Skip to comments.Anyone use solar panels? Tips? Recommendations?
Posted on 09/06/2012 3:07:23 AM PDT by djf
Harbor Freight has a 3 panel 12V 45 watt solar power setup for under 200 bucks, and I was wondering about peoples experiences with solar. Any tips on batteries? Inverters? Basic setup?
It takes planning. Here’s a good prepper video to start
Quality is important when selecting a panel. I don’t know if I would get a no-name from Harbor Frieght.
Make sure to keep your eyes open for the readily available coupon that takes the price to $150
PRICE is $12,999 plus instalation.
COSTCO 5170 link:
Please note that this system is eligible for a federal tax credit equal to 30% of the total cost including installation. Additional rebates and/or incentives may apply on a local level. To learn more about solar related incentives in your area, visit:
NOTE: The body of the email response follows: You could fit a fairly large system on your roof, my estimate is up to 10 or 12 KW. What is your average monthly electricity usage in kilowatt-hours, and what percentage of that do you want to cover? Average payback time for a 5 KW kit in North Carolina is currently six years, so that is the size I would recommend in most cases. That system would generate approx. 6200 kWh a year, a bit over 500 per month. Here is a link to that system on Costco, so that you can get a ballpark idea of the cost (SEE my initial paragraphs)>|.
Point of Contact is - firstname.lastname@example.org - 541.349.9000 x 21
HYPE: Grape Solar is the #1 E-Commerce leader for solar PV panels and kits. Our products can be purchased around the world in retail outlets such as: www.costco.com, www.homedepot.com, www.amazon.com, www.pricesmart.com, www.globalindustrial.com. Grape Solar also designs custom systems to meet your unique needs for grid-tied and off-grid applications.
Thanks. Did some Googling, the only coupons I could find expired in Nov 2011
I’ll keep looking, though!
Morningstar Sunsaver charge controller,
Trojan golf cart batteries,
ML Solar for the panels
Thanks! Pretty much way out of my price range, plus, living here near Seattle, I wouldn’t want a major investment in something that might not yield that much.
But with batteries and an inverter and a couple of the kits, I think I could get enough out of it to run a few lights, computers, maybe a tv...
NRA publications always have harborfreight coupons in them.
The Rifleman and America’s First Freedom. Could save you some $.
I have two of these kits mounted on the roof of my hunting cabin. They have been installed for three years now. I have to say that though they are not enough to power a modern electric home that they are more than adequate for my remote needs. I power the four fluorescent lights that came with the two kits, my radio, my satellite radio receiver, recharge the battery in my laptop, and run a small fan off of a single 12V deep cycle battery and a 500 watt inverter.
I cannot speak for the longevity of the panels but so far they are exceeding my expectations. I do have to keep a close eye on the state of charge of the battery at all times though but it is fairly easy to do with the included controller.
100 watt system using GOOD stuff cost me;
85 for the Morningstar controller delivered,
180 for 2ea 50w panels delivered,
90 for two used 6v Trojan 210 AH batteries
I went to a golf cart service/dealer, he had a few batteries that the terminal posts had melted off because they were improperly tightened. Just drilled and tapped for brass bolts. Works fine for low power connections.The ones I got are 2011 manufacture and go for 170 + 25 core charge each new. I paid 90 for two, 50 of which is core charge, so 20 each.
Then there’s wire, brackets, wire nuts, etc that adds up.
So say 375 for a high quality 100 watt system. I can add another 100 watts of panel with my existing 20 amp charge controller, and I’ll snatch up a couple more batteries next chance I get.
I would look at places like http://www.backwoodssolar.com/ who actually know something about living off the grid. They had a good deal a few months ago on American-made panels, I don't see it now. But to get started, look at solarworld or similar quality, then look at some AGM batteries to keep your computers and small appliances going after the power fails. If you want to run more than that (e.g. HVAC, hot water, etc) forget about solar and just get a generator.
Forgot about the inverter. Get a large high quality inverter. Again, backwoodssolar will have good advice on those. I got one of theirs (1000W) about five years ago and it handles a full sized fridge. But my next inverter will probably be 3000W.
That is a very low power setup, probably meant to trickle charge a 12V battery. You won’t be able to run much with 3 - 4 amps. Also, I would think it’s pretty low quality. Try an RV dealer or camping store.
Do it yourself, I did
Magnum ms4024pae 24 volt 4000 Watt/240 volt pure sine inverter $2000
6 175 watt 24 volt Solar Panels, Craigs List $175 each
8 Trojan T105 Batteries $100 each
miscellaneous wire,boxes,breakers... $500
Runs my Well, any lights and TV I want, refrigerator....as is will provide basics plus a little extra. All is needed is to add panels and batteries and will run a modest home,(in progress) add another inverter and more panels and batteries and will run an average size home.
I’m thinking more now a sort of “try-before-you-buy” deal where I start out smaller and learn from my mistakes..
I mean things like if I had solar panels, where exactly would I even mount them?
Good advice, though. Thanks.
The bigger the inverter, the more power it consumes. Best to size your converter to about 120% of your planned load.
I went el cheapo with the inverter (harbor freight) cause they’re super common consumer type item that’s easily replaced, not really part of the core system.
Think I paid 30 for the 400/800w Harbor freight unit.
200w system will run 2 computers about 5-8hrs a day assuming good sun. Gotta get in the habit of turning them off when your not using them.
“6 175 watt 24 volt Solar Panels, Craigs List $175 each”
Good deal on the panels.
Why did you need the true sine inverter?
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