Thinking about buying solar panels

Discussion in 'Survival & Sustenance Living Forum' started by Ez2b, Jun 30, 2013.

  1. Ez2b

    Ez2b New Member

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    Hey everybody I don't know if I'm putting this in the right area
    I'm thinking of getting a couple of hundred watt solar panels. 1 for trailer battery upkeep For my camper
    And thinking of doing a tie grid
    Any suggestions or help
     
  2. hiwall

    hiwall Well-Known Member

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    If you only have one battery, I doubt you need 200 watts of solar to keep it up. You want to tie in to the public electric grid? With your 200 watts of solar?
    We need more info if you want suggestions.
     

  3. scottmac

    scottmac New Member

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    The largest wattage panel you'll find @ 12V would be about 135-145 watts each.
    Panels with higher output tend to be 24 or 48v.

    You do not want to hang a big panel directly on one (or more) batteries - you need a charge controller or you'll FUP your batteries in shots order.

    Grid tie? For a couple hundred watts? It's not worth it, the utility pays you at the wholesale rate; it would take over a decade to even get close to any kind of payback, especially when you'd be using a chunk of the power for yourself.

    Check out www.wholesalesolar.com; they have packages for on and off grid. I bought a system from the (off grid); their support was excellent in helping to get the right stuff and not buy more than I needed.
     
  4. Ez2b

    Ez2b New Member

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    Thanks guys I was going to put one on camping trailer that has two batteries

    And then I was going to put one on the house to start playing with but I'm sure I would add more to it down the road.

    So my trailer I'm thinking what size of a solar power box converter do I need
    And keep two batteries up to you think that would keep the batteries charged
    Obviously I know how other things coming to play like how much you use stuff and sunlight
    But for the house what about Tie grid converters.
    I was thinking a bout grape solar panels 100 wattsolar from Home Depot
    They have two different panels one mono and one Polly .
    The mono cell is for $200 and the poly cell is for $128
    I can't tell the difference what would be the better of the two obviously the cheaper one I'm thinking again thanks
     
  5. hiwall

    hiwall Well-Known Member

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  6. Ez2b

    Ez2b New Member

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    Thanks I'll keep an eye on those
     
  7. DFlynt

    DFlynt New Member

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  8. Ez2b

    Ez2b New Member

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    Can anybody explain why they think Home Depot has $100 difference on a hundred watt solar panel one being a mono crystalline and the other one being a polycrystalline solar panel
    Polly is $100 cheaper on their website
    Just confused all the data seems to be the same to me
     
  9. hiwall

    hiwall Well-Known Member

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  10. Ez2b

    Ez2b New Member

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    All great info guys thank you
     
  11. orangello

    orangello New Member

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    I hear the Empire makes the best panels.

    [​IMG]

    Don't want any cheap ewok imitations.

    ;)
     
  12. Ez2b

    Ez2b New Member

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    I think the copper wire to hook that up is just going to put me out of the picture sorry but thank you for the suggestion lol
     
  13. JTJ

    JTJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    If you are using 2 12v batteries in parallel, consider switching over to 2 6v golf cart batteries in series. Works a lot better. I had nothing but problems with the 12 v deep cycle batteries. You can get higher wattage panels in 12v. I had a 185w on my trailer. Multiple panels have to be paralleled. The controller I had would handle 3 panels. I also had a Honda 3000i for power when dry camping.
     
  14. Ez2b

    Ez2b New Member

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    Just ordered one 100 watt Polly Panel
    30 amp Coleman digital Solar controller

    Any special wire suggestions solid copper or braided copper

    Plan on using number 10 or 12.
    Suggestions of using the original connectors are maybe wire nuts
     
  15. DFlynt

    DFlynt New Member

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    I'd go braided because it has the best current carrying capacity, don't cheap out on the current carrying wiring.

    Rather than wire nuts, go with splicing your wiring, then soldering and then shrink wrapping the splices.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2013
  16. Ez2b

    Ez2b New Member

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    Is anybody here do grid tie system

    Got all the parts comeing in for my RV now I would like to start looking into doing maybe the house.
     
  17. ctshooter

    ctshooter New Member

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    For dc power stay away from solid wire. Dc current likes to flow on the outside edges of the wire, so if you use solid there is really only one "edge" where in multi strand wire each strand is its own wire allowing more current to pass and to pass with less resistance.
     
  18. Vikingdad

    Vikingdad New Member

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    I have a 12.5 kW grid tied system on the roof of my house. I had it professionally installed by a contractor. The cost was actually very close to what i would have paid for a kit plus I would have had to do the install myself. Didn't make any sense to do that. That was with some pretty big rebates and credits though. Ended up costing me about $45K. It has been paying off though, and I will see total payoff within 8 years of when I installed it.

    On my RV I have two solar panels. One is a cheapo like you can get for about $50 or so, that one maintains the engine battery, the other one is a 120 watt panel that can power some selected circuits in the RV through the inverter, or it can charge the "house" batteries (6 large 12 volt RV Deep Cycle lead acid cells). The RV cannot back-feed to the grid for safety reasons, but the system on the house does. It runs through a transfer switch so that if the power goes out the system cannot back-feed into the grid, which can easily kill someone working on the power lines. If I want back-up power in the event of an outage I would need to set up a battery pack for the house- something I have not done due to the cost. Even in that case the solar system cannot charge the batteries when the power is out, not unless you were to install a breakout transfer switch which would feed a signal to your solar tricking it into thinking the grid was up. That is illegal though because too many people screw up the wiring and can inadvertently back-feed to a dead grid.

    Hope this all helps. You need to do a lot of homework.
     
  19. Ez2b

    Ez2b New Member

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    Viking

    Did you install your system on your RV yourself?

    The question on the wiring came from youtube I saw somebody using solid copper wire that was a professional and it made me wonder
    Thanks for your reply that definitely helps.
    I have been studying for a little bit I am a licensed general contractor in California
    Really never thought about solar till I had a problem with my RV dry camping once ran out of batteries. in my quest for RV solar I did stumble across some systems for homes which perked my interest.

    I definitely don't know enough right now to do my own install just trying to get a little educated so I know which direction to goto in regards how much power I need help you say I got to sit down and work out the supply and demand
     
  20. Vikingdad

    Vikingdad New Member

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    Where in Cali are you located? I am near Silicon Valley.

    My RV had the solar on it when I bought it used. I am planning on seriously upgrading it in the future since as it sits you can't dry camp without the generator. The RV was really built for the old retired couple who drives to Vegas and plugs in. Got a great deal on it.

    I do have a Xantrex 2.5 Prosine inverter/charger that I am planning on installing on the RV when I get the panels for it. I can use up to 10 250 Watt panels, though that takes up a lot of space on the roof. That will be about $200 per panel for new ones, or I can get used ones cheaper. I saw a complete 2.4kW grid-tied system on Craigslist for $2000 which is a downright steal (its in the East Bay if you are interested! http://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/ele/3914322314.html ).

    The house has one south-facing roof section that holds all of the panels. There are 60 Sunpower 200 watt panels. Two Sunpower inverters handle the load. We had it installed June of 2010 and have produced 43,216 kWh in that time. Here is a pic of the roof. Note that we only have partial exposure due to our location. You will get seriously degraded production from any shading. My panels are wired in zones to maximize the different shading situations throughout the day.
     

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