Solar power-plants

I am building a solar charged power-plant for a charity organizations’ school in Cambodia.

The unit will be mounted on a swivel pole to aid positioning and cleaning, (Cambodia is very dusty). This will also serve as a teaching resource.

Using this mounting system will restrict the number of panels per power-plant, although several units can be installed to provide the sufficient number of panels (at the appropriate wattage).

The power needed is in excess of the amount for the school. This is because there are neighboring houses who can be linked to the power-plant and will pay via a meter for the electricity. This creates an income for the school.

The idea is to have an expandable system.

Initially a power-plant which will serves 10 desktop computers, 3 lap-tops, 1 x printer, 50 x (5 watt) led lights, 10 floor fans, and occasionally a water pump. None of which will ever be running all the time.

The nearest house uses 30kw a month and the next nearest only uses only 3kw a month. So an excess of at least 50kw a month would seem reasonable.

I understand that in order for you to make EXACT CALCULATIONS you need better approximations of consumption and wattage. Unfortunately these are not available.

This is a PIONEER SCHEME which will start small and when successful build upon itself. That’s why I need a power-plant just sufficient for the schools needs and the 50kw extra.

This can be achieved from one set of pole mounted panels or more which are linked to each other.

EXPANDABLE: Yes more pole mounted panels can be wired in

But how can the production be expanded without having to buy a bigger controller?

Can additional inverters be added as demand rises? Or would the inverter need to be changed each time?

Or should the design be STANDADISED to have one number of panels at ex wattage, running at 12, 24 0r 48 volt? one ex-number amperage controller and one ex-number wattage inverter (pure-sine wave).

These units can offer electricity independently of each other or can they be wired together, INTEGRATED?

Thanks in advance of your assistance.


  • bill von novakbill von novak Solar Expert Posts: 891 ✭✭✭✭
    I estimate an initial load that peaks at 6000 watts.  (per your rough description.)  That's without any additional homes using the power.  That pushes you into large 48 volt inverters, like the Radian.

    It is VERY hard to design a system that starts out cheap and expands easily.  If you are headed towards a large system start with a large inverter, a medium sized 48 volt battery bank and a generator.  The battery bank+generator reduces your generator run time.  The large inverter supports a large generator and all your loads.  Then as you have funds, start buying solar + charge controllers.  You will likely add one additional charge controller every time you add another one or two pole mount arrays, since pole mounts typically carry between 1 and 2 kilowatts (41 amps.)

    Your alternatives to a single large inverter are multiple smaller inverters; inverters like the Outback FX series can be expanded in about 3000 watt increments.  This significantly increases complexity since you will have to add wiring, protection and communications to get it all to play together.
  • capitanojulianocapitanojuliano Registered Users Posts: 20
    Useful information, thankyou
    I am researching the unit you have mentioned.
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