my system

xpflyrxpflyr Registered Users Posts: 17
Hello all. I'm new to this but diving right in.
I'm going to buy these items for a 2880 watt system.

1- Mitsubishi 180 watt, PV-MF180UD4, 16 panels.
2- Xantrex XW MPPT 60 Amp Solar Charge Controller
3- Xantrex XW4024-120/240-60 Hybrid Inverter
4- I am getting locally, 2, 750 AH fork lift batteries, 12 volts, to be wired in series for 24 volt.
I may add a wind generator to the system.

I know I need the disconnect box, breaker box, etc,,,.
PLEASE, any thoughts from those that know on this?? Thanks in advance.

Comments

  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,025 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: my system

    Fire, Ready, Aim.....

    Be aware that forklift batteries (especially used) are not very efficient. Their chemistry is designed to make a rugged cell that can be banged around. They have a higher self-discharge loss, and a higher boiling rate, making them more thirsty than other deep cycle styles. (in a warehouse, with lots of "free" power for charging)

    Have you used the online Xantrex Sizer Calculator for your panels & charger ?

    Have you considered a 48V system vs the 24V system (harder to get 48V fuses though) would give you a lot more capacity.
    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 ,

  • xpflyrxpflyr Registered Users Posts: 17
    Re: my system

    I read so much on the subjects that I feel lost more than ever.
    I've read that the fork lift batteries are the best to use if you can afford them.
    These are new. Should I reconsider this?

    I tried the size calculator. Made me feel dumb as I couldn't understand it.

    48 volt system. I thought about it but don't know if the advantages are worth it. Being this is a new system, I haven't bought anything yet, is the 48 volt the way to go for sure??

    Thanks for your reply!
  • WindsunWindsun Solar Expert Posts: 1,164 ✭✭
    Re: my system

    Forklift batteries are neither best or worst. They are just different.

    They are slightly less efficient and have a higher self discharge rate, but they can also take some tremendous abuse due to their very thick plates.
  • xpflyrxpflyr Registered Users Posts: 17
    Re: my system

    If you were to start off with a system in this price range, 20K or so, what would you get. I need to mount the system on the ground. I have plenty of room, 5 ac southern view, and would build my own ground mounts.

    Keep in mind I want to be both on and off grid capable with the ability of using wind some day as well.

    Thanks for your help and reply!
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 28,167 admin
    Re: my system

    X,

    Which size calculator are you confused about... There are ones for Wire Gauge, MPPT vs solar panel strings, and for calculating solar power based on your location and system setup... (and it is very easy to be confused by all of them).

    Regarding your system requirements to support both Grid Tied and Off-Grid operation... Take a look at the Xantrex XW line. Will do everything you want with standard setup (no fancy wiring/configuration required). Plus, it can be connected directly to an AC backup generator. Basically, makes your home's electrical grid a giant UPS.

    And, in any case, if you are going with some sort of Grid Tied system--you will need the help of a licensed electrician who has solar experience (or is willing to work with you and learn).

    It is more expensive to contract the job out to a turn-key installer--but, it is almost required if you have no experience with the NEC code/building dept/solar/utility requirements.

    And, in many cases, if your local inspectors also don't have much experience--a "local solar expert" working with you can resolve many issues.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 28,167 admin
    Re: my system
    xpflyr wrote: »
    If you were to start off with a system in this price range, 20K or so, what would you get. I need to mount the system on the ground. I have plenty of room, 5 ac southern view, and would build my own ground mounts.

    Keep in mind I want to be both on and off grid capable with the ability of using wind some day as well.

    Thanks for your help and reply!

    $20k--with good rebates (NY looks like it may have quite high solar rebates), you can get a 3-4+kW system which could offset around 4-5,000kWhrs per year...

    If you want off-grid capable--you may get less rebates overall (battery/off-grid costs are generally not eligible for rebates)--you might get a system with 1/2 the kWhrs/year ability.

    Wind--well, build out your solar system first--then look into adding wind as a backup--around here, wind is at the very bottom of the list of RE... Very unpredictable output (don't know output until you spend money and install), poor long term output--because of site/poor turbine performance/downtime, and just plain expensive to install a tower and service/repair turbines.

    Per the Massachusetts Small Wind Report 2008, it appears that the typical professionally designed and installed wind turbine is pretty much a waste of money--from the report, out of 20-30 installations, perhaps 2-5 or so produced anywhere near useful amounts of power (for the money expended)--they are recommending to discontinue the Wind Rebate program for now.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • xpflyrxpflyr Registered Users Posts: 17
    Re: my system

    Bill, I had an approved installer for a system. The only way you can get the State rebate here in NY is if one of these chosen installers does the job! His price was basically the rebate plus the equipment he wants to sell you. Anyway it came out to no incentive at all for the system I wanted. He would make out great though!
    I actually want to do the work. I'm retired, a pilot who has built my own plane. I have wired three of the homes I built, complete from the pole down so I'm confident I can do it. There is just so much to choose from! Thanks for the reply!
  • xpflyrxpflyr Registered Users Posts: 17
    Re: my system

    Oh yeah Bill, I had trouble with them all.
    Have to learn the abbreviations!
    I put in a 4000 watt inverter and if I read the results correctly, it wanted me to install 2 strings of 16 panels!
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 28,167 admin
    Re: my system

    Don't know which specific inverter or panels you used... But for Grid Tied inverter systems, typically you aim for around 200-550 volts DC (mfg and models have specific limits--always read the specs.)... So, use a 30 Vmp panel and you are getting up there towards 16 panels...

    You can aim towards 250-300 VDC--inverters are slightly more efficient, but you will need more "copper" to run the higher currents... You can aim towards 500 volts and use 1/2 the copper--but get a percentage point or so more losses of switching losses at the inverter...

    Generally, I aim somewhere round the low middle... Inverter stays efficient, during hot weather the inverter will still have enough voltage to operate. And if you have snow/very cold weather--you are never in danger of over voltaging the inverter (voiding warranty and possibly damaging your inverter).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,311 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: my system

    xp,
    out of curiousity, was your initial list of solar equipment for a battery backed system what your installer proposed or what you came up with? using a 24v battery system and that many pvs, you will find that you'll need more than 1 xw controller for when downconverting by a factor of 2 the output current will go up by roughly the same factor of 2. for a 48v battery system the controller will handle more overall power as the current limit on the xw cc will stay the same no matter if 12v, 24v, or 48v.
  • xpflyrxpflyr Registered Users Posts: 17
    Re: my system

    Neil, the installer didn't want to hear about my need for a battery back up. He was insisting on just a grid feed and if I wanted a backup, use a generator.
    I can't get the host of this site to lay out a design.
    For some reason they don't respond to my emails or when they do, it's usually brief and incomplete answers.
    I realize I'm learning as I go and many question must be repetitious for them but hey, you have to start some where.
    You think someone could just say, get ? many panels and this inverter and this battery and this controller and here is the wiring diagram!

    So I'm getting the idea a 48 volt system is the way to go. I may be slow but I don't give up easily. Thanks Neil! PS, what else should I get?
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,025 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: my system

    Exactly how often do you loose power, and would a small generator keep the medical supplies in the fridge cool ?

    If you only have a few short blackouts, skip the BIG extra expense of batteries, and get a $1,000 generator.

    If power is out weekly for a couple of hours at a time, then maybe a battery is a way to go
    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 ,

  • xpflyrxpflyr Registered Users Posts: 17
    Re: my system

    Mike I have a generator. That's not why I want battery back up. Soon batteries will be very efficient. Very clean and quiet.
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,311 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: my system

    ok then, answer the question and state why you want backup and what will be backed up and we will give our opinions for whatever it's worth.
    i've edited to add that i'm really stumped why you want battery backup after reading your post #11 in this thread, http://forum.solar-electric.com/showthread.php?t=3242
    some do a ready, fire, aim thing, but this is impressing me as fire, ready. please explain.
  • xpflyrxpflyr Registered Users Posts: 17
    Re: my system

    Sorry you're confused about why I want battery back up. While I don't lose power often, it does blink off a lot. Why, no one seems to know. I lose my computer, have to reset those stupid clocks, listen to my wife yell etc.
    I have a deep well pump, that I want to operate if grid failure happens. 1 Hp. It surges to 3000 watts. Stays on for 2 minutes.

    I use on avg. 700KWH a month.

    I heat with oil. I would like to, some day, be able to supplement the oil heat (hot water) with electric solar/battery storage. I know this uses a lot of power but it's something I would like to work up to. I may add wind generators as I have a good location for that as well, thou my first project will be solar.

    My house faces 160-170 deg. south. I have a huge roof area with no obstructions and a 7 in 12 pitch.

    Thanks Neil, I do appreciate your help and in-put.
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,025 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: my system

    Roof top solar thermal collectors for your hot water and maybe hydronic heating needs.

    You have already insulated, weathersealed and such - right ?
    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 ,

  • xpflyrxpflyr Registered Users Posts: 17
    Re: my system

    Here's the problem with solar collector and such.
    I have in slab, radiant heat and passive solar.
    My house is such, that in the day light heating season, the sun shines in and it hardly ever calls for heat. Then at night that's when the slab cools off usually calls for heat at 1 AM or so and hot water is circulated in the floor. 5 zones each with a circulator pump, very efficient pumps. Water is distributed only where and when it's needed.
    BUT
    How do you store enough hot water, 120 degs.+ to last into the morning hrs? This is the problem with a normal constructed home. Hay bales and other materials being not normal. It's well insulated but when you need hot water the sun isn't shinning, thus the need for large battery back up if you intend to heat water with electric as I do. The larger battery bank, the better. I plan to install a 2000 watt heating element 120 volt, in my 50 gal water heater. We'll see how long that takes to drain the batteries and go from there. I know you can calculate about how long but there are so many factors that real working conditions would be best. So there you have it.
    What say you??
    Thanks, Don.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 28,167 admin
    Re: my system

    Electric heat from solar/battery is horrendously expensive... Lots of solar panels and lots of batteries (which need replacement every 5-10 years or so)... Usually works out to over $1.00 per kWhr for off-grid solar--because of battery costs and loss of efficiency (excluding cost of money).

    If you go with grid tied solar--Add time of use and net metering--you can get your electric costs why down. In my case, I generate much of my power at $0.27 per kWhr and buy my power back at night for $0.09 per kWhr.

    It is probably easier to store hot water in an insulated tank. You can read about the "solar shed" project. Lots of ideas and data for a home made system (only the copper collectors themselves were store bought).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,025 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: my system
    xpflyr wrote: »
    What say you?? Thanks, Don.

    I say, really look at that Solar Shed link.

    Heck, you HAVE the hard part done, the water in the slab. You just need storage for the heat. Store it as heat, not at electricity. I can't stop you from installing PV's at horrendous prices, and a humongous battery bank that won't last more than an hour trying to heat the slab.
    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 ,

  • xpflyrxpflyr Registered Users Posts: 17
    Re: my system

    Yeah, I know it would be cost prohibitive to heat water with solar electric. That's why I wanted to be on the grid, to net meter and build up some surplus then at night give it back and hope I can generate as much as possible with storage of whatever battery supply I have.
    I wanted to stay away from building anything else like that solar shed.
    I can't see going wrong with using whatever energy I have stored in my batteries, as long as I can charge them back the next morning.
    Is this thinking wrong?
    You make a lot of sense with the net metering. Or should I say cents.
    Thanks Bill!
  • xpflyrxpflyr Registered Users Posts: 17
    Re: my system
    mike90045 wrote: »
    I say, really look at that Solar Shed link.

    Heck, you HAVE the hard part done, the water in the slab. You just need storage for the heat. Store it as heat, not at electricity. I can't stop you from installing PV's at horrendous prices, and a humongous battery bank that won't last more than an hour trying to heat the slab.
    How do you store the heat without spending big bucks?
    Please, I'm really open to all ideas!
    edit,
    That solar shed would not store the hot water for when its needed most, between 1 and 6 in the morning. Once throu the slab and it's spent.
    Water into the slab is 120 degs. comes out at 75.
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,025 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: my system
    xpflyr wrote: »
    That solar shed would not store the hot water for when its needed most, between 1 and 6 in the morning. Once throu the slab and it's spent.
    Water into the slab is 120 degs. comes out at 75.

    The "Shed"
    better link : http://www.builditsolar.com/Projects/SpaceHeating/SolarShed/solarshed.htm
    as shown, has a 500G tank in it. With instructions on how to build a tank.
    http://www.builditsolar.com/Projects/SpaceHeating/SolarShed/Tank/Tank.htm
    If you install collectors on your roof, and a tank in the basement or a shed out back, the water tank will store heat better than a battery bank.

    "Solar Shed -- Thermal Storage Tank
    This section shows the construction of the 500 gallon water tank that stores about one days worth of heat output from the 240 sqft of Solar Shed collectors. The tank is capable of storing about 75 KWH of thermal energy."

    You have to heat your water up to 200 in daytime, and that will keep the slab warm all night. (at least in SW Montana it works for Gary)

    Thermal collectors are several times more efficient than PV collectors, and will charge the water tank faster than the PV would.

    You need to heat the slab up to 75F before hand, you can't heat a cold slab, it should have 20 hours or so, of thermal mass. If you have it hot & cold daily, you may crack it. A steady heat is needed with slab mass.
    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 ,

  • xpflyrxpflyr Registered Users Posts: 17
    Re: my system

    Very interesting Mike. Thank you!
    Ah, The Mother Earth News. I remember that when it started in the 70's! Yikes!
    A few things that are different for me thou.
    I would require a permit and be paying a yearly taxes on the shed.
    I have an " open " loop heating system. Meaning I bring in domestic water into the heating loop before it enters my water heater. I would have to change my system to a closed loop, add a mixing valve, do all sorts of other changes.
    My system works so well now as far as slab heat distribution and economy, I would hate to mess with that. I would rather just leave it as is and be happy with any plus from the PV electric. If that meant little effect on my use of oil consumption then so be it.
    I would still benefit from the PV system as you do and when battery tech becomes better, which I'm sure it will very fast now, I can update the system then.
    So for now, I just want a design for a system as my first post request.
    I'm still waiting for one from someone, anyone!
    Up to 4000 watts, what make PV cells, volts.
    Controller, make
    Inverter,
    other stuff, disconnect box, etc.
    wiring schematic. Strings?
    Thanks Mike! Really. I enjoy this.
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,108 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: my system

    In short, storing heat in water is (relatively) cheap. What you need is a way to get the heat into the water, and ENOUGH water to hold the amount of heat you need. If memory serves, 1 lb of water holds 1 btu/per degree F. So if you have 1 gallon of water you have 11 btus per degree F. Do a calculation and see how many btus you need to collect on an average day. It is orders of magnitude cheaper to collect hot water from the sun rather than using PV and batteries to heat it! Solar collectors for hot water range from the simple homemade flat plate collector, to fancy evacuated tube systems, and a lot of stuff in between.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that the less delta T (the difference between inlet temp and out let temp) you can have, the more efficient it will be. Also, unlike domestic hot water, you can run a hydronic system at lower temps, as you are trying to heat the room to say 70f rather than your shower to 110f. Lower operating temps will make a system run more efficiently as fewer btus will be lost through out the system. (I'm sure, not being a hydronic heating expert, that there are people out there that can give a better idea of what operating temp would be acceptable for hydronic heating.

    In short, gather the heat, store it in as big a tank as you can, insulate the hell out of it, (unless you want (and calculate) the heat loss into the the heated space.

    Icarus
  • xpflyrxpflyr Registered Users Posts: 17
    Re: my system
    niel wrote: »
    ok then, answer the question and state why you want backup and what will be backed up and we will give our opinions for whatever it's worth.
    i've edited to add that i'm really stumped why you want battery backup after reading your post #11 in this thread, http://forum.solar-electric.com/showthread.php?t=3242
    some do a ready, fire, aim thing, but this is impressing me as fire, ready. please explain.
    Waiting for your opinion as to what equipment you would get for the system I want. Thanks,
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,025 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: my system

    Storing heat via PV electric/battereis, is not the way to go.

    For the least losses, look into a Grid tie system, where you have no batteries, and sell 100% in daytime, and at night, suck from the grid. Use the grid as battery. Daytime power is expensive, nighttime is cheap, most areas are looking into time of use meters, 30 cents daytime, 8 cents night, or something like that
    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 ,

  • xpflyrxpflyr Registered Users Posts: 17
    Re: my system
    mike90045 wrote: »
    Storing heat via PV electric/battereis, is not the way to go.

    For the least losses, look into a Grid tie system, where you have no batteries, and sell 100% in daytime, and at night, suck from the grid. Use the grid as battery. Daytime power is expensive, nighttime is cheap, most areas are looking into time of use meters, 30 cents daytime, 8 cents night, or something like that
    The system I want is a grid tie system. It is also off grid if need be. That's what I want.
    That's what I'll eventually get . If not from Wind and Sun Co. then from some other co. Thanks.
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,025 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: my system
    xpflyr wrote: »
    The system I want is a grid tie system. It is also off grid if need be. That's what I want.
    That's what I'll eventually get . If not from Wind and Sun Co. then from some other co. Thanks.

    Just a FYI, I'm an aerospace engr in So. Calif, and not part of the hosting company's sales staff. This is a board of some like minded individuals, with real world experience, and as folks ask, we answer with our views, sometimes with a bit of sarcasm, sometimes humor, sometimes dry english wit, but always with the best of our experience.
    Mike
    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 ,

  • xpflyrxpflyr Registered Users Posts: 17
    Re: my system
    mike90045 wrote: »
    Just a FYI, I'm an aerospace engr in So. Calif, and not part of the hosting company's sales staff. This is a board of some like minded individuals, with real world experience, and as folks ask, we answer with our views, sometimes with a bit of sarcasm, sometimes humor, sometimes dry english wit, but always with the best of our experience.
    Mike
    I have no doubt about that and if it seemed like I don't appreciate your advise I'm sorry. I do. I just don't except it. I want a grid connect system, with battery back up. I don't think that is a crazy way to go even if I'm only a retired construction worker.
    Peace brother.
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