Needs some help with my solar

At311At311 Registered Users Posts: 8 ✭✭
Hey guys just joined the site I'm a Canadian guy but I noticed the forum looks very helpful in figuring out my needs .

I have recently built a smaller homestead style cabin on my 5 acre lot in Nova Scotia, and i would like to erect a solar aray to power the place .and i am trying to size up the solar system i will need to get. And also what some of the best products to purchase are and which ones are bad . Also would like to know exactly which components i will need for sure and which ones are optional. As well as any other pointers when starting a solar system.

Thanks

Comments

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,825 admin
    edited September 2018 #2
    I like to start with your loads (amp*hours @ xx VDC or Watt*hours per day, AC or DC loads), roughly where the system will be installed, summer, 9 Month, 12 month usage, trees or mountain shading, etc

    Backup genset (especially winter usage)?

    More or less, solar power will cost around $1 to $2+ per kwatt*hour. Or almost 10x the cost of utility power.

    So picking very efficient loads, conservation, and such is very helpful too.

    Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 2,766 ✭✭✭✭
    Welcome to the forum! Very helpful forum, you have quite the undertaking on your hands. You need a good basic understanding of solar power. A few hours with a good Intro to Solar book will be time well spent. 

    You will need:
    Panels
    Charge Controller
    Inverter
    Batteries
    Wiring and battery cables
    Safety Gear like fuses and grounds

    Are you sure grid power is not an option? Solar really is pretty expensive.
    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • At311At311 Registered Users Posts: 8 ✭✭
    Hey man I have not much for worries with price . I have an idea of a starter system I want and I am familiar with solar system in general I jus want a second option and more advice on the in depth details of each component ect.
  • At311At311 Registered Users Posts: 8 ✭✭
    And for the other fellow I would be there 12 months of the year with hash winter conditions from at least December to match an I do have a generator capable of back up power
  • mcgivormcgivor Solar Expert Posts: 3,205 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Knowing the anticipated loads is crucial to sizing, without which nothing can be suggested with any accuracy, even a rough idea would be helpful, an accurate figure more so. 
    1500W, 6× Schutten 250W Poly panels , Schneider MPPT 60 150 CC, Schneider SW 2524 inverter, 400Ah LFP 24V nominal battery bank 
    Second system 1890W  3 × 300W No name brand poly, 3×330 Sunsolar Poly panels, Morningstar TS 60 PWM controller, no name 2000W inverter 400Ah FLA 24V nominal used for water pumping and day time air conditioning.  
    5Kw Yanmar clone single cylinder air cooled diesel generator for rare emergency charging and welding.
  • petertearaipetertearai Solar Expert Posts: 406 ✭✭✭✭
    generally you get what you pay for . Stick with the top players in the market for charge controllers  inveters etc .dont even consider 12 volts . 24 or 48  is the way to go . 5 acres may mean you can do a ground mount PV system, easier in many ways .
    Cost is one aspect of off grid . Being in charge of your own power can be interesting . Where i am i look down a valley , and for the people who are on grid , there are many power-cuts. All lights out except for my house. I've so far never had a power-cut , only a few planed outages for maintenance  , battery replacements etc. .
    I think you'l find it interesting , and this site has a lot a great helpful people to advise . 
    2225 wattts pv . Outback 2kw  fxr pure sine inverter . fm80 charge controller . victron battery monitor . 24 volts 450 ah surette batterys . off grid  holiday home 
  • At311At311 Registered Users Posts: 8 ✭✭
    What are the top players in the market
  • At311At311 Registered Users Posts: 8 ✭✭
    N I was considering 12v at first but why would you say go with 24 or 48v without hesitation
  • At311At311 Registered Users Posts: 8 ✭✭
    As of right now I do have a motomaster 2000w power inverter . Should I use this and base my other products around that after I figure out my potential usage . Also is this mom to master 2000w inverter appropriate for the solar application or is this jus a product used mainly for a vehicle
  • MrM1MrM1 Registered Users Posts: 475 ✭✭✭
    edited September 2018 #11
    If you look at the signatures of some of the people who have posted above,   some or most of them are successfully living off grid.  There signatures give you a pretty good idea of their usage, setups sizes and quality equipment.  But there is no shortcuts here.  Having a good/solid idea of what your daily loads will be in Watt HOURS!  will be an invaluable tool. 
    As to key players in the market.  You really want a company that has a good reputation and who will answer the phone when you need tech support - and you will.  If you stick to Schneider, Outback Power, Magnum, MidNite Solar, Samlex, Morningstar (to name a few in no particular order) you will be in pretty safe territory. 
    REC TwinPeak 2 285W 3S-3P 2.6kW-STC / 1.9kW-NMOT Array / MN Solar Classic 150 / 2017 Conext SW 4024 Inverter latest firmware / OB PSX-240 Autotransfomer for load balancing / Trojan L16H-AC 435Ah bank 4S connected to Inverter with 7' of 4/0 cable / 24 volt system / Grid-Assist or Backup Solar Generator System Powering 3200Whs Daily / System went Online Oct 2017 / System, Pics and Discussion
  • mcgivormcgivor Solar Expert Posts: 3,205 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited September 2018 #12
    At311 said:
    What are the top players in the market
    MrM1 said:
    If you look at the signatures of some of the people who have posted above,   some or most of them are successfully living off grid.  There signatures give you a pretty good idea of their usage, setups sizes and quality equipment.  But there is no shortcuts here.  Having a good/solid idea of what your daily loads will be in Watt HOURS!  will be an invaluable tool. 
    As to key players in the market.  You really want a company that has a good reputation and who will answer the phone when you need tech support - and you will.  If you stick to Schneider, Outback Power, MidNite Solar, Samlex, Morningstar (to name a few) you will be in pretty safe territory. 
    There are many who started with various components from different manufacturers, myself included,  in order to create a system that works, it can be done, very successfully too if the knowledge base is sound, but there has to be something to be said to an integrated system where components communicate with one another. My choice with Schneider equipment was based on price and availability, I initially wanted Morningstar based on experience, but a whole new door was opened, not only are the components reasonably priced, even compared to no name, brands but they are designed to work with one another. Granted it's impossible to have experienced every manufacturers offerings so much information is based on personal experience, Midnight I understand has probably some of the best controllers but, as far as I know have no inverter which is designed to work in conjunction with it. Outback is well established in the field, no personal experience, Morningstar has little in the way of inverters, except small non communication units, SMA is interesting, very well integrated, based on reading, not first hand experience, but they don't seem to have a foothold in the North American market. My best suggestion is to read, read, research as much as possible, it would sure be nice to get it right on the first attempt, if planned correctly it's not impossible...... start with loads, very important. ...very!
    1500W, 6× Schutten 250W Poly panels , Schneider MPPT 60 150 CC, Schneider SW 2524 inverter, 400Ah LFP 24V nominal battery bank 
    Second system 1890W  3 × 300W No name brand poly, 3×330 Sunsolar Poly panels, Morningstar TS 60 PWM controller, no name 2000W inverter 400Ah FLA 24V nominal used for water pumping and day time air conditioning.  
    5Kw Yanmar clone single cylinder air cooled diesel generator for rare emergency charging and welding.
  • littleharbor2littleharbor2 Solar Expert Posts: 1,451 ✭✭✭✭
    +1, mcgivor.  I might add the SMA Sunny Island inverters are rock solid but definitely at the upper end of the price category. Just for the fun of it look them up on Amazon, 

    2.1 Kw Suntech 175 mono, Classic 200, Trace SW 4024 ( 15 years old  but brand new out of sealed factory box Jan. 2015), Bogart Tri-metric, 700 ah @24 volt AGM battery bank. Plenty of Baja Sea of Cortez sunshine.

  • petertearaipetertearai Solar Expert Posts: 406 ✭✭✭✭
    looks like that inverter is a modified sine wave , not the best for some loads .  as for the volts   12 volts at say 100 amps is the same as 48 volts at 25 amps. So voltage drop is less of a problem and cables can be cheaper  .   get a mppt charge controller  this will allow for a higher voltage input and give more design flexibility. Also you can use the ( generally less expensive ) 60 cell pv panels .
    2225 wattts pv . Outback 2kw  fxr pure sine inverter . fm80 charge controller . victron battery monitor . 24 volts 450 ah surette batterys . off grid  holiday home 
  • MrM1MrM1 Registered Users Posts: 475 ✭✭✭
    edited September 2018 #15
    The only reason I did not go with matched components -
    1. I wanted the Schneider Conext SW inverter because it was (honestly) the cheapest I could find in a UL1741 inverter of the size I needed AND it was split phase 240 for North America
    2. I went with MidNite Solar MPPT CC because it had what appeared to be the best communication software/connection of anything else. 

    So while not matched,  the SW and the Midnite play well together do to both of their local area network controls and the ability for the user to deeply monitor the system.  The Midnite classic CC with the WhizBang Jr Shunt adds extra monitoring capability to the Classic CC and is probably the best / cheapest battery monitor system out there.  The combo of the 2 products - SW inverter with Conext Combox and Classic CC with Whizbang JR - give me unlimited control from the comfort of my dining room table.  I can manage,  adjust and monitor the whole system from inside the house.    
    This setup is truly a tweak geeks paradise.
    REC TwinPeak 2 285W 3S-3P 2.6kW-STC / 1.9kW-NMOT Array / MN Solar Classic 150 / 2017 Conext SW 4024 Inverter latest firmware / OB PSX-240 Autotransfomer for load balancing / Trojan L16H-AC 435Ah bank 4S connected to Inverter with 7' of 4/0 cable / 24 volt system / Grid-Assist or Backup Solar Generator System Powering 3200Whs Daily / System went Online Oct 2017 / System, Pics and Discussion
  • mcgivormcgivor Solar Expert Posts: 3,205 ✭✭✭✭✭
    At311 said:
    As of right now I do have a motomaster 2000w power inverter . Should I use this and base my other products around that after I figure out my potential usage . Also is this mom to master 2000w inverter appropriate for the solar application or is this jus a product used mainly for a vehicle
    No, don't use the Canadian Tire inverter to base your system around, base your system around loads, first and foremost, you are correct however it is not for a solar application.
    1500W, 6× Schutten 250W Poly panels , Schneider MPPT 60 150 CC, Schneider SW 2524 inverter, 400Ah LFP 24V nominal battery bank 
    Second system 1890W  3 × 300W No name brand poly, 3×330 Sunsolar Poly panels, Morningstar TS 60 PWM controller, no name 2000W inverter 400Ah FLA 24V nominal used for water pumping and day time air conditioning.  
    5Kw Yanmar clone single cylinder air cooled diesel generator for rare emergency charging and welding.
  • EstragonEstragon Registered Users Posts: 4,303 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Midnite is in the latter stages of developing an intergrated inverter which looks interesting FWIW.

    IMO, most of the gear sold by our hosts would be considered quality, well supported product, provided it's used in an appropriate way in a properly designed system.

    I have a couple of the Motomaster inverters. They work well for incandescent lights, and maybe charging phones etc in a pinch, but not much else. I have found they make pretty much anything other than purely resistive loads run hot.

    What is your source of water? Often it's stuff like pumps that ends up driving some of the design decisions (along with total daily watt-hours and desired days of autonomy with no sun).
    Off-grid.  
    Main daytime system ~4kw panels into 2xMNClassic150 370ah 48v bank 2xOutback 3548 inverter 120v + 240v autotransformer
    Night system ~1kw panels into 1xMNClassic150 700ah 12v bank morningstar 300w inverter
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,500 ✭✭✭✭✭
    our host
     has a off-grid load calculator, figure your appliances, and how much they operate per day, and you come up with the battery size needed.

    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 ,

  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 2,766 ✭✭✭✭
    I'd suggest slowing down and doing plenty of research before leaping into everything. There are 99 ways to screw things up. 1 way to "do it right"
    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
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