small solar system help

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Precision
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small solar system help

Postby Precision » Wed Aug 09, 2017 1:26 pm

I am out of town currently. My best friend has purchased a 100 year old home for his family...long back story. They are in the process of a serious rebuild and I came out for a week to help with demo and some ancillary build work. Saving them many thousands on not having the contractors do the demo...

We are repurposing a screened building into a work shop for him. The current electrical system is SHITE. He wants to put in a solar unit to provide for the lights and small power consumption in this shop. Goal for the solar system is to be able to run several LED shop lights in a 30x18 building, run some local application lights as well as some minor appliances such as a dremel... Real power will be run from a generator as on demand until it makes sense (a year or three) to run appropriate land power to the shop. So running AC, Radial arm saw, drill press and the like will come from a generator for now.

I don't have my normal laptop with the solar sites bookmarked.

I need some sites for buying components for a .75k-1.5k system. Batteries, PV cells, inverters and the like. I want to DIY it to save cash as opposed to one of the buy here pay here rape places.

Thanks in advance.
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MarkD
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Re: small solar system help

Postby MarkD » Wed Aug 09, 2017 2:04 pm

The only solar system help I can offer is:

My Very Enterprising Mother Just Served Us Nine Pickles

Or now I guess is should be:

My Very Enterprising Mother Just Served Us Nuts

:lol: :twisted: :P :roll: :o :ugeek:

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First Shirt
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Re: small solar system help

Postby First Shirt » Wed Aug 09, 2017 2:14 pm

MarkD wrote:The only solar system help I can offer is:
My Very Enterprising Mother Just Served Us Nine Pickles
Or now I guess is should be:
My Very Enterprising Mother Just Served Us Nuts
:lol: :twisted: :P :roll: :o :ugeek:


You're going to Hell for that; you know that, don't you? :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: small solar system help

Postby MarkD » Wed Aug 09, 2017 2:24 pm

First Shirt wrote:
MarkD wrote:The only solar system help I can offer is:
My Very Enterprising Mother Just Served Us Nine Pickles
Or now I guess is should be:
My Very Enterprising Mother Just Served Us Nuts
:lol: :twisted: :P :roll: :o :ugeek:


You're going to Hell for that; you know that, don't you? :lol: :lol: :lol:


If I didn't do that, there'd be some other reason.....

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Weetabix
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Re: small solar system help

Postby Weetabix » Wed Aug 09, 2017 3:40 pm

I have very limited practical experience, but here's a set of articles that looked good to me:
Ground Solar, Part I
Ground Solar, Part II, The Combiner
Ground Solar, Part III, The Charger
Ground Solar, Part IV, The Inverter

Here's some more: A Small Solar Panel Project

And, my first thought on seeing the post title was, "I guess he means a system outside our solar system?"
Note to self: start reading sig lines. They're actually quite amusing. :D

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Re: small solar system help

Postby rightisright » Thu Aug 10, 2017 12:40 am

How far is the outbuilding from the main electric? Might be much more cost efficient to bite the bullet in the beginning and run a trench and wire... or an overhead depending on the situation. Maybe just wire a few 20A 120v and one 40A 240v(if needed) instead of rewiring the whole thing at once.

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Re: small solar system help

Postby Old Grafton » Thu Aug 10, 2017 1:55 am

MarkD wrote:
First Shirt wrote:
MarkD wrote:The only solar system help I can offer is:
My Very Enterprising Mother Just Served Us Nine Pickles
Or now I guess is should be:
My Very Enterprising Mother Just Served Us Nuts
:lol: :twisted: :P :roll: :o :ugeek:


You're going to Hell for that; you know that, don't you? :lol: :lol: :lol:


If I didn't do that, there'd be some other reason.....

"Mother Very Easily Made A Jelly Sandwich Under No Protest" ('A' is for "asteroids"...)
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Re: small solar system help

Postby HTRN » Thu Aug 10, 2017 2:09 am

rightisright wrote:How far is the outbuilding from the main electric? Might be much more cost efficient to bite the bullet in the beginning and run a trench and wire... or an overhead depending on the situation. Maybe just wire a few 20A 120v and one 40A 240v(if needed) instead of rewiring the whole thing at once.

I'd do a 50 amp subpanel.
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Re: small solar system help

Postby Precision » Thu Aug 10, 2017 3:43 am

The end goal is its own 100 amp panel.

His issue is $50k for rebuild on the house After the $400k purchase price, so that is not a current action item and may well not be for a year plus.

The goal for solar is just to run the lights a few days per week. This will keep him from having to run a generator and the gas expense and noise factor of doing so. When real work is being done, a 3k generator will be fired up but that is a huge waste for a couple of LED shop lights.
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Re: small solar system help

Postby BDK » Thu Aug 10, 2017 3:48 am

To run a few LEDs is a very different thing than running tools.

A few lights is a basic cabin set up.

A wind generator might also work

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Re: small solar system help

Postby HTRN » Thu Aug 10, 2017 7:01 am

I think ov installs average about 5-7 dollars a watt. Diy can probably get it down to half that. He needs to figure out what kind of load hes gonna put on there - a single 4 foot led strip light from costco running an hour or two, you can cobble something together with a 100-200 watt panel, charge controller, deepcycle battery, and 1000 watt inverter, doing the same with a half dozen 160watt high bays? Not so much.
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Re: small solar system help

Postby Frankingun » Thu Aug 10, 2017 9:46 pm

Run a wire. And Pluto is and always will be a planet.
Buy ammunition and magazines.

You'll shoot your eye out!

Another blog.

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Re: small solar system help

Postby Weetabix » Thu Aug 10, 2017 10:05 pm

I know that Pluto identifies as a planet. Who am I to say otherwise?
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Re: small solar system help

Postby rightisright » Thu Aug 10, 2017 10:55 pm

Grab one of these: https://www.amazon.com/Renogy-Watts-Vol ... olar+panel

Add another panel or two, two deep cycle batteries and an inverter.

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Re: small solar system help

Postby Precision » Fri Aug 11, 2017 6:15 pm

thanks guys.

Is it worth it to build panels from scratch for the savings or are the premade ones that much more durable reliable?

I am thinking getting 300 W of panels from DIY panels self assembled, then an inverter... and 2 deep cycle batteries run at 24 volt. But will plan out the system better once I get my stuff at home.

This will be a good test case for both he and I. He wants to build a bigger array later for SHTF and other items. Living on 10 acres surrounded by not a lot of residential makes it enticing for him.
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Re: small solar system help

Postby Termite » Sun Aug 13, 2017 11:00 am

How far is it from the house to the shed?
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Re: small solar system help

Postby George guy » Mon Aug 14, 2017 12:57 am

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Re: small solar system help

Postby Precision » Mon Aug 14, 2017 4:48 am

Termite wrote:How far is it from the house to the shed?


from the box to the shed, 100 yds or so.
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Re: small solar system help

Postby blackeagle603 » Mon Aug 14, 2017 3:19 pm

Run as a 12 or 24vdc RV setup?

Shop craiglist and ebay for stray panels. Surprisingly cheap can be found at times.

Battery and controller could turn out to be the largest expense.
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Re: small solar system help

Postby Vonz90 » Mon Aug 14, 2017 5:33 pm

My thoughts on PV (Keep in mind that I am an engineer on the NPV side, not a consulting engineer. However, we make a lot of components that go into PV systems, etc - mostly on the utility level rather than residential, but some of that too.) I do occasionally go vote on the NFPA stuff related to it too.

1. I am mostly not a fan, but it has it niches.
2. I would never put solar panels on any permanently occupied structure (like my house).
3. Putting it on remote or out buildings is probably okay (so your friend's application is potentially okay in my book).
4. Don't go too cheap, some of the crap from China and whatnot is dangerous IMHO.
5. Make sure you put an emergency disconnect that is well marked and accessible or the fire department will let your structure burn to the ground if the see solar panels on it (they may anyway, but at least you have a shot at them doing something.)

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Re: small solar system help

Postby TheArmsman » Mon Aug 14, 2017 6:19 pm

Vonz90 wrote:My thoughts on PV (Keep in mind that I am an engineer on the NPV side, not a consulting engineer. However, we make a lot of components that go into PV systems, etc - mostly on the utility level rather than residential, but some of that too.) I do occasionally go vote on the NFPA stuff related to it too.

1. I am mostly not a fan, but it has it niches.
2. I would never put solar panels on any permanently occupied structure (like my house).
3. Putting it on remote or out buildings is probably okay (so your friend's application is potentially okay in my book).
4. Don't go too cheap, some of the crap from China and whatnot is dangerous IMHO.
5. Make sure you put an emergency disconnect that is well marked and accessible or the fire department will let your structure burn to the ground if the see solar panels on it (they may anyway, but at least you have a shot at them doing something.)


2. Regarding this question, why would you not put solar panels on a permanently occupied structure? Are they a fire or electrical hazard?
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Re: small solar system help

Postby Vonz90 » Mon Aug 14, 2017 9:32 pm

TheArmsman wrote:
Vonz90 wrote:My thoughts on PV (Keep in mind that I am an engineer on the NPV side, not a consulting engineer. However, we make a lot of components that go into PV systems, etc - mostly on the utility level rather than residential, but some of that too.) I do occasionally go vote on the NFPA stuff related to it too.

1. I am mostly not a fan, but it has it niches.
2. I would never put solar panels on any permanently occupied structure (like my house).
3. Putting it on remote or out buildings is probably okay (so your friend's application is potentially okay in my book).
4. Don't go too cheap, some of the crap from China and whatnot is dangerous IMHO.
5. Make sure you put an emergency disconnect that is well marked and accessible or the fire department will let your structure burn to the ground if the see solar panels on it (they may anyway, but at least you have a shot at them doing something.)


2. Regarding this question, why would you not put solar panels on a permanently occupied structure? Are they a fire or electrical hazard?


They are only nominally more of fire hazard than any number of other things. However, unlike most other things there is no way to "turn them off" if something bad happens. The bad thing that happens does not have to be caused by the PV for the presence of the PV to cause a problem.

Most fire men/departments are not real into being electrocuted to death when spraying water onto a fire. By code most everywhere, there is an outside disconnect on your home/business they can open and be safe to spray down the building. If you have PV cells on your roof, they will likely stand back and let it burn because they have no way of knowing that they will not spray something energized.

The emergency disconnects are supposed to cut the power withing XX ft of the solar array (I do not remember off hand and do not feel like looking it up but say 5 feet or something like that). So they can spray without worry. Of course they still may be worried that it is installed right. If they think you have a "Wall of power" battery system or something like that in your house they may still not do it even if it is night time.

The disconnects are going into the NEC in 2018 (already approved and such) but they will not filter down to all of the local codes until somewhere between years and never. Still a good idea if you are installing a system even if code does not require it. (... and the company I work for does not make said disconnects so I am not trying to sell anything.)

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Re: small solar system help

Postby Termite » Mon Aug 14, 2017 10:09 pm

If he stays with a 12 or 24 volt DC only system, electrocution isn't really a hazard. 24VDC systems have an open circuit voltage of about 40VDC, 12vdc systems are half that.

If he goes with high voltage DC to AC grid inter-tie using a phase matching inverter, then yeah.
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Re: small solar system help

Postby Vonz90 » Tue Aug 15, 2017 2:30 am

Termite wrote:If he stays with a 12 or 24 volt DC only system, electrocution isn't really a hazard. 24VDC systems have an open circuit voltage of about 40VDC, 12vdc systems are half that.

If he goes with high voltage DC to AC grid inter-tie using a phase matching inverter, then yeah.


Sure, it would be safe but it doesn't really matter. It depends on the perception of the guy on the scene. Some PV systems go up to 1500 Vdc. Not many residential rooftop systems go up above 48 Vdc or so, but some go up over high enough enough to be a potential danger, and if they are pared to a 120 or 240 volt inverter then you still have 120 or 240 Vac somewhere. If the firefighters show up and say they do not want want to risk it, then the house goes down.

Maybe low risk in the big pictures scheme of things, but I am risk averse to that sort of things, especially considering the marginal benefits to a PV system.


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