Check out proposed Island system

SurfpathSurfpath Solar Expert Posts: 393 ✭✭✭
I am building a 3 person off grid house in the Caribean. I finished constructing my dedicated 'solar' room a few months ago. I think it looks sweet. I'll have to post some photos.

I am not an electrician, and on-island DC/Solar help is limited, so I will likely install the Outback Flexpower 1-6 (a 48vDC/230VAC prewired system).

I am lucky to have both solar and hydro to power my system. I have a small stream on the property with 100' of head that will produce 150w currently (but easily 400w with larger piping). The plan is to run the hydro at night, reducing nighttime draw on the batteries. On rainy cloudy days I can also run the hydro, again minimizing drawdown. I estimate a 25% average discharge on the batteries, and will plan for only one day of both no solar & no hydro. I wish I could depend solely on the hydro, but every few dry seasons the river flow drops significantly and I would not want to rely upon it. I guess that during those times my solar panels & generator will see me through.

My estimated power needs are 4kwh a day (includes a small 1kw/day fridge & a small 1kw/day freezer). Because of my dual powered system I am thinking of a 450 amp hour battery bank (eight 6v batteries). What do you think?

I have already purchased a 6kw Yamaha generator which I hope to hook up to the Flexpower 1 as an autostart gen. I think this is one of the few generators that can interface with an Outback system without some form of additional autostart hardware.

Anyway, let the grand experiment begin!
Cheers!
Outback Flexpower 1 (FM80, VFX3048E-230v, Mate, FlexNetDC) 2,730watts of "Grid-type" PV, 370 AmpHrs Trojan RE-B's, Honda 2000 watt genny, 100% off grid.
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Comments

  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Check out proposed Island system

    Welcome to the forum.

    I'm going to suggest you get a Kill-A-Watt meter and check the figures on the refrigeration equipment. It can be notoriously bad.
    See this thread on 'friges: http://forum.solar-electric.com/showthread.php?12272-Just-how-bad-a-small-frige-is

    A 450 Amp hour 48 Volt battery bank ought to be good for 4.8 kW hours DC; somewhat less after losses converting to AC. I'd think of the hydro & solar as being complimentary; maybe go for a minimal charge rate with the panels:
    450 * 5% = 22.5 Amps @ 48 Volts = 1080 Watts before derating.
    Which brings up the issue of the high panel temps inevitable in the Caribbean. You might want to go for a 1400 Watt array here. That in addition to the hydro could possibly work out.

    I'm not big on auto gen starts myself; too many things can go wrong and then the gen doesn't start.

    Otherwise I think you're on to a winner. :D
  • SurfpathSurfpath Solar Expert Posts: 393 ✭✭✭
    Re: Check out proposed Island system

    Thanks for the nice reply. I realize that I could have been a little more specific. Yup, I metered the fridge at a fraction over 1kwh/day. I still have to evaluate the top-loading freezer (sticker advertises 1kwh/day, we shall see).

    Im thinking of the Rolls-Surrete S-600 as my candidate battery. Two battery questions....

    Do you think my new genny will charge this 450 amp/hr bank adequately?
    Would you recommend a second (to the Outback) charge controller (perhaps non-MPPT) for the hydro charging/load diversion?

    Thanks!
    Outback Flexpower 1 (FM80, VFX3048E-230v, Mate, FlexNetDC) 2,730watts of "Grid-type" PV, 370 AmpHrs Trojan RE-B's, Honda 2000 watt genny, 100% off grid.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Check out proposed Island system
    Surfpath wrote: »
    Two battery questions....

    Do you think my new genny will charge this 450 amp/hr bank adequately?
    Would you recommend a second (to the Outback) charge controller (perhaps non-MPPT) for the hydro charging/load diversion?

    Thanks!

    No worries: 45 Amps @ 48 Volts (full charge mode) is 2160 Watts. Even with the not-so-good PF of the Outback charger it's less than 3 kW, and most of the time you won't need full charging power.

    You will definitely need a diversion controller. Outback only makes MPPT type. The Morningstar Tristar is probably a better choice for this: http://www.solar-electric.com/trts12vochco.html
    Forum member waynefromnscanada has a small hydro system and uses the Tristar to his satisfaction.

    I am personally reluctant to use Rolls-Surrette batteries these days due to problems people have had with new ones and getting the issues resolved.
  • SurfpathSurfpath Solar Expert Posts: 393 ✭✭✭
    Re: Check out proposed Island system

    That's a nice suggestion. Looks like a solid brick with fins on it. Simplicity is beauty, perhaps.

    I will have to check out the recent rep on Rolls (being new I thought they were a prime choice). Will also look into Wyne's system.

    One thing that I am a little unclear on are solar panels. I probably know the least about them.

    When you say "You might want to go for a 1400 Watt array," do you literally mean something like 7 x 200w panels? I'd be grateful for any advice on what you think I should be looking for when I purchase my panels.

    Aside: When designing my house I tried to build it with solar in mind. My panels will sit on a south pointing roof that is slightly tilted to an angle that corresponds with our latitude. Also the proposed cable run from my roof to my solar room will be only 14 feet since I built in a 1.5" conduit pipe down the side of the house nearest to the solar room. I tried to do my best with limited knowledge.
    Outback Flexpower 1 (FM80, VFX3048E-230v, Mate, FlexNetDC) 2,730watts of "Grid-type" PV, 370 AmpHrs Trojan RE-B's, Honda 2000 watt genny, 100% off grid.
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,400 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Check out proposed Island system

    Man I would kill for 400 watts of hydro, 24/7! Living on a 2 acre island,, I got lots of water,, but no gravity moving water. I have been looking t the long rech of the lake for better than 50 years trying to harnes the wave energy,,,

    Welcome to the forum, it looks like you are on the right track,

    Tony
  • SurfpathSurfpath Solar Expert Posts: 393 ✭✭✭
    Re: Check out proposed Island system

    Tony,
    I have to tell you...putting in the 1200 feet of pvc pipes ($$) up a slippery mountain was no piece of cake. Bringing in the materials to build a small catchment was also a sweaty experience. Hydro set up is not for the faint of heart. I realize that solar has its challenges, but a 8' ladder ascent is about all one needs to do. I am looking forward to the solar side of things....!
    Outback Flexpower 1 (FM80, VFX3048E-230v, Mate, FlexNetDC) 2,730watts of "Grid-type" PV, 370 AmpHrs Trojan RE-B's, Honda 2000 watt genny, 100% off grid.
  • tedl2007tedl2007 Registered Users Posts: 4
    Re: Check out proposed Island system

    Congrats on the move.
    We bought property on the Belize River in Belize. Going to there in July to start building our retirement home. I want to put hydro on the river but it is slow moving. I will build a mock water wheel to try and to develop some RPM specs for hydro generation. In my research so far, it looks like I may be able to use a permanent magnetic alternator PMA to generate by using some gear ratios to develop the right RPM.

    Not enough drop to develop a diversion pipeline.

    Anyone have a other ideas?
  • SurfpathSurfpath Solar Expert Posts: 393 ✭✭✭
    Re: Check out proposed Island system

    Per Cariboocoot: The Morningstar Tristar is probably a better choice for this: http://www.solar-electric.com/trts12vochco.html
    Forum member waynefromnscanada has a small hydro system and uses the Tristar to his satisfaction.[/I]


    OK, the Morningstar 45 looks pretty bulletproof to me and Ariz S&W has a good price.

    What about the Xantrex C-40?

    I guess I need to now figure out a method for load diversion. Ideas? Warm up a small tank enough to take the chilly edge off the 78 degree water?? Am I dreaming.....?:-)
    Outback Flexpower 1 (FM80, VFX3048E-230v, Mate, FlexNetDC) 2,730watts of "Grid-type" PV, 370 AmpHrs Trojan RE-B's, Honda 2000 watt genny, 100% off grid.
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Check out proposed Island system

    it seems to me all of your power needs can be met by the hydro. 400w x 24hrs = 9600whs. odds are the refrig and freezer will draw more than you specified, but this will still more than by far cover your needs. solar could back it up, but i suspect you won't need too much there if you opt for 400w hydro.
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Check out proposed Island system

    Hi "Surfpath", received your message :D
    My thoughts? You're a VERY lucky person to have available both micro hydro and solar! More on that later in this note, but first - - as has so often been said on this form, it's far easier and cheaper to conserve electricity than to produce it. Case in point: "a small 1kw/day fridge & a small 1kw/day freezer". I'm sure you can do much better than that with hi efficiency units. My Energy Star (I think 10 cu ft - - memory) freezer uses an average 0.75 kwh/24 hour day, and my "fridge", a converted upright Energy Star freezer, which has far better insulation than fridges have, uses slightly less than 0.2 kwh per 24 hour day. (I have a second older, more thirsty freezer, but that's another story. Haha)
    So what I see, is the possibility of greatly reducing your consumption before you get too far into building your power supply systems.
    That said, the possibility of having micro hydro and solar is awesome! You'd have the proverbial cat by the tail!
    I run my system much like the way you propose to operate yours. Unfortunately I don't have the 100 foot hydro head you have. Indeed, I only have 13 feet. But that 13 feet, along with enough water flow through my CrossFlow turbine gives me what I need to keep my batteries up. Indeed, I have to use things like electric cookers, fry pans etc to cycle the batteries somewhat, otherwise the combined solar/hydro keeps them fully charged all the time. Example, at the moment, it's just starting to get daylight, there is definitely no PV production, the system has been running two freezers + the "fridge" all night, all happen to be off at the moment and the battery voltage is 14.2 - - - - And that's with the satellite receiver and the air exchanger on all night, and now this laptop computer and a couple of lights. Seriously, what more could I ask for? You can be in the same position, or better with regard to electricity supply. I do realize how lucky I am, and often wonder if I'm in some kind of dream, where any minute I'll wake up and find it all gone.
    The lake that supplies my turbine is rather small, so although I've been able to let the hydro run 24/7 for the last 3 winters, summers, and this spring have been dry, very little rain, so on sunny days I shut town the hydro to conserve water. And during an extended dry spell last summer, I had it shut down completely for 3 or 4 days until we finally got some rain. During those days, everything depended on solar and the batteries were cycled without using the electric fry pan :D
    You definitely have a terrific opportunity there "Surfpath". Go for it! And with conservation, your micro hydro may be a lot easier and cheaper than you now think.
    Best of luck and keep us updated.
    Wayne & Bella (My hairy 4 legged Black Lab wife who never gives me a hard time :D:D:D)
  • vtmapsvtmaps Solar Expert Posts: 3,738 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Check out proposed Island system

    Hi Surfpath, I have read this thread and also your thread over at the Outback forum. I would make one suggestion about your proposed setup. Look into buying your prewired Outback system on a Midnite stretched ePanel. The flexpower systems are very compact and difficult to work in. Outback has a well deserved reputation for good customer service (and a good forum). Midnite's products, customer service, and forum are every bit as good or better than Outback's.
    --vtMaps
    4 X 235watt Samsung, Midnite ePanel, Outback VFX3524 FM60 & mate, 4 Interstate L16, trimetric, Honda eu2000i
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Check out proposed Island system
    Surfpath wrote: »
    One thing that I am a little unclear on are solar panels. I probably know the least about them.

    When you say "You might want to go for a 1400 Watt array," do you literally mean something like 7 x 200w panels? I'd be grateful for any advice on what you think I should be looking for when I purchase my panels.

    Yes, some combination of panels that adds up to about 1400 Watts. You have some leeway here as much if not most of your power will come from the hydro. Here's an example array that would work:
    Six Kyocera 235's http://www.solar-electric.com/kykd235wamus1.html configured as two parallel strings of three.
    Array specs would be: Vmp 89.4 (should be enough to provide charging even when hot) Imp 15.78 Voc 110.7 Isc 17.18
    Total Watts: 1410 Potential peak charge current from FM60: 23 Amps, or just about 5% of the 450 Amp hour battery bank
    Aside: When designing my house I tried to build it with solar in mind. My panels will sit on a south pointing roof that is slightly tilted to an angle that corresponds with our latitude. Also the proposed cable run from my roof to my solar room will be only 14 feet since I built in a 1.5" conduit pipe down the side of the house nearest to the solar room. I tried to do my best with limited knowledge.

    At your latitude panel angle isn't as critical because there's not much difference between Summer and Winter. South facing is usually a good idea, but again in your location they'll be getting quite hot. Angling them more ESE might have been better. There should be no trouble with V-drop on a 48 Volt system with only 14 feet from array to controller!

    I had to rewrite this response as my ISP ate the first version when it dropped dead again this morning. I hope I haven't forgotten anything.
  • tedl2007tedl2007 Registered Users Posts: 4
    Re: Check out proposed Island system

    Can you provide a source for hydro gen equipment?
  • SurfpathSurfpath Solar Expert Posts: 393 ✭✭✭
    Re: Check out proposed Island system

    [edit] Sorry Ted, I got your question wrong. Here is a great source for hydro gen equipment:

    http://www.technologydevelopmentpartners.org/apecdb/hydro/hydro-microhydro-frame.htm
    Outback Flexpower 1 (FM80, VFX3048E-230v, Mate, FlexNetDC) 2,730watts of "Grid-type" PV, 370 AmpHrs Trojan RE-B's, Honda 2000 watt genny, 100% off grid.
  • SurfpathSurfpath Solar Expert Posts: 393 ✭✭✭
    Re: Check out proposed Island system
    vtmaps wrote: »
    Look into buying your prewired Outback system on a Midnite stretched ePanel.--vtMaps

    Hi vtmaps. Thanks for the suggestion. I just loked up the Midnite panel, which is basically a shell for various other manufacturers components, but spread out in a nice logical way. Does this already come pre-wired with all the components?

    Solar/DC electrical expertise is near impossible to source here.

    Perhaps I should check out the [URL="http://www.midnitesolar.com/products.php?menuItem=products&productCat_ID=20&productCatName=Factory Pre-Wired Systems"]midnitesolar prewired systems[/URL]? They look cool, but more expensive than the Outback Flexpower modules. Can I afford the former, I am not quite sure.
    Outback Flexpower 1 (FM80, VFX3048E-230v, Mate, FlexNetDC) 2,730watts of "Grid-type" PV, 370 AmpHrs Trojan RE-B's, Honda 2000 watt genny, 100% off grid.
  • SurfpathSurfpath Solar Expert Posts: 393 ✭✭✭
    Re: Check out proposed Island system

    Wayne,
    Thanks so much for checking into my post. I am glad to hear your hydro/solar journey, my friend.

    You said to look at conserving up front. It's the best idea, right? Your "converted upright Energy Star freezer...uses slightly less than 0.2 kwh/day." That's amazing. I don't know if I can conveniently get one of those, though.

    That's because major fees are levied on anything imported. However, alternative energy gets a nice low tax break. So the reality is I have to make sure the system I build is efficient (hydro helps). Energy star is not something that I can rely upon. Perhaps it's because of the more expensive price point for such models?? In the end I will try my best with the appliances.

    I am beginning to realize that hydro is the bomb. When I put in the PVC I did not have hydro in mind :confused: Here's what I installed (roughly): starting from the source 1) 100 feet of 4" pvc 2) 200 feet of 2" pvc 3) 900' of 1" PVC. Looking back it's quite sad. Lots of friction loss.

    However the proposed head is pretty solid. I went to the 3/4" end of my PVC piping today to take more measurements. I got 12 gallons/minute. Yesterday my static head was 80psi.

    To get the est. needed 400watts I have bought a whole lot more 2" pvc. The goal is to run 2" the whole way (I'll have to figure out how to take out the house water, though). I don't know if I will get 400watts, but some of my basic research says I can get close to that. Either way the plan is to install and measure the hydro first before finalizing the solar.

    Neil, I cant rely upon hydro completely, based on our seasonal dry spell. In fact, I only plan to run the hydro at night, or when it is too cloudy during the day for solar.

    At the end of the day I would hope to find that nice balance where it's simple to produce just what I need, and what I need is simple to begin with.
    How bout that?
    Outback Flexpower 1 (FM80, VFX3048E-230v, Mate, FlexNetDC) 2,730watts of "Grid-type" PV, 370 AmpHrs Trojan RE-B's, Honda 2000 watt genny, 100% off grid.
  • vtmapsvtmaps Solar Expert Posts: 3,738 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Check out proposed Island system
    Surfpath wrote: »
    Hi vtmaps. Thanks for the suggestion. I just loked up the Midnite panel, which is basically a shell for various other manufacturers components, but spread out in a nice logical way. Does this already come pre-wired with all the components?

    Solar/DC electrical expertise is near impossible to source here.

    Perhaps I should check out the [URL="http://www.midnitesolar.com/products.php?menuItem=products&productCat_ID=20&productCatName=Factory Pre-Wired Systems"]midnitesolar prewired systems[/URL]? They look cool, but more expensive than the Outback Flexpower modules. Can I afford the former, I am not quite sure.

    Look here: http://www.solar-electric.com/ouinsy.html
    --vtMaps
    4 X 235watt Samsung, Midnite ePanel, Outback VFX3524 FM60 & mate, 4 Interstate L16, trimetric, Honda eu2000i
  • tedl2007tedl2007 Registered Users Posts: 4
    Re: Check out proposed Island system

    I am going for it.

    Thank you,

    Ted
  • SurfpathSurfpath Solar Expert Posts: 393 ✭✭✭
    Re: Check out proposed Island system

    Those units look sharp...but unfortunately I did not see one that'd work. I need a 230v, 50hz system like the Outback Flexpower 1-6 .

    Does Midnite have a similar version that'll work for me?
    Outback Flexpower 1 (FM80, VFX3048E-230v, Mate, FlexNetDC) 2,730watts of "Grid-type" PV, 370 AmpHrs Trojan RE-B's, Honda 2000 watt genny, 100% off grid.
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,182 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Check out proposed Island system

    here is the Midnite MSRP price list, NAWS's prices ARE lower
    http://www.midnitesolar.com/printPriceList.php
    it gives a quicl look at the different packages they have.
    hth
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Check out proposed Island system
    Surfpath wrote: »
    Here's what I installed (roughly): starting from the source 1) 100 feet of 4" pvc 2) 200 feet of 2" pvc 3) 900' of 1" PVC. Looking back it's quite sad. Lots of friction loss. Yesterday my static head was 80psi. The goal is to run 2" the whole way

    I would definitely suggest you leave the existing 100 ft of 4 inch pipe in place. That's 100 ft of extremely low friction loss compared to the same 100 ft of 2 inch pipe.
    I had to go 200 ft to get my 13 ft of head. Initially I used 4 inch pipe, and got roughly 60 watts out of the turbine. Knowing I had to have serious friction losses, I doubled the pipe to two parallel runs of 4 inch pipe and got roughly 110 watts. After finding that a slight buildup of algie-like matter inside the pipe would noticeably reduce production, and finding it difficult to remove, I replaced the whole length with 6 inch pipe and the output went to more or less 175 watts and has stayed there for the last year. Yes, my pipe is huge compared to what you need, but when one only has 13 feet head, every inch really counts + my system is high-flow compared to yours, so demands larger pipe.
    Why did I start out with 4 inch pipe in the first place? I got a deal on cheap pipe and it was a simple trial and error test to see if I could, with my own construction of a cross-flow turbine, get any useful power at all. I was hoping for perhaps a max of 50 watts - - if I was lucky. With lots of learning and tweaks, and less water flow, that initial 60 watts grew to 175 watts, which, combined with solar, gives me power to waste. Yes, I could increase the nozzle opening, get higher flow and thus more watts, but then I'd be running out of lake water during dry spells, and I don't really need any more power. Oh it would be great to have 800 or 900 watts, then I could run my mini-split heat pump, but that ain't gonna happen.
  • SurfpathSurfpath Solar Expert Posts: 393 ✭✭✭
    Re: Check out proposed Island system
    I would definitely suggest you leave the existing 100 ft of 4 inch pipe in place. That's 100 ft of extremely low friction loss compared to the same 100 ft of 2 inch pipe.

    Wayne,
    Yes, I omitted that I will keep the existant 4" and 2" pipe. Like you I got a great deal on some PVC (2"). I think once the 2" replaces the 1" I will see much higher flow rates and reduced friction loss. The difference between 1" and 2" is remarkable. At 20 gpm flow you loose 33' (!) of head per 100' of 1" PVC, while you only loose 1.1' with 2" pipe.

    What will I do with all that 1" left over...?:confused:

    It makes me wonder what my actual vertical head is, really. It's very difficult to gauge it from the terrain. From this link it appears that I might have more head (I estimated 100'). If every 1 psi equates to 2.31 feet of head, then -say- 80 psi (the typical current pressure at my pipe head) means I have 185 feet of head (?) But I am not sure if this "psi" is static or dynamic pressure.

    Nozzles: I am thinking of going with two on my hi head, low flow hydro generator:
    • Low flow (3 months/yr, 10 gpm) a 1/4" nozzle
    • Medium flow (6 montha/yr, 20 gpm) a 5/16" nozzle
    • High flow (3 months/yr, 40gpm+) I could connect both.

    I am impressed that you got 175w from just 13 feet of head. I can see why you went to 6". You need to 'keel haul' that algae off every few months. I wonder if there is a pipe cleaner for that?
    Outback Flexpower 1 (FM80, VFX3048E-230v, Mate, FlexNetDC) 2,730watts of "Grid-type" PV, 370 AmpHrs Trojan RE-B's, Honda 2000 watt genny, 100% off grid.
  • SurfpathSurfpath Solar Expert Posts: 393 ✭✭✭
    Re: Check out proposed Island system

    Hi West Branch,
    I looked that the link. Thanks for sending it. Again, I dont see much in the way of prewired 240v systems from Midnite. This was the best I saw [URL="http://www.midnitesolar.com/productPhoto.php?product_ID=242&productCatName=FACTORY PRE-WIRED SYSTEMS&productCat_ID=20&sortOrder=3"]in my range[/URL]. Again, if it doesn't say it's built specifically for 230 or 240 V, I believe I have to be cautious. There is no shipping back the system that I buy. Once it is here it stays. Hopefully working for a long time.:roll:
    Outback Flexpower 1 (FM80, VFX3048E-230v, Mate, FlexNetDC) 2,730watts of "Grid-type" PV, 370 AmpHrs Trojan RE-B's, Honda 2000 watt genny, 100% off grid.
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,182 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Check out proposed Island system

    send a PM email to Halfcrazy (Ryan) here on the forum as he works at Midnite. He will be able to advise of what they have, or don't have.

    good luck.
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • vtmapsvtmaps Solar Expert Posts: 3,738 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Check out proposed Island system

    Surfpath, What frequency will your 230 volts be at... it just occurred to me that you may be needing one of Outbacks export models, and that may be why you are not seeing the model you want on Midnite's or NAWS's sites. Westbranch's suggestion to contact Halfcrazy is a good idea. You also might want to get in touch with NAWS.
    --vtMaps
    4 X 235watt Samsung, Midnite ePanel, Outback VFX3524 FM60 & mate, 4 Interstate L16, trimetric, Honda eu2000i
  • SurfpathSurfpath Solar Expert Posts: 393 ✭✭✭
    Re: Check out proposed Island system
    vtmaps wrote: »
    you may be needing one of Outbacks export models
    --vtMaps

    Hi, yes, it's in my OP that I was interested in a system like the Outback Flexpower 1-6 (48vDC/230VAC). That's considered by Outback to be an 'export' model. I think somewhere else I say I need a 230v, 50hz system.

    But I am at fault, I really need to put out my proposed specs on my "signature" line. Seeing that I have gotten a few components in the last few days, it's needed.
    Thanks for that.
    SP
    Outback Flexpower 1 (FM80, VFX3048E-230v, Mate, FlexNetDC) 2,730watts of "Grid-type" PV, 370 AmpHrs Trojan RE-B's, Honda 2000 watt genny, 100% off grid.
  • SurfpathSurfpath Solar Expert Posts: 393 ✭✭✭
    Re: Check out proposed Island system
    Yes, some combination of panels that adds up to about 1400 Watts. You have some leeway here as much if not most of your power will come from the hydro. Here's an example array that would work:
    Six Kyocera 235's http://www.solar-electric.com/kykd235wamus1.html configured as two parallel strings of three.
    Array specs would be: Vmp 89.4 (should be enough to provide charging even when hot) Imp 15.78 Voc 110.7 Isc 17.18
    Total Watts: 1410 Potential peak charge current from FM60: 23 Amps, or just about 5% of the 450 Amp hour battery bank

    I think I'm a little clearer on the panels now. Step by step. I'd like to focus a little on these.....

    So what I need is enough panels to meet my minimum solar needs, and also charge the 450amp hr batt bank when hydro is not available.

    Regarding the latter, will 1400 in panels be enough to get me by if there is a drought and no hydro? (recap: 4kwh/day) On dry days like this sunlight ought to be excellent.

    I will google "two parallel strings of three" to see what this wiring will look like. While the power panel will be pre-wired, my panels won't, so I will have to learn how to set up the latter.

    The aluzinc metal roof sheeting is going on in a few days time (where the panels will go eventually). Below the metal sheeting the roof is all hardwood. From bottom up: 8" rafters, then 6" tongue and groove planks on top, and then 2x3" purlins which the metal sheeting will be attached to. The wires will then go down the already installed 1.25" PVC electrical conduit which travels through the concrete directly to the solar room.

    I have no idea if there is anything I can do proactively to help with the (eventual) installation of the panels. I am guessing that I will have to drill through my 8" rafters from below and install mounting hardware on the roof above, patching the new roof where I drill through. I also am not 100% sure if my 1.25" conduit pipe is big enough for the wires for 2000w of panels on a 48v system. The pipe was added as a quick last minute thing. I did some basic calculations that day and it seemed reasonable, considering my short run.

    Man I wish I could slow down the build some days and speed up the solar learning curve.
    Outback Flexpower 1 (FM80, VFX3048E-230v, Mate, FlexNetDC) 2,730watts of "Grid-type" PV, 370 AmpHrs Trojan RE-B's, Honda 2000 watt genny, 100% off grid.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Check out proposed Island system
    Surfpath wrote: »
    So what I need is enough panels to meet my minimum solar needs, and also charge the 450amp hr batt bank when hydro is not available.

    Yes. And you may have to be prepared to scale back power power use, especially if you go with a minimal array.
    Regarding the latter, will 1400 in panels be enough to get me by if there is a drought and no hydro? (recap: 4kwh/day) On dry days like this sunlight ought to be excellent.

    This is a good question. How long do these dry spells last? How many hours of sunlight can you count on? Using the Icarus formula we get:
    1400 Watts * 4 hours minimum equivalent good sun * 50% over-all system efficiency = 2800 Watt hours AC. This is slightly more than half your load demand, hence the possible need to scale back consumption (or increase array size). However where you are you might be able to count on 6 hours of equivalent good sun which ends up as 4200 Watt hours AC which would, in theory, work.
    I will google "two parallel strings of three" to see what this wiring will look like. While the power panel will be pre-wired, my panels won't, so I will have to learn how to set up the latter.

    A string of panels is two or more in series (positive to negative connections). This increases the Voltage but not the Amperage. So using a panel like the KD235GX with Vmp 29.8 and Imp 7.89 putting three in series gives a string with Vmp 89.4 and Imp 7.89. Putting two such strings in parallel (positive to positive, negative to negative) increases the current. Thus the array (all panels together) has a Vmp of 89.4 (3 * 29.8 ) and Imp of 15.78 (2 * 7.89). That doesn't mean you will actually get that all the time as many factors (especially heat) affect panel output. Also this will be used with an MPPT type controller which will adjust the "load" on the panel to get the best power output for conditions in order to give the best charging for the batteries (according to its programming).
    The aluzinc metal roof sheeting is going on in a few days time (where the panels will go eventually). Below the metal sheeting the roof is all hardwood. From bottom up: 8" rafters, then 6" tongue and groove planks on top, and then 2x3" purlins which the metal sheeting will be attached to. The wires will then go down the already installed 1.25" PVC electrical conduit which travels through the concrete directly to the solar room.

    Boy I dislike metal roofs! But I also know why you use them there. Up here they are a nightmare. Can't advise on the mechanical aspect of mounting the panels either, as the load and wind resistance requirements where you are differ from the land of igloos. We just have to make sure they're tilted enough to let the snow slide off. Even in August. :p
    Man I wish I could slow down the build some days and speed up the solar learning curve.

    Learning curve so far: 50 years. I'm beginning to doubt I'll ever get that degree. :p
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,182 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Check out proposed Island system

    Surfpath, tell us more about the 2Kw array, make, model, specs. there are lots of configuration options depending on number of panels purchased.

    WRT the panels being mounted on top of the metal roof: I would think about placing a 2x3 oriented same as the rafters, and bolted to the rafters, but between the purlins.

    Question: what are the rafters connected to? In our house the rafters sit on top of the purlins (bottom) and ridge pole (top). Also the rafters support an 8 inch build up (for insulation) that the roof strapping is attached to. The strapping is done in such a way (lattice like) that there is convective air movement when the sun shines.

    hth
     
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  • SurfpathSurfpath Solar Expert Posts: 393 ✭✭✭
    Re: Check out proposed Island system
    So using a panel like the KD235GX with Vmp 29.8 and Imp 7.89 putting three in series gives a string with Vmp 89.4 and Imp 7.89. Putting two such strings in parallel (positive to positive, negative to negative) increases the current. Thus the array (all panels together) has a Vmp of 89.4 (3 * 29.8 ) and Imp of 15.78 (2 * 7.89).

    Yes, I get it a little more. A helpful solar retail person told me last week that "a 30v panel gives you the best value." [30Vmp?]. Maybe it's because of the price point, but maybe it's because it's a popular panel rating??

    I can conserve a certain amount if there is no hydro (this might be every 3 years, lasting somewhere between 2 weeks and 2 months). I also have the 6000watt generator. But to make sure, I should probably up the wattage on the roof a little. Don't you think?

    What would be the next logical panel config if I were to go a little higher? (sorry to use the word 'little' - maybe 400w)? Luckily I have a nice cool, fairly constant, breeze and a light colored roof which should help with panel temp.

    Speaking about the roof. It's a pretty nice, solid walkable deck about 11' wide. No problem with snow(!), but I should mount the panels with ease of removal in mind (in case of wind storm).

    West Branch: I think I get what you are saying about the roof, I should get a mounting frame that conveniently fits my rafters?

    Re. the roof. There is no wood that is not dense hardwood. It's all embedded, reinforced with steel and supported by reinforced concrete. No insulation needed on this section of the roof, underneath is an open breezy space. It's a solid 'deck'. I could mount the whole solar system & batteries up there and it wouldn't make a difference....OK maybe a little..

    I dont have an "array" yet. I dont know yet how many silicone 'surfboards' to throw up there. Cariboocoot is doing a nice job of steering me towards the holy panel 'grail'.
    Outback Flexpower 1 (FM80, VFX3048E-230v, Mate, FlexNetDC) 2,730watts of "Grid-type" PV, 370 AmpHrs Trojan RE-B's, Honda 2000 watt genny, 100% off grid.
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