Protecting part-time PV

I am planning a solar system that will only be used 4 mos. of the year. What steps can I take to protect and prolong the life of the system when I am not there?


  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: protecting part time PV

    If the system is designed right, there's not much concern about leaving it on its own. Turn off or disconnect the inverter. Leave the batteries connected to the charge controller & panels. If they're flooded batteries, be sure they're fully charged and the electrolyte levels are up before you leave. Mine goes unattended for six months at a time without incident.

    Although you might also want to consider making sure its reasonably secured against theft. :cry:
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 9,359 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: protecting part time PV

    refill the battery water (with distilled), disconnect any loads, disable automatic battery EQ cycles.

    Make sure Ice & Snow wont build a dam around the panel - one member has his winter panel mounted vertical on the wall, just under the eves, fairly well protected, but sees enough sun to keep the battery topped off.

    security for/against vandals ? Falling tree branches ?

    Only using for 4 months - that's a big expense to leave idle 3/4 of the year.
    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

    gen: ,

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,007 admin
    Re: Protecting part-time PV

    As others suggested--Just leave a smaller panel that is large enough to "float" the battery bank for storage (~1% of battery AH rating) if you have concerns with theft or damage.

    Another option, design the solar/battery system to to supply enough power for lights/radio/tv for evening and nighttime use.

    Use a Honda eu1000i or eu2000i for daytime/heavier loads (microwave, vacuum, washer, power tools, battery charging for poor weather/heavier usage).

    Use propane powered devices (fridge/bright lighting, cooking, heating).

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