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Old 12-29-12, 07:58 PM   #1
verdigo
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So. All of a sudden I am into solar power. Im not a prepper per say. Just a person that wants to be ahead of the curve. Long storry short my Dad is attached to an oxygen generator for the rest of his life. Power outages are not very convenient in his situation. Anyway I am here to glean any information I can to make my own power and to conserve as much energy as I can of what I have to buy. I tend to jump before I look so at present I have two Grape 280 watt solar panels, a cheap Chinese 1200 watt grid tie inverter, an autozone 1200 watt modified sine wave inverter, several old car batteries, and a tristar 45 amp charge controller. I am looking to reduce the electric bill and at some point be grid free as much as possible. I also have a Harbor frieght 45 watt pv battery charger kit. I would like to help others going down this road but the blind leading the blind thing keeps me from that at present. I own and operate a Eruropean Automotive garage in Clarksville Tennessee, and have a lot of general technical skills. I am also an A&P mechanic. I am planning two more of the same solar panels, and whatever I need to use them. Any advice at this point would be welcomed.
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Old 12-30-12, 11:00 AM   #2
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A great start would simply be to look at our 60+ energy saving tips list. There is lots of good info to help you get started right away.

Generally it is highly recommended to do a really good job with conservation before jumping into any renewable energy systems. This is mainly because conservation is much cheaper than buying solar panels or wind turbines, etc. However, if you have the panels, you might as well put them to good use!
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Old 12-30-12, 09:08 PM   #3
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The king of solar sites is BuildItSolar: Solar energy projects for Do It Yourselfers to save money and reduce pollution. Gary has done a great job of setting this up
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Old 01-03-13, 12:46 PM   #4
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I have this mornings TS-45 that I got off ebay used. As usual I jumped the gun and am regretting it. As far as charge controllers go I am now thinking a newer TS 60 mppt. I'm gonna ask advice this time. Pros cons?
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Old 01-04-13, 09:08 AM   #5
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The TS-45 is a pretty good model. It will handle up to 45 amps! What is the output voltage of the grape 280W panels? If they are the 36V output, you're looking at each panel only putting out just less than 8 amps (280W / 36V = 7.77A). That means that your 45 amp controller could handle 5 panels. The TS-60 could handle 7 panels.

If you're really looking at a fairly decent system though, MPPT is definitely (IMO) the way to go. You end up getting more power out of your panels which means you need less panels to get the same power output. MPPT is said to give up to a 30% boost in power output. Its not a constant 30% boost, but under the right sun conditions that is what you can get. Otherwise you probably won't get the full 280W out of your panels.

Another thing to note is that car batteries will not work well for a solar setup. They are not designed to be discharged much. They're designed to start an engine and then be recharged. If you deeply discharge them they will go bad very fast. You need what is call a 'deep cycle' battery. Make sure its not a 'marine starting' battery either, it has to be a true deep cycle.
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Old 01-10-13, 05:04 PM   #6
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The panels are 36 volts 7.7 amps. I am going with an MPPT charge controller. Im looking into batteries before buying a controller. The stand Im building will hold a total of 4 of the same grape panels.I would like to wind up with a 2-3000 watts as time and funds allow. A friend of mine owns a forklift repair business and has access to some really interesting used 24 volt batteries. I have not gone to look at them yet, but he said they weigh up to 600lbs each. Anyway Im gonna check the amp hours rating on them to see they might be usable for what I have.

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