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Old 05-25-10, 11:03 AM   #1
wilfor03
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Default Solar Powered Backup

I have been working for several months now (when the money allows) on getting my "solar system" together. I've got 140w of panels on an old c-band satellite mount (no tracker yet) with manual actuator control. I ran that into a Sunforce 30amp charge controller down to 3- 1400 CCA Workaholic Interstate batteries (12v). Run it all out to a 2500w inverter. Well, last night here in Alabama we had a hell of storm pop up and knocked our power out. I went out and shutoff the mains breaker, went to the workshop and turned on all my "solar" stuff and started turning on things in the house we needed to have run. One way to do a test run, eh? I had on 1 CFL 20w lamp, the fish aquarium, the refrigerator, the freezer, the 42" Visio, Direct-tv, and charged the lantern. Had all this on for over 2 1/2 hours till the power came back on. I think not to bad for a test run. Still have along way to go yet, but can really see the light (LOL) at the end now!!

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Old 05-25-10, 12:40 PM   #2
Daox
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Haha, nice 'test run'. Worked pretty well I'd say. Any idea what your battery voltage got down to over that 2.5 hrs?
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Old 05-25-10, 02:18 PM   #3
wyatt
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Tracking the sun will effectively DOUBLE your solar systems output, so when you have the chance, you should look into it, although if you only plan on using it for power outages, you may not need to...
Where are you at in Alabama? We didn't get anything last night.
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Old 05-25-10, 02:34 PM   #4
wilfor03
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Naw....I shoulda but didn't....I do know on the inverter there's 10 little green leds that light up to show battery level...I only made it down 2 for the whole 2 1/2 hours...don't think that was too bad at all.....yup...gonna put a Redrock tracker board in if I don't make my own self.....I live in Cullman area in Alabama.....Bill
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Old 05-25-10, 04:45 PM   #5
Xringer
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Wow! It's nice to have back-up..
The way life normally works, you get your stuff together, back-up, spare units, etc
and then what happens?? The grid never fails again!!


After our experience during the Blizzard of '78', right after we
had our garage built, we got a new snow thrower..
It sat and rusted about 6 years before we had any real deep snow again!
Ski resorts went out of business and the snow thrower carb seals dried up!
Anyways, it was during that blizzard that a lot of people lost their power
for 2 to 7 days.. It was un-real. Many houses lost all their plumbing,
and heating systems.


Then, things were okay, life was good. Until 2008.. Ice storms!
We have had many thousands of homes off the grid for weeks.
Some of them for 5 or 6 weeks!! Home Depot sold a ton of generators
around here. (New England)..
I'm starting to hear about another mini-ice-age coming..


Yeah, you should just bite the bullet and order a RedRock kit..
Just make sure you get the Sunset-return-East feature.

You got me to start thinking about a big battery bank and one of those
new inverters.
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Old 05-26-10, 12:45 PM   #6
gasstingy
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Hi Bill!

Great to see somebody who lives nearby. I live in Arab and work in Holly Pond. I'm planning a garage with either battery backup/grid tied solar or all battery/solar. Very pleased to see your results.

Mark
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Old 05-26-10, 03:20 PM   #7
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I am up in the Huntsville area, good to have you all around.
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Old 05-26-10, 09:47 PM   #8
wilfor03
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Hey there, gasstingy and wyatt....gasstingy-I read your garage blog thingy you're doing and I'm jealous! Are you planning on just running your garage or your house too, on PV? How bout you wyatt....are you doing anything with Solar stuff? I've just gotten started in the PV world and am turning into a junkie real fast! It's addicting as ever. Good to hear from you guys..........I'll keep my eyes out for ya......Bill
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Old 05-27-10, 10:50 PM   #9
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No solar to date. We started with the assumption that the biggest bang for our buck was in sealing up our house, insulating a bit better and putting in better thermostats. I would say we have done pretty well. Now, our house is up for sale, so there won't be any solar done until our next house (which may be a while). With the results of your system, I can definitely see advantages to having some sort of backup!
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Old 05-28-10, 07:52 AM   #10
gasstingy
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I had Daryl Bergquist design a small easily scaled up PV system and adjustable rack in late 2008. I asked Arab Electric Cooperative (AEC) to let me sign up for the TVA Generation Partners Program with my 700 watts of planned solar. They said no, renewable energy doesn't work in Alabama. So, I built it anyway. I went to the AEC Board meeting after it was built and asked again. I told them I built it anyway and that the sun shines on Alabama like it does everywhere else. My array was on the front page of the Arab Tribune a week later (July 4, 2009) with a nice writeup. An article from AEC was also published where they pointed out that my system can't be tied to the grid because it has not been inspected and deemed safe and in compliance. So, AEC and me have been going back and forth since then. I have become a regular at the Board meetings, though.

The garage will be powered by grid-tied solar if the gentlement from AEC allow me to sign onto the TVA program. If they don't allow it, I already have enough power to be off grid with the garage, but there's always room for more power. I pray for being allowed on the TVA program. I saw a ray of hope from my last visit to the AEC Board meeting.

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