4th post, 1st project

MadJackMadJack Solar Expert Posts: 47 ✭✭
I have nearly completed our new house and we are almost to the point of getting our panels/wind turbine/inverter(s) & batteries.

First off, when we lived in [semi]remote Alaska, power was more than a mile down the road. We lived pretty well off our Honda eb3000 and two Everstart marine batteries from walmart (27 series I think) and a cheap-o 1000watt inverter. (propane fridge)
The Honda runs 9+ hours on <2 gallons of gas and has 12v charging ability.

Back to the project...

House will have
*energy star* 15 cubic-ft fridge,

12 23watt cfl's (may go with some superbright LED's instead & no not even half will be run all at once)

*energy star* washer - 5 loads/week 2.4kwh (using propane heated water)

TV 3 hours per day...looking at new LCD ones

Well pump-115v, max draw 14amps (start up) but we have the space in utility room for 250-500gal water tank, so we can run 12v RV pump from there limiting well pump to when the generator is running.

2 CPU's, 2 to 5 hours per day, 450watt power-supply's (wife's work)

Coffee pot, 10 minutes per day, we transfer it to an air-pot.

If I purchase
10 200watt panels, http://sunelec.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=5&products_id=55

and a 1200w 24v wind turbine, http://www.magnet4less.com/product_info.php?products_id=719 which comes with a charge controller but limits PV panels to 500 watts,

Could I run the above home on this system with a decent battery bank and would I need to run the generator more than once or twice per week if we watched our power use fairly close?

What [real life experience] opinion does anyone have on charge controllers, brand/models?

Could I feed the turbine charge controller output into a bigger/better c/c along with the solar panels?

Which charge controller & inverter(s) would you R-E users recommend?

Enough for today, my head already hurts. Thanks!


  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 9,583 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: 4th post, 1st project

    If the local trees grow straight up, you don't have a good wind area. A breeze does not carry a lot of power. But, if you have several hours a day, of guy wire singing wind, then wind may do you some good. Then you have to find a proven wind generator. AFIK, and others here, most of the generators are junk, and not worth the pole they are placed on.

    You need to add up the loads, (watts and hours) , add up your sources (solar 3 hours @ 600W / wind 2 hours at 900W) and see how far apart they are.

    Batteries should only be depleted to 50%, and most try to only draw out 30%. The deeper the discharges, the fewer cycles they last.

    You should have a propane fueled generator, to keep the batteries charged, sittling less than 80% charge, starts a type of damage called sulphated.

    Consider laptop computers at 50 - 75Watts, if possible.
    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 ,

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,999 admin
    Re: 4th post, 1st project

    First, you need to really understand your loads...

    The TV and PC's are probably going to be your daily killers (plus lighting).

    You need to use a kill-a-watt meter (or equivalent):

    wind-sun_2050_2425819Kill-A-Watt AC Power Monitor Meter

    On pretty much every load you plan to operate from solar.

    The desktop PC's probably don't consume 450 watts continuously--but looking for low power (typically laptop) computers and turning off laser printers (etc.) when not being used will all help.

    Once you know your loads (daily/seasonally), you can use this website to predict how much power XXX watts of solar panels will generate for your location. Note the panel input is in kWatts (1kW = 1,000 watts) and for a first estimation, use a derating factor of 0.52 for an off-grid system using flooded cell batteries and an AC inverter. Leave the rest as defaults.

    You will get a good idea of the amount of power your system will output over an "average" 12 month period (monthly summaries).

    You can play with the numbers to see what works best for you (say, full solar 9 months of the year with generator backup for cloudy periods in winter).

    Regarding battery capacity--we suggest taking your average daily load and multiplying by 6 times. That is based on 3 days of no sun, and a maximum of 50% battery discharge (for long life).

    Regarding wind turbines... I don't have any suggestions myself. I don't have a place to put a wind turbine--plus I have not seen any evidence of a generic "good quality/long life" wind turbine design/manufacturer.

    So--my two cents for wind is find a couple of mfg/models you like and get references--and check them out. Very few people (seem to) have good metering on their wind turbines to know how much power they really generate or very good (i.e., windy) sites for wind turbine instllation--plus home sized wind turbines tend to not last too many years (1-5 years from what I have seen/read?) before they self destruct/need major maintenance (either boom truck, or tilt pole to access the turbine).

    In the end, conservation will be your first (and best) investment... Then sizing the RE solar/wind system to meet those needs.

    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,436 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: 4th post, 1st project

    In addition to Mike and Bill's comments.

    First,,, I would nix the wind idea. Read all you can on this site and elsewhere and I think you will find that it is not a very good alternative in most cases.

    Second,,, nix EVERY resistance heat appliance you can and use propane in it's place. Coffee pot, (Coleman makes a great stove top drip Mr coffee type pot for example) toaster etc. 15 minutes of a 1500 watt coffee maker burns more electricity than half your daily fridge load for example. Every reduction in your loads will make any system that much smaller.

    Third, your northern latitude will work against you in the winter. That said,, cold temps will offset that disadvantage both with colder panel temps,, as well as increased production from reflection off of snow and ice. You are going to want to look carefully at your local micro climate to see what makes sense in the winter.

    Finally, think all your loads through. Your idea of pumping water with the genny is a good one,, if you can add enough tank capacity so that you only have to pump water at about the same time that you have to run the genny for battery charging for example. Look at your laundry. Is it possible that it makes sense to take your laundry to town once every couple of weeks and use a commercial facility? In the summer we use a honda powered wringer machine,,, in the winter we go to town twice a month anyway,, so we take the laundry,, drop it in the machine while we are at the grocery store, into the dryer if we are in a hurry,, or we take it home and hang it out.

    Finally,,, (again) I would not use the 12vdc charging capability of the honda, it is not very efficient, nor is it a very well regulated source for charging. Consider a good Iota or Xantrex TC series battery charger. The TC series works especially well on generator power.

  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: 4th post, 1st project

    what tony says is pretty good advice here, but when i read his comments here, i see how vastly different areas and people can be.

    "Look at your laundry. Is it possible that it makes sense to take your laundry to town once every couple of weeks and use a commercial facility? In the summer we use a honda powered wringer machine,,, in the winter we go to town twice a month anyway,, so we take the laundry,, drop it in the machine while we are at the grocery store, into the dryer if we are in a hurry,, or we take it home and hang it out."

    now don't take any of this wrong tony as this is just to show how the areas and people around us differ. if i were to leave my laundry, the odds would be good that i would have some kind of theft, vandalism, or just find them on the floor as somebody would take the unwatched running machine for themselves. that aside, i wouldn't want to lug that many clothes, bedding, and bath items to be washed after 2-4 weeks worth of accumulation, bad weather not withstanding, as you still have to get supplies like food, soap, etc (buy an suv to haul it all?). your comments may apply to madjack as i can't say for sure his area and the people around him may be like yours, but it struck me funny how wide of a contrast it can be.
Sign In or Register to comment.