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Who has solar panels?

Discussion in 'Solar Power' started by johnElarue, Dec 23, 2009.

  1. Dec 23, 2009
    johnElarue

    johnElarue Lovin' The Homestead

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    Anyone using solar panels for off grid?

    I'm about to purchase three, 50watt panels for a project/hobby with the hopes of eventually getting some of the house lighting onto a bigger, hybrid , off grid system.

    If you've got any: What brand, size, batteries, controllers, specs etc?

    Thanks,

    John
     
  2. Dec 23, 2009
    FarmerChick

    FarmerChick Super Self-Sufficient

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    working on buying a solar panel for my water heater.
    neighbor will install it since he does that kind of work, but I have to save up the money first..LOL

    can't help on brand, style or anything yet for you.
     
  3. Dec 23, 2009
    Farmfresh

    Farmfresh City Biddy

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    I have three solar panels that I purchased VERY CHEAP. I think they are around 50 watts. They are STILL in the box because I am really dumb about this stuff. I would like to set them up mostly as a learning thing. It would be nice to have them wired into the house somehow so I don't have to deal with batteries and separate systems, but it is confusing and pricey as well. I am standing by here to LEARN. :pop
     
  4. Dec 23, 2009
    johnElarue

    johnElarue Lovin' The Homestead

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    Hi,

    Thanks for the replies. Same here, just trying to learn. I'm hoping to order them this week, and a deep cycle battery next month.

    Don't think you can wire them to the house though. You still need a battery, and an inverter. I've got a cheap car cigarette lighter inverter that will eventually be the power plug, and a decent charge controller so far.

    Yeah, the real deep cycle batteries are expensive as is the charge controller. At least you've got the panels and can hook something up in an emergency. Do you know what kind they are?

    Here's the basic diagram

    [​IMG]
     
  5. Dec 23, 2009
    Farmfresh

    Farmfresh City Biddy

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    My mistake... they are 10 watts each and by SunForce.

    I know people CAN run their solar panels in such a way as to direct wire them into the house current. I know it takes inverters and special breaker boxes etc... but they can be wired to actually "turn the meters backwards" when solar supplies exceed usage.

    This may be improbable for my small set up and the amount I am willing to spend, but I would still like to understand how it is accomplished. ;)
     
  6. Dec 24, 2009
    johnElarue

    johnElarue Lovin' The Homestead

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    Thanks for letting me know about your panels,

    Yeah I agree a big setup can run the meter backwards of course.
    But our small ones really aren't worth the expense to connect to the grid. I'll look for more small watt grid-tie info.

    Have a Merry Christmas,

    John
     
  7. Dec 28, 2009
    ducks4you

    ducks4you Almost Self-Reliant

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    I'm interested as well, though I've never installed anything more than the "stick in the ground fairy lights." I've noticed that what's lacking in many lights is the power of the battery. Since I delayed my chicken coop building by cheating--made a coop of a horse stall in the barn for this winter--I would REALLY like to go solar on the coop I'm building next year.
    Do you have any advice as to what kind of battery, or, perhaps multiple batteries? We have our generator hooked up to a deep marine battery that is trickle-charging all of the time (to spark the charger.) It runs our boiler with natural gas, in case the lines go down, and takes care of our basic heat and basic electricity needs. Thanks, in advance for the help!
     
  8. Dec 29, 2009
    johnElarue

    johnElarue Lovin' The Homestead

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    I hope some others have some battery advice cause I'm an alt. energy newbie too, but here goes.

    I'm going to go the same route as you with the marine battery. Cause they are cheaper here, and cause I know I'm going to fry one or two in my learning process :p
    If I'm very lucky maybe can get 6 years out of two of them.

    After that hope to switch to Trojan T105's.

    I've been reading up on this stuff for years and am finally getting the chance to get started. It won't be fast or cheap though for sure.

    There's a lot of good discussion about batteries going on at otherpower
    From reading there some people say Walls-mart and Sam's club have cheap deep cycle batteries.

    Hope this helps a bit
     
  9. Dec 29, 2009
    Diavolicchio

    Diavolicchio Contemplation Leave

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  10. Dec 29, 2009
    ScottSD

    ScottSD Lovin' The Homestead

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    As an engineer I have done some research on this subject, but not as much as I probably should do.

    Until they come up with a technology that makes it feasible (because of the cost) I doubt that I will purchase any solar panels.

    And, yes, as far as I know you have to have batteries with an inverter for conversion to AC...that is also a problem as most inverters are not very efficient.
     

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