Skip to comments.Solar Power (vanity)
Posted on 04/16/2012 1:54:30 AM PDT by killermosquito
With the price of solar panels dropping I have to wonder if I should investigate since I live in sunny eastern North Carolina.
I don’t personally use solar panels because I live in Southwestern Washington State, where we measure rainfall by the foot!
There is a magazine called “Fine Homebuilding” which carries the occasional article on solar power. They are online and one can look up their annual indexes, I believe.
Sounds like they’re dirt cheap, now, if you just shop around:
Price in maintenance and account for the replacement rate. Might make you change your mind. They are definitely not a one and done investment, like a well. More like a car, lots of upkeep.
Solar has good applications but the break-even is usually around 32 years. The panels are the cheapest part. The hardware can get expensive but the real cost is in the electrical system to store and safely distribute the power.
So it has its uses if you are off the grid or looking for emergency backup. Its not a way to save money.
I am looking into a small system to run a dc freezer and a few other items like a battery charger, power tools, etc. in a SHTF situation. The entire system including batteries and freezer are adding up to the $6,000.00 range. Anything less than that is more of a novelty item. Anything more is a waste of money unless you are really off grid in a very remote location.
It would be impossible to store enough fuel for a generator in a long term outage, and even though I have been accused of being full of it, I think methane production would not be sufficent.
From a well or from animals?
Actually Yes I do, On our property that we are getting ready to build a house on, which is 10 acres, the Well is on the upper portion and the house will be on the lower portion, approx 1500’ away. The cost of running power would be around $20k, So I decided to SOLAR power my Well. I purchased Magnum MS4024-PAE inverter around $2000, (24 volt) delivers 4000 watts and 240 volt for deep well pump, then I bought 8 Trojan T105 batteries at $110 each (225AH), then I found a guy on Craigs List that has a supply of USED 175 watt 24v solar panels for $1 a watt (175 each), I have 6 of them. Bought some wire,breakers,panel,conduit,... and wired it all up. Panels are just laying on roof and would produce a little more if angled properly but I didn’t care when I set it up, but may change someday if needed.
The Well only needs to run an hour or so a day so all the extra battery power has enough power to run a fridge,ice maker, lights, microwave, just about everything except AC, which it will run for a while. Also automatic watereing with an extra Water pump for all the fruit trees and veggie garden, I also have a 30; trailer plugged in to it. I ran Power (240v) to 3 buildings off this sysyem and all I need to do is add extra panels and batteries as needed. Could always add another inverter easily also if needed. Batteries are always Fully Charged, Have backup generator to charge batteries if needed. total cost about $6000 for FREE WATER AND POWER FOR a long, long time. Our little Cabin and Trailer are completely Off the Grid and it works great. Batteries will run Well for at least 30 hours straight before needing charging, 400AH system.
Batteries cost about 20 cents per watt hour. If you want to run a 100 watt computer (or light bulb) for 10 hours, you will need $200 worth of batteries. Even at that, this amount of discharge will quickly destroy the batteries. They would probably have about 50 discharge cycles such as this before deterioration would be noticeable.
You would be lucky to get about 5 hours per day of good sunlight. So to run your 100 watt computer for 10 hours, you would need 200 watts of solar panels to produce this. These would have to be angled and rotated during the good sunshine to produce the power.
So, for about $1000 (I'll throw in the inverter), you could run a 100 watt computer in the evening on every day that has really good sunlight, providing you have a good source of replacement batteries.
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