system for my cabin

i wanting to put in an off grid solar system at my cabin. Right now i run everything off a generator. Connecting to the grid is not an option. The best i can figure the most watts i can figure on using is 3000 watt/hours per day. I would like a system that i can expand if need be. The problem is i cant find any loacally and would like to know what all i need to buy and from who. Everywhere i look on the web has all kinds of price ranges and id rather buy from someone maybe yall would reccomend. I would like to know what all i need and prices if available. I will be keeping the generator to run the well pump and charge the batteries when needed. I will install the panels on a pole approx. 75 feet from cabin. This system is goin to be installed in southeast oklahoma. Thanks any help would be appreciated. Also i have read about the advantages of running everything on 24 or 48 volts, i would like to buy the best i can. I plan on this cabin being in the family forever.

Comments

  • mikeomikeo Solar Expert Posts: 386 ✭✭✭
    Re: system for my cabin
    The best i can figure the most watts i can figure on using is 3000 watt/hours per day.
    
    One you see the price, you may decide to see if you can conserve your power usage.
    You have approximately 5 hour a day on average in OK. Very rough guide for planning purposes would be 3000 watts * 1/.52 system efficiency * 1/5 days = approximately 1200 watts of solar panels. You would need to nail down your loads because in the winter months you will only get about 2 hours of sun on average. You may need even more solar panels or run your generator more during the winter months.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,518 admin
    Re: system for my cabin

    Our host, Northern Arizona Wind and Sun, has a webstore where you can start looking at hardware and prices. As always, look around for optimum pricing and support for product at your door.

    You are welcome to purchase from NAWS or anywhere else--this board is open to help in any way we can (everyone here is a volunteer--us two moderators) and/or just interested in helping folks with solar/RE/conservation. Some folks here are designers/Mfg. reps of solar equipment--and others are installers, and many of us are users who have made our share of mistakes. ;)

    Speaking of which--Conservation... It is cheaper to conserve than to generate off-grid power.

    You can use a Kill-a-Watt meter for measuring your AC loads and/or a DC AmpHour / WattHour meter like one of these for your battery direct loads.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • audredgeraudredger Solar Expert Posts: 272 ✭✭
    Re: system for my cabin

    If your looking fo a list:
    Panels, of course
    A mounting system, pole, ground or, roof
    combiner box or two
    Big Wire
    Charge controler
    batteries
    more big wire
    fuses or circut breakers
    dc breaker box & more breakers
    inverter (s)
    Ac breaker box & yet more breakers
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,518 admin
    Re: system for my cabin

    By the way, because you need to install the panels about 75' from the cabin/battery bank/charge controller... You are looking at a more expensive MPPT type charge controller. This will allow you to have up to 100 VDC for Vmp of the solar array--and run that high voltage / low current power to your charge controller. Which will be low voltage / high current to charge the battery bank.

    Sizing the system based on your loads (full time use, weekends/seasonal) will help keep the costs reasonable.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • harleyhouserharleyhouser Registered Users Posts: 5
    Re: system for my cabin

    thanks for all the info. this cabin is mostly used in the spring and winter. Deer season and turkey season. we use it some in the summer but usually dont stay because its a little hot. october and november is when it most used. how big of a system do yall think i need based on 3000 watt/hours per day based on this usage. i can also run the generator as much as i need, i just dont wont to run it at night.
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,248 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: system for my cabin

    Remember that conservation is your best energy dollar. Every dollar spent on conservation will save ~$10 in PV.

    For a part time system, consider a propane fridge,, saving ~.5-1kwh/day. Eliminate as many resistance heat appliances as possible, including coffee pots and toasters. Make sure that all your lighting is well designed and needed.

    As we say all to often, 'do the math'. By doing the math and planning your system around proper sizing you will avoid THE most expensive mistake you can make in RE,,, Ready, fire, aim!

    In ball park numbers, a battery based system will deliver the following. Take the name plate rating of the PV, divide that number by 2 to account for ALL the system loses, and then multiply that number by ~ 4 to represent the number of hours of good sun you can expect. (Most people over estimate the amount of sun they get, and under estimate their loads!)

    So, 100 watts/2*4=200 wh/days.

    So, if you need 3kwh/day you might need a system in the ~1.5 kw range. That might run ~$8 watt inclusive, or $12,000.

    All for now!

    Good luck, and welcome to the forum,

    Tony
  • harleyhouserharleyhouser Registered Users Posts: 5
    Re: system for my cabin

    thanks for the info, my fridge and hot water heater and stove is all propane. i maybe over estimating my usage by quite a bit. i was just planning on running my tv and satellite about 5 or 6 hours a day (women), mostly rite about dark. then i was figuring on i have ten lights all together and i just figured each one on 2 hours, which i was just tring to over estimate everything, and also figuring on running 2 48 inch celing fans for 8 hours at night if we stay in the summer. i just dont wont to small of a system. i was planning on spending in the $10,000 range. plus im gona try and get that 30% rebate from the government. sorry for all the questions. thanks.

    i geuss i need to call the place that host this site
    i just wanted to be a little prepared about what to ask first
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: system for my cabin

    If it's any help, I use about 3 kW/hrs per day - and that's running a refrigerator, computer/satellite set-up, and electric water & sewage pumps. Check my sig for the set-up I use.

    You may find your needs are or can be a lot less. Definitely get some real-world numbers on your loads; it could save you lots of $ on your system design.
  • harleyhouserharleyhouser Registered Users Posts: 5
    Re: system for my cabin

    could someone look at this system and tell me why it so much cheaper than any others i find out there.
    http://sunelec.com/index.php?main_page=1640_watt_off_grid_system

    would this system work for my cabin
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,248 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: system for my cabin

    No worries about the questions, that's what we are here for,,, mostly.

    Another rule applies: Loads will always grow with time, so it is good to estimate long.

    Get a Kill-a-watt meter, and do a very good analysis of your loads, how big and for how long each day. Figure out how you can use other energy to power as many loads as you can. Add up the total,, add ~25-50% for room to grow.

    You in all likely hood wreck a set of batteries before you figure out how to manage them properly. Read and understand as much as yo can about off grid living and you will get a jump ahead.

    I suggest you read some of the following to start:

    http://forum.solar-electric.com/showthread.php?p=48897#post48897

    http://www.windsun.com/Batteries/Battery_FAQ.htm#Lifespan%20of%20Batteries

    http://rredc.nrel.gov/solar/codes_algs/PVWATTS/version2/

    Tony
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,311 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: system for my cabin

    i'm not so sure you may want everything on a modsine inverter as anything with an electric motor will draw more power if the motors don't soon fail. for most items a modsine inverter is fine though and you most likely won't need that much power. do see about a sine wave inverter for those with the motors. some examples may be fans, air conditioners, and refrigerators for the sine wave inverter.
  • solarvicsolarvic Solar Expert Posts: 1,053 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: system for my cabin
    could someone look at this system and tell me why it so much cheaper than any others i find out there.
    http://sunelec.com/index.php?main_page=1640_watt_off_grid_system

    would this system work for my cabin

    Those solar panels don,t have any electrical aprovals even though they probably will make the power output. If you need an electrical inspection I don,t think they would pass inspection. I read on this forum somewhere that some of the cell conections are too close to other conections is why they aren,t ul approved. I have been thinking whether I want to take a chance on them for a low voltage system. A fire isn,t hardly worth the gamble especially if the insurance co, doesn,t want to pay. They recomend on thier web site not to use them on grid connected systems. For 54 cents more per watt you can get the evergreen panels that are blems but are ul approved. I think evergreen didn,t want thier name on the sun panels because of the liability in case someone had a fire from them. You should probably get a sinewave inverter too. Personally I think if I buy any more panels I will get ul approved ones even if they are blems. Especially since my panels are beside my garage and If I had a fire the garage would probably go and there is only about 20 to 25 feet between my garage and the house. I don,t know how many of you that ever went thru a fire but it isn,t a picnic even if you have good insurance. Vic
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,380 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: system for my cabin

    No mounting system for the PV's in the sunelec system.

    This mesage board host, has a large sine wave UPS system
    http://store.solar-electric.com/baposy.html
    all you need to add is PV, mounts, charge controller, handfull of wires & breakers.
    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 ,

  • harleyhouserharleyhouser Registered Users Posts: 5
    Re: system for my cabin

    thanks for the info on the sunelc system. I will give the guys that host this site a call.
    Thats exactly the info i was wanting, i dont want to buy any junk. I would rather pay a little extra now, than later. What in yalls opinion is the best manufacture of pvs, charge controller,inverter,batteries,etc...I want to buy the best i can afford. Thanks
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,248 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: system for my cabin

    Just for record, the Sun Electric stuff in not "junk". They are selling private label PV that don't carry a UL or CSA standards listing. These are quality panels, usually blems from name brand manufacturers.

    It is my impression that Sun sells a lot of stuff off shore where folks don't need nor care about UL listings. Just because they don't carry a label doesn't mean they are either junk or unsafe. (That said in some (many?) cases lack of listing may mean unsafe)

    I'm not trying to shill for them, as I think our site sponsor sells quality goods at reasonable prices. Sun does the same, but with a different focus. To some great extent you get what you pay for. The one complaint I hear about Sun is lack of customer service. One huge plus I hear (and know first hand) about our site sponsor is GREAT customer service. (Just don't buy from Sun and then call NWAS for help,,, that's not playing fair!)
  • Solar GuppySolar Guppy Solar Expert Posts: 1,962 ✭✭✭
    Re: system for my cabin

    On the SunElec, the Evergreen's relabeled to Suns are Identical to the Evergreen Blems , which from what I can tell look like A stock ... The discount is two fold. First, Evergreen has no warranty costs, second, they can sell surplus product to SunElec without getting other channel partners up in arms on the pricing.

    Its a Win Win .. If you need UL get the Evergreens for under 2.20 watt, if you realize its just a label and label don't produce energy go with the exact same panel with a Sun sticker on the back.

    Solar is getting to the point production wise that manufactures need alternative ways to sell product. If you look at electronics in general, stuff is unload as surplus, factory renewed, dented box all sorts of BS names so manufactures can sell there A stock to discounters to shed inventory as needed .. no reason solar panel as a commodity won't follow the same path

    IMHO, the cell spacing thing is FUD ..
  • solarvicsolarvic Solar Expert Posts: 1,053 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: system for my cabin

    Why do sun say not to use on grid connected high vpltage grid yies? I know the inspector did look at the label on my solar panels and told me they had to have ul aproval. If I would have used them my system wouldn,t have passed. I did read somewhere on this forum that some of the wireing going between the solar wafers were too close to each other and might short out if used on high voltage gridtie. I also was thinking of getting some for a backup inverter for power outages and I would be using at the low voltage which is probably safer and I wasn,t going to get it inspected. One thing for sure the price is right. It wouldn,t bother me to use the blems that are approved. Our forum spobser does have some quality modules at a good price. I like the solar world panels they have and they have a preety fair price for the quality. Vic:D
  • BilljustBillBilljustBill Solar Expert Posts: 212 ✭✭✭
    Re: system for my cabin
    On the SunElec, the Evergreen's relabeled to Suns are Identical to the Evergreen Blems , which from what I can tell look like A stock ... The discount is two fold. First, Evergreen has no warranty costs, second, they can sell surplus product to SunElec without getting other channel partners up in arms on the pricing.

    Its a Win Win .. If you need UL get the Evergreens for under 2.20 watt, if you realize its just a label and label don't produce energy go with the exact same panel with a Sun sticker on the back.

    Solar is getting to the point production wise that manufactures need alternative ways to sell product. If you look at electronics in general, stuff is unload as surplus, factory renewed, dented box all sorts of BS names so manufactures can sell there A stock to discounters to shed inventory as needed .. no reason solar panel as a commodity won't follow the same path

    IMHO, the cell spacing thing is FUD ..

    I read a statement I ran across on the Net that Evergreen is having money troubles. If things don't clear up, they may be out of business by the end of 2010 which makes a lot of issues with any warranty on their panels, no matter what grade they are.

    Have you heard anything abour Evergreen....
    Bill
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,518 admin
    Re: system for my cabin

    By the way... UL and NEC is based on trace-ability of components to "know" that everything is as designed and listed.

    When the UL label is removed--then the inspector cannot assume trace-ability back to the original sources.

    And, of course, the vendor dos not need to have internal trace-ability/testing as required by UL. No "chain of custody" / approved parts/processes, so you don't know what you don't know.

    An inspector--if they are looking will catch this. If the are not looking--they won't. The inspector is there to help ensure that your home/business is "safe"--slipping something in to save costs on a permitted/inspected installation only has the potential to hurt you and your neighbors.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 4,996 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: system for my cabin
    on the sunelec, the evergreen's relabeled to suns are identical to the evergreen blems , which from what i can tell look like a stock ...

    solar guppy!!!(yes i'm yelling!)

    i know you are based in florida, one of the worse parts of an open forum is bad information.

    Where did you get this imformation?

    I bought evergreen blem panels from sunelec, they are cosmetic blems, the have spots on some cells, discolored cells and do not look like 'a' cells. Output is fine!!!

    Something in your statement is just wrong!!!

    I'll go hunt now on another forum for john kimball's statement on the cells being to close together for grid connect.
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Prosine 1800 and Exeltech 1100, 660 ah 24v ForkLift battery. Off grid for @16 of last 17 years. Assorted other systems, and to many panels in the closet to not do more...lol
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 4,996 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: system for my cabin

    Here's a copy of a post from another forum by Sunelec, I will confirm they are from John Kimball as he sent me a personal Email to a inquirey at that site to an Email address not connected with that site. (I had infered that Louis Prophete was the only one there that seamed to make deals.)
    Sunelec wrote: »
    It all depends on your application. If it's off-grid I honestly believe our SUN modules are the best deal. Why? because they are the cheapest and they are quality (their Evergreen's). The reason they don't have UL is because some cells are too close and they might have some tiny insignificant cosmetic imperfections, these however have no effect on the module performance or lifetime. They are for off-grid only as they should not be used with high voltage grid connect inverters only 12, 24 or 48 volt systems. Go to www.evergreensolar.com to see spec. These are exactly the same.



    We have sold about 50+ 40 ft. containers of them over the last 3 years.
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Prosine 1800 and Exeltech 1100, 660 ah 24v ForkLift battery. Off grid for @16 of last 17 years. Assorted other systems, and to many panels in the closet to not do more...lol
  • solarvicsolarvic Solar Expert Posts: 1,053 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: system for my cabin
    Photowhit wrote: »
    Here's a copy of a post from another forum by Sunelec, I will confirm they are from John Kimball as he sent me a personal Email to a inquirey at that site to an Email address not connected with that site. (I had infered that Louis Prophete was the only one there that seamed to make deals.)
    Everyone should go to Evergreens website. Doesn,t sound like thier financial problems are so bad. It would probably be good for our country if they did go belly up. If you go there, read the story from Fox news. Another co. sending our money and jobs to China. Vic:grr
  • audredgeraudredger Solar Expert Posts: 272 ✭✭
    Re: system for my cabin

    Most SUN Modules are not UL listed and Sunelec.com does not recommend their use on Grid-Tied systems.

    This bothers me!
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 4,996 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: system for my cabin

    The reasoning behind the "not recomended for grid connect" and the explaination "because some cells are too close" makes some sense when you think about it, high voltage jumps gaps much easier than low voltage.

    Grid connect systems have a threshold of 600 volts for these panels.

    I'm NOT knocking Sunelec, I'm happy with my purchase. I might believe a warranty from a business that has a strong model, and been around for 30+ years, might be more valuable that a company in a very competative field.
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Prosine 1800 and Exeltech 1100, 660 ah 24v ForkLift battery. Off grid for @16 of last 17 years. Assorted other systems, and to many panels in the closet to not do more...lol
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