahaha...oh my jeez. <<insert embarrassed apologies>>
    well, i've gotten enough info under my belt thus far to lay some facts out for my wife. considering the size of the system we'd need, the amount of time it would take me to build it reliably and protect it, and future maintenance expense, suddenly!!! a newer honda genset starts looking appealing. <<sigh>>.
    i tried to gently point this out from all you've said at the get go, but i think it really dawned on her when i brought home needing new batteries every so often, having to build a rack for the panels and protect it somehow from high winds, storms, and hail. and, the topper, this expense and effort could only be focused towards simply getting water out of the ground.
    iow's, with a new generator on top of our current one, we could run anything and everything. just modify the time the grundfos runs and also catch water from the barn's and kitchen's roof. a lot simpler, right? ;)
    the barn is 8x36ft on one side. the kitchen is adjoined perpendicular to add another 160sq feet of surface. gutter in a 250gal storage tank at the intersection and that sucker will fill fast in rainy seasons...which fall and winter typically are. often spring is, too, so there's the tentative garden supply.
    a little tiny pump from that tank to supply the garden, chicken yard, and even the washer since it's only 20ft from the location. just plumb the tank to the inside with a shut off valve.
    so, keep the noisy older genset at the well house and the new one at the house. heck...i could even run power tools with a quiet one if needed. 
    anyway, i feel a bit foolish with all the time and info ya'll have accommodated me with, but i guess i learned a few interesting things about solar and managed to get what i really preferred in the end. <<snarky grin>>> hehe
    oh, and i suppose i wouldn't have learned about the newer better generators unless i'd posted here, either
    who knows? maybe somewhere way down the line we may still do something with solar. or maybe even just when this grundfos dies. time will tell
    again and again, thank you everyone for your efforts to assist. it is appreciated

    sincerely, matthew
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,079 admin
    edited July 23 #26
    A "solar generator" is just a marketing term for a solar power system kit--Sometimes a smaller "all in one" box (inverter+battery+charge controller--Plug in a few panels to charge. 

    Using power tools with a generator... Things like a Skill Saw--They take a lot of current to start and a Honda eu2200i might be on the small side to run that size of tool (inverter-generators have less surge current capability than a normal genset--Plus because of the electronics of a inverter-generator they can shut down the output almost immediately with an "overload"--Where a plain old genset will simply brown out for a few seconds until the load comes up to speed).

    And for any small genset, they have small carburetors, jets and stuff--easy to plug up... So you need clean fuel and cannot just let them sit for months with fuel in them (drain the the tank and carb--there is a screw in the float bowl if not using). I use a fuel stabilizer for my emergency fuel and recycle back to the car once a year.

    You might want to borrow/rent ($75 or so???) a the genset first--Just to make sure it does what you need around the house.

    Having two (or more) generators is not a bad idea either... A small/efficient one to run your small loads for a few days. And a larger "noise" maker for emergency back up to the small one--And to run a few larger tools/shop in an emergency (generators fail... Getting 2,000 to 6,000 hours from a small Honda is expected--And have seen other gensets fail after 100-600 hours).

    And seen "weird stuff too"... They are rebuilding the commuter train tracks/bridges/electrifying in our area--A few trailers that the construction guys are living in--And they have a smallish ~20 kWatt diesel genset on a trailer humming away 24x7 for several years now--Right under a utility power pole--And a construction office 300 feet away--Utility Powered. I have no idea what people are thinking sometime (in California--There is a huge push to make diesel (and gas/propane?) gensets pretty much near illegal for pollution control. Lots of permits/regulations/upgrading to newest smog control.

    https://duckduckgo.com/?q=california+diesel+generator+laws&ia=web (the state gets you coming and going)
    https://www.ebay.com/b/Diesel-Trailer-Mounted-Industrial-Generators/106437/bn_1515985

    And adding a large tank for water storage...

    https://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/catalog/water-storage-tanks

    With our dry/hot summers, some locations here in California even require a relatively large tank for home and wild fire fighting:

    https://sonomacounty.ca.gov/PRMD/Fire-Prevention/Bulletin-Water-Storage-Tanks/
    https://www.rainharvest.com/info/rainflo/RainHarvest-NFPA-22-Anti-Vortex-Plate-Specifications.pdf

    You don't want to lose your home because you only have a 100 gallons of water and 20 minutes from fire response and they cannot get their larger tank trucks up your road.

    Best wishes for your and your family Matthew.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • wellbuiltwellbuilt Solar Expert Posts: 699 ✭✭✭✭
    Hi mat , you could simply add a valve to your well line to slow down your gallons per min .
    or add a reducer on the end from day 1” to 3/4 or 1” to 1/2” 
     you will get the same amount of water but the pump could run longer 
    Out back  flex power one  with out back 3648 inverter fm80 charge controler  flex net  mate 16 gc215 battery’s 4425 Watts solar .
  • thookthook Registered Users Posts: 23 ✭✭
    edited July 23 #28
    BB. said:
    A "solar generator" is just a marketing term for a solar power system kit--Sometimes a smaller "all in one" box (inverter+battery+charge controller--Plug in a few panels to charge. 

    Using power tools with a generator... Thinks like a Skill Saw--They take a lot of current to start and a Honda eu2200i might be on the small side to run that size of tool (inverter-generators have less surge current capability than a normal genset--Plus because of the electronics of a inverter-generator they can shut down the output almost immediately with an "overload"--Where a plain old genset will simply brown out for a few seconds until the load comes up to speed).

    And for any small genset, they have small carburetors, jets and stuff--easy to plug up... So you need clean fuel and cannot just let them sit for months with fuel in them (drain the the tank and carb--there is a screw in the float bowl if not using). I use a fuel stabilizer for my emergency fuel and recycle back to the car once a year.

    You might want to borrow/rent ($75 or so???) a the genset first--Just to make sure it does what you need around the house.

    Having two (or more) generators is not a bad idea either... A small/efficient one to run your small loads for a few days. And a larger "noise" maker for emergency back up to the small one--And to run a few larger tools/shop in an emergency (generators fail... Getting 2,000 to 6,000 hours from a small Honda is expected--And have seen other gensets fail after 100-600 hours).

    And seen "weird stuff too"... They are rebuilding the commuter train tracks/bridges/electrifying in our area--A few trailers that the construction guys are living in--And they have a smallish ~20 kWatt diesel genset on a trailer humming away 24x7 for several years now--Right under a utility power pole--And a construction office 300 feet away--Utility Powered. I have no idea what people are thinking sometime (in California--There is a huge push to make diesel (and gas/propane?) gensets pretty much near illegal for pollution control. Lots of permits/regulations/upgrading to newest smog control.

    https://duckduckgo.com/?q=california+diesel+generator+laws&ia=web (the state gets you coming and going)
    https://www.ebay.com/b/Diesel-Trailer-Mounted-Industrial-Generators/106437/bn_1515985

    And adding a large tank for water storage...

    https://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/catalog/water-storage-tanks

    With our dry/hot summers, some locations here in California even require a relatively large tank for home and wild fire fighting:

    https://sonomacounty.ca.gov/PRMD/Fire-Prevention/Bulletin-Water-Storage-Tanks/
    https://www.rainharvest.com/info/rainflo/RainHarvest-NFPA-22-Anti-Vortex-Plate-Specifications.pdf

    You don't want to lose your home because you only have a 100 gallons of water and 20 minutes from fire response and they cannot get their larger tank trucks up your road.

    Best wishes for your and your family Matthew.

    -Bill
    i'm actually looking to get the EU3000 for the "quiet" genset. that should handle a tool if i need it to, right? 

    also, the old honda is a 3500w unit. we've used the neighbor's ( brand?) before that was that size and worked to fire up the fridge here and there to keep it from spoiling. i mean, i think it should be big enough. the guy we bought it from got to run his house stuff when the ice storm came through. his power just didn't go out for long, so didn't use it much

    the old honda does have 240v hook up, but the plug style is different than either of my pumps. i'm considering building a little insulated shelter off the side of the well house with 4in thick insulated panels to be able to wire it up to the grid panel as semi permanent set up. otherwise, don't know how to bridge the differing plug styles. the EU3000...same thing, but it's likely more fuel efficient.

    heck...i dunno. i'm just brainstorming. so, i guess i'll see once have that and old one is running again to decide what's gonna do what. you know?

    winslow (where i live) fire dept. is 2.5 miles from my house. not bad, eh?...lol. they do...or used to, at least...have a 1 ton dually set up for difficult access. i'm good friends with some folks that just recently left the volunteer staff. i'll have to call him up on that. i really hadn't thought about it  <<grin>>
  • thookthook Registered Users Posts: 23 ✭✭
    wellbuilt said:
    Hi mat , you could simply add a valve to your well line to slow down your gallons per min .
    or add a reducer on the end from day 1” to 3/4 or 1” to 1/2” 
     you will get the same amount of water but the pump could run longer 
    i plan to call grundfos about this. from reading on their site, they say it's designed for water poor areas (think third world) and is supposed to withstand short run times. so, trying to make longer run times might be moot in terms of longevity. 

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,079 admin
    Just an FYI... There are both an eu3000i and an eu3000is. The "is" is the one with electric start, larger internal fuel tank, and such.

    I see that that eu3000i "handy" appears to be no longer a "current" generator for Honda.

    https://www.campingworld.com/honda-eu3000i-handi-portable-generator---carb-compliant-48710.html (eu3000i)
    https://www.campingworld.com/honda-eu3000is-49-state-inverter-generator-with-co-minder-124875.html (eu3000is)

    Yes, the eu3000is will manage a larger power tool... Not to say that you cannot run a skill saw from a eu2200i -- Just do not expect them to "run every 120 VAC tool".

    Not sure what older model Honda 3500 Watt genset you have... Something like this?

    https://www.portablequietgenerator.com/3500w-gas-portable-generator-120-240vac-electric-recoil/

    Generator Outlets: 5-20R 120VAC Duplex (2), L5-30R 120VAC Twist-Lock (1), L14-20R 120/240VAC Twist-Lock (1)

    Possibly a L14-20R outlet (receptacle)?

    It looks complicated, but NEMA plug/receptacle tables are pretty straight forward. Generally two or three blades for power, and one blade for safety ground. And you have "plain" or straight blades, and "L" type for twist lock type (used where you don't want tools and extension cords to pull apart when you drag cables/tools around):

    https://bedowntowndaytona.com/page.php#bmVtYSBvdXRsZXQgY2hhcnQ=

    L14-20R -- L14 is "locking" type #14 -- Look up on chart that is for 120/240 VAC split phase power (normal north American power)... Two hot wires (X & Y or L1 & L2 or Black and Red) and a W (White for neutral). And a blade for G green ground connection. And the -20 is for 20 Amp rated current capacity.

    L1 to N is 120 VAC; L2 to N is 120 VAC, and L1 to L2 is 240 VAC. (ignoring 3 phase power--Not usually found in homes).

    You now need to look at the pump's plug/power requirements. Your pump may need L1 & L2 (240 VAC only). Or it may need L1 & L2 & Neutral (120/240 VAC). And safety ground (green wire) is generally carried through from genset to receptacle.

    You can use a larger outlet (i.e., a 20 amp outlet) for a 15 amp load... But you need to watch wire AWG... I.e., a true 20 amp source needs (at least) 12 AWG wire. Where a 15 amp circuit needs (at least) 14 AWG wire (you don't want to overheat plug or wiring by using too small/light weight of hardware).

    You can make your own adapters... Such as L14-20P to 14-20R (locking L14-20P plug on genset to straight blade 14-20R receptacle).

    The above NEMA chart link also shows how to make various electrical connections (2 wire, 3 wire, 3 wire with ground, etc.).

    Nothing magic inside the plugs--Just to prevent mixing up cords and tools with different power requirements. Inside the plugs/receptacles, there are also "green" for ground, "white" for neutral, and "brass" for "hot" screws to help keep wiring straight.

    For your well--You could have a "plug" to the well pump and two outlets--One for utility power, and a second for genset power connection.

    If you make adapters--You want to be safe... Say you have a 30 amp circuit (10 AWG typical) and a pump wired for 15 Amps (14 AWG wiring). You need a 15 amp circuit breaker/fuse between the 30 amp circuit and the 15 amps / 14 AWG circuit to prevent a short/pump overload from overheating/catching on fire the 14 AWG circuit... Just normal "electrician/electrical" stuff.

    Or you can hardware the well to an electrical box with a transfer switch. Manual transfer or even a relay type (i.e., normal power from utility to pump, and if generator is running, switches over to generator source):

    https://www.solar-electric.com/search/?q=transfer+switches

    You can also get multi-breaker manual transfer switches that wire into a home's main breaker panel. Handy to turn on just some circuits at a time so you don't overload the genset:

    https://www.homedepot.com/b/Electrical-Power-Distribution-Temporary-Power-Disconnects-Transfer-Switches-Kits-Transfer-Switches/N-5yc1vZc9i7

    Lots of different options out there...

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • thookthook Registered Users Posts: 23 ✭✭
    edited July 23 #31

    @BB. thanks, bill...i'll go over all you've laid out in short time

    to make this brief until later, what i have right now is this...

    https://www.amazon.com/All-Power-America-APG3002S-Generator/dp/B002PWB8CU

    given all you've shared and the directions it's all taking me, i'm really thinking a bigger generator for the house and using the old honda for the well. i'll give some reasons later, but for half the money of one of the small hondas you've exampled, i could get a generator with twice the capacity and with similar reliability. here's one example i've been researching (been mostly researching overall brand/s satisfaction and secondarily individual products of those brands)

    https://www.homedepot.com/p/Champion-Power-Equipment-DH-8750-Watt-Electric-Start-Gasoline-Powered-Open-Frame-Inverter-Generator-with-420-cc-Engine-100520/312596603

    that would do a lot, and i wouldn't have to go quite so stone age in order to maintain if/when power is out. i can do it, but rather not if i don't have to despite what i'd said earlier before dropping the solar option on the well
     
    the champion, at least, seems quiet enough at 72 decibal rating ( a shower is supposedly 75). that honda EU3000 is only 10 decibals less. so, not bad, i think. it uses more fuel than the EU3000, but of course it's bigger. i'm sure it's still better than my APG300

    anyway, yes...lots of options with all of this. i am going to run the hot wire for the chicken yard on solar, though. that should be easy enough

    more later :)


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