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jjackstone 06-26-18 01:46 AM

Best price ever.
After searching CL for a couple years I finally found the deal that hit my price criteria. They don't get much less expensive than this. Bought 10 JinKo solar 310 watt panels for $500. So 3100 watts. Originally he was asking $75/panel and I just decided to throw out what I considered a nonsense number. Could not believe it when he said yes. They are a couple years old but almost unused as they were originally intended for a large solar installation. They all had minor flaws. Mostly cosmetic but a couple panels have scraped surfaces that I think should buff out easily. Apparently they were headed to the trash bin and the guy I got them from saved them from death.

Now the problem. I hadn't planned on doing anything with solar electric until next year as I'm working on solar heat this year. Don't really want to connect up to the local utility in the near future so I think the next step will be to start searching for either a Leaf or Volt battery pack to tear down. I plan on building a couple electric velomobiles over the next year so I can use the panels to charge the battery packs for the velos. I do have 1kwh of LifePo4's laying around right now so I could just turn those into a couple 500 whr packs also. Sorry for the rambling. You probably won't see much else from me in this post for a while as I already have too much on my plate. Just excited to share the price level on the panels.

pinballlooking 06-26-18 09:02 AM

That’s a great deal.
I would look at installing them right away grid tied for now.
The sooner the better.
Solar is great but it makes a few dollars a day and it just takes time to add up.
The sooner they start making money the better.
Go to PV watts and see how much money you are losing each day they are not making power for you.

oil pan 4 06-26-18 03:18 PM

That's around half the lowest price I normally see for panels like that.

jjackstone 06-29-18 02:20 PM

Yes. Very fortunate on this buy. That's why I bought before I was really ready for them.

"Solar is great but it makes a few dollars a day and it just takes time to add up.
The sooner they start making money the better.
Go to PV watts and see how much money you are losing each day they are not making power for you."

I average less than $30/month for electric(and that is split between two people). I know it would pay a portion back but then I would have to follow someone else's rules to connect up to the utility. I know enough about electricity to build a safe and usable standalone system when the time comes. Also there is still the minimum monthly fee of about $20/mo as far as I know. But I should double check and see if that's true if I have solar installed. Thanks for the thought though.

jjackstone 10-11-18 11:04 AM

Finally getting ready to do something with all the clutter laying around. I talked about the Volt battery I bought in a different post. Now I have separated it into 8 x 48 volt, 2 kwh battery packs. I already have a Victron charge controller. Most of what I need now is the electrical equipment to put everything together. That would be circuit breakers, enclosures, wiring etc. However I am still trying to choose an inverter. Do any of you guys have experience with Aims or Sigineer? I have read great reviews and terrible reviews about the Aims inverters including that they are not true sine wave. I've seen people say that the Sigineer is just a repackaged Aims. Any thoughts?

Eight pack of Volt cells.


Tiger86 03-26-19 09:01 PM

buy solar panels from china
Is anybody interested to buy solar panels from China? Leeka corp. is the best choice.

creeky 06-13-19 06:50 AM

Are you still working on this jj?

For the Volt packs I would recommend using a basic inverter. I like the CNBOU line. And then use a programmable charger or power supply to charge the batteries if necessary.

In a budget install it would save some trouble.

And with a pack of 8 modules. Do the BMS. The price is dropping for reliable equipment.

jjackstone 06-13-19 08:56 AM

Yep, I'm still slowly working on this project. I bought a super cheap Chinese 3Kw inverter just to play with until I decide to buy enough equipment to be able to go off grid completely. Found an old steel box on CL to use as a battery box for $30. Currently building a cabinet for the electronics. If I got real busy on it I probably could finish up in just a few days. But I'm leaving on vacation in two days so it's not a priority at the moment. I'll update photos and the build when I finally complete it.

jjackstone 08-10-19 03:26 PM

Hey! I'm back. Well screwed around taking my time on this for months and finally got it more or less done. Installed the panels I think back in December. There are 8- 310 watt panels so if needed they could provide around 2500 watts of power max.

Found this steel box to house my batteries on CL for $30. It was kind of beat up with a fair amount of surface rust but none too deep. Sooo..

A $10 can of Rustoleum and she's good as new.

The Volt batteries fit nicely and leave enough room for cabling and circuit breakers. Eventually I'll
strap those batteries down.
And now they are wired up.

Well all those wires had to go somewhere and here it is before the wire run. The charge controller is a Victron that can handle up to 5800 watts with a 48 volt output to match up the the 48 volt Chevy Volt battery packs. I over sized it on purpose because next year I expect to double the size of the system.

Here is what it looks like all wired up. The smaller wires coming in from the top left are ten gauge from the panels and they get combined through the three breakers on the left. Max voltage can be a bit over 200 v. The larger 2 gauge wires on the lower left go to and from the battery pack. The breaker on the right of the din rail is the shutoff coming from the batteries going to the inverter. This is just a cheap $300/3000 watt inverter for the time being because that is all I really need at this time.

The cable run between the battery box and the control box was really simple. Inch and a quarter pvc conduit and a couple LB's. However that was a pretty tight fit so next time I go up to at least inch and a half.

For the first few days of testing I just ran an extension cord into the house which can be seen coming out the left side of the control box. Oh yeah,the control box was free too so no cost lost there. Except I do have to cut some wood for a front door for it. For a more permanent wire run into the house I used half inch emt shown coming out of the right side of the box. That goes into a pre-existing opening that I remove the outlet from and then placed a new outlet inside the house. We have pretty low electrical usage here at the house so I am only powering the high use appliances. In our case that would be the refrigerator(1.5-2.0 kwh/day), my television(.5 to 1 kwh/day) and the same with my room mates tv. Additionally I have begun doing all electrical cooking at the inverter location(coffee, blender, rotisserie, and veggie steamer. Our normal usage is between 7 and 9 kwh/day. Now that the solar is in use our utility usage is between 3 and 6 kwh/day.

If I hadn't mentioned it, this is a stealth off grid system. So, not feeding into the utility grid at all. I know that many people think that we should be grid tied so we can sell our excess power to the local utility but I am a fan of Jack Rickard (video link later) in this respect. I don't want to sell my energy to the power company at a rate they get to dictate. Our bill will be low enough that for the most part it will be below the minimum charge per month of around $20. For $20 per month I don't mind using the power company as an energy backup. Also in California the utilities have to give us some sort of climate change credit twice a year that will somewhat negate that $20/month fee. Our last climate credit was $53 and the one before that was around $70. It's due again in October.

Right now I probably have around $4000 into the build and by the time I get done it will likely be double that. But I expect to have 50 kwh of battery pack and a total of about 5 kw of panels. Then what I'll do is install a 200 amp manual transfer switch so I can turn off the utility power feed when I want. My guess is I wouldn't need them more than a few time a year. Then again, I might just get a backup generator and go off grid completely. Back to economics. I know I will never get the cash back that I have put into this thing. I simply manage our energy usage well enough that our bills here are extremely low in the first place. But everybody needs a hobby and one of my hobbies is taking money away from the utility companies. Hell, I've spent more money on my bicycles in the past ten years than I will have total on the solar install by the time I'm done. How much do you guys spend on your other hobbies?

The Jack Rickard video link.


Daox 08-10-19 11:27 PM

Very nice! Thanks for catching us up on the project.

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