DIY Home Solar Power System
DIY Solar Power For Home
I live in the California foothills on 10.45 acres. I have a 500' buried power line to my home but every ten years or so we get 6-8 inches of snow and it brings down a lot of oak trees that take out the power lines. It takes them a week to get the power back on. PG+E also shuts off power for as much as 3 days sometimes in the summer if we get a 10 mph wind because they are afraid that trees will down power lines and cause fires, so, I'm going solar.Down at the bottom of my property I currently have two Sharp 170 watt panels on top of my wellhouse that power my Grundfos AC/DC well pump so that's not a home power need.
My home is 2,590 sq ft and my power use is 3.5 kwh a day in the summer (power bill is about $19 a month in summer) and 5.2 kwh in the winter (power bill is $34 a month). I don't have a wood stove so in winter I run the home heater, which is propane, and I use an electric space heater to heat one room. I'm going to install a wood stove so that should keep my power use at about 3.5 kwh a day year round. The front of my home faces due east but there are three gables on the front so that provides three sides that I can place south facing solar panels.
Can I get traingular solar panels? If not, I measured the gables and they will fit one 385 watt Hanwha solar panel and three 100 watt solar panels. That would be 685 watts an hour, or about 8,000 watts on every sunny day, more than twice what I need. Summers are pure sun every day but in winter the solar will not be able to power the home every day, sometimes we get stormy weather for two weeks straight, so, I would like the system to work with the already installed PG+E power.
How many batteries should I go with? What kind? Can they be installed in a metal cabinet in my laundry room with a small vent to the outside? One battery holds about 1,000 watts? Will the Hanwha solar panel wires connect to panels of other manufacturers? Does it matter if the panels have different voltages, 12 volts or 24 volts vs 39 volts?
Do the solar panel wires go to the charge controller, then the charge controller is wired to the batteries, and the battery power cord goes to the inverter, and then the inverter connects to the fuse panel? The PG+E power comes into the fuse panel from the bottom, how does the inverter connect to the fuse box, from the top?
The panels should be spaced off the rooftop by about one or two inches, correct? Can I just use a couple of 2" x 4" wood beams laid flat and screwed into the rooftop and then mount the panels to the two 2" x 4"? That's what I did with the two Sharp panels on top of my wellhouse. Summer days are typically 90 to 100 degrees F. The roof gets a lot of direct summer sun.
If I screw the 2" x 4" into the roof, through the asphalt shingles, and then mount the panels to the 2" x 4" how do you keep water from leaking down the screw hole and into the home, silicone sealant?
I don't really want to spend $5,000 on a top of the line inverter so I was thinking about using a cheaper 300 or 400 watt inverter that I could turn on and leave on all summer. I would have to switch over to PG+E power a lot in winter though but if PG+E power went out for a prolonged period I would have a day or two of battery power. Will the cheaper inverter power be clean enough for the television? What kind of charge controller do you recommend?
I don't have an air conditioner, so there are no really big amperage drawing start up devices. I have a 45" LED TV, a cable box, a big GE refrigerator, a microwave, a desktop computer and speakers, LED lights in the home, washing machine, dryer is propane heat, propane water heater, propane home heater, and my cooking stove is propane.
I'm planning on installing this all myself except I might get an electrician to check everything and wire the inverter to the fuse box. The system I need won't really be that large and I don't want to send excess power to PG+E. They only pay a fraction of what it's worth. Sorry for all the novice questions but thanks ahead of time for any advice.