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/diy/ - Do-It-Yourself - Cheap Solar

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Cheap Solar Anonymous 05/28/14(Wed)19:03 UTC+1 No.644638 Report

Been wanting to get into solar for a while now. done some lite reading only find out it can cost out the ass.

I've put aside $500 for adding some type of solar to my house.

any idea's would be great.
(my aim is cutting costs for 24/7 electric appliances)
Anonymous 05/28/14(Wed)19:31 UTC+1 No.644649 Report

come back when it's a couple thousand.
Anonymous 05/28/14(Wed)19:41 UTC+1 No.644655 Report

If you want to run your whole house on solar panels you have 2 options: Grid tie and battery backed.

Grid tie is cheapest. You can have any amount of panels with just a special breaker that dynamically adjusts the source of your power (panels or power company) to meet the needs of your home. It also allows you to sell excess power back to the utility, if you generate any. They are what moat people go with. It has downsides though. If theres a blackout you'll still lose power because the breaker has to shut down the system so you don't make the lines around your house live. That would fry anyone doing maintenance on them. Power companies also tend to pay shit rates and try and scam you on generating power for them and you can't go completely off grid. Thats if your local power company pays anything. Some red sates they don't have to and simply wont. Blue states tend to have laws on the book requiring them to at least give you a bill credit.

Battery backed is expensive. REALLY expensive. Its also an ongoing maintenance issue. Batteries wear out and you will have to replace them every decade or two. You also have to have pretty beefy system that generates quite a lot of power. You need enough batteries to be able to store a few days worth you juice in case there is several cloudy days in a row. You also need a bunch of panels to charge up those batteries. You also need a place to put this huge bank of batteries. They aren't light or small. The real plus for battery backed, and its a big one, is it allows you to be completely off grid. No power company to fuck with.

Now, if you just want to charge up a car battery, have an inverter hooked up to it and use that to charge your laptop or cell phone, thats totally doable for $500. Otherwise, running your whole house for 500? Not happening.
Anonymous 05/28/14(Wed)20:02 UTC+1 No.644661 Report

thank for the info. I'm tryin to get my computer off the grid. 550W psu 24/7. maybe I can pull that off without starting a fire
Anonymous 05/28/14(Wed)20:11 UTC+1 No.644664 Report


As a point of reference, I've been putting together a small photovoltaic system lately, and trying to do it as absolutely cheaply as possible. I have access to free batteries and the know-how to restore them, as well as a lot of free UPSes, and the know-how to build them into inverters.

I'm building the panels myself from C-grade cells, I'm buying used glass to construct them from, and I'm using the cheapest MPPT regulator on the market. For a roughly 120 W system with a 500 Ah, 12 V battery bank, I've put out about 200 € thus far, and I still need to construct a frame to mount the panels onto, before being able to put them outside.

This system will be able to produce perhaps 500 W a day on average, which is just enough to run a 20 W load 24/7.

A "pre-built", new system of comparable spec, is probably somewhere around $ 800 to $ 1000, plus the running cost of batteries.

I'm sorry to burst your bubble, but trying to run a desktop computer (perhaps 200 W in total average power consumption), 24/7, off of solar power, is going to cost much, much more than $ 500. Even if you do it as cheaply as I am.
Anonymous 05/28/14(Wed)20:12 UTC+1 No.644666 Report

I took a picture for you, and I forgot to attach it. Your battery bank would be somewhere around four times larger than this one.
Anonymous 05/28/14(Wed)20:59 UTC+1 No.644689 Report

Double lol
Shit son, 1995 called.
Anonymous 05/28/14(Wed)21:10 UTC+1 No.644697 Report

Childhood me truly had a taste for timeless furniture.
Anonymous 05/29/14(Thu)09:24 UTC+1 No.644924 Report

What can a guy do in terms of getting off the grid with power for about $10,000?
Have some land rather far from other cities and towns, looking to put a house on it. For that kind of budget ($10,000 for energy/power alone) what can I get done?
Property also has lake access if that makes any difference.
Anonymous 05/29/14(Thu)11:02 UTC+1 No.644944 Report

If your power footprint is small you might be able to get a solar panel + battery storage system going that would fill your needs. You could also you wind turbines and batteries, if theres reliable wind out where your at. Not so much if their isn't of course. The lake won really do you much good unless theres running water on your land (like a river or creek) and you have the permits to alter the flow of said creek. Most places, especially ones with any farming down stream, go ape shit about water use permits. Some places you down even own the rain that falls on your land. Anyway, no running water, no power via any system I've head of. Solar is probbaly you best option, but I have no clue what local pricing is out where you're building this.
Anonymous 05/29/14(Thu)11:42 UTC+1 No.644950 Report

ok now you have 2 panels lets say 6v each you need them to run into a special grid tie inverter that matches total wattage. also when you plan your cable gauge remember to times the Isc value by 1.56% in case of solar flare or some retard shorting the system, they must go into a combiner box and must have individual breakers that are 1.25% extra of your isc total. bro tips your inverter must have anti islanding, use mc4 water proof connectors at the joins, minus your latitude from 90 degrees to get optimal panel tilt and there's probably more i forget, can someone remind me of any specifics i have missed for GT system?
Anonymous 05/29/14(Thu)11:48 UTC+1 No.644951 Report

you will also have a small voltage drop so as always V=IxR so you refer to your trusty wire gauge chart that tells you ohmic losses of your wire and do the addition to get the loss of power it will be small but you may be thinking of running it at length.
Anonymous 05/29/14(Thu)11:51 UTC+1 No.644952 Report

also there is a temperature correction factor refer to nec or your panels specs it must be calculated for the lowest ambient temperature.
Anonymous 05/29/14(Thu)14:05 UTC+1 No.644972 Report

led lighting
Anonymous 05/29/14(Thu)18:26 UTC+1 No.645050 Report

>550W psu 24/7
You're not drawing 550W 24/7, that's the maximum output of the PSU.

Get a "Kill-a-Watt" device to plug your computer into. It will tell you how many kWh your computer is using over time. I'll save you the trouble, though: It's using maybe a couple bucks of electricity per month, less than $50 per YEAR. If you invest $500 in some setup to run it off of solar, the computer will have to be replaced long before you ever make the money back in electricity bill savings. Unless you're somewhere where there is no electricity at all it's just not worth the expense and effort. You want to cut your electric bill in a substantial way? Stop using your air conditioner.
Anonymous 05/30/14(Fri)20:20 UTC+1 No.645610 Report

I recently installed a grid-tied 3.5kw system for $6,000

I'm now putting into the grid twice as much as more than I take out in winter, and 3 to 4 times as much in summer. Forget high wattage appliances like electric stoves.

With a small battery bank you can run a TV/ PC, and couple of lights at night. For fridge or freezer and heating you will need Maybe keep a Generator for events.
Anonymous 05/30/14(Fri)20:47 UTC+1 No.645617 Report

To get started the harbor freight starter kit is actually pretty decent and can be set up in half an hour.

It cost me about $250 (including $100 for a 12v marine battery) and it works just fine. i run a shortwave radiop and a 6 battery charging port for ryobe 18v tools off of it. The only problem i've had is the cheap inverter i bought will not charge my laptop which i solved by buying a 12v car adapter for it.

The HF power regulator comes with 2 car ports as well as a pair of 12v lights, it was much better than expected.
Anonymous 05/31/14(Sat)17:14 UTC+1 No.646010 Report

>Been wanting to get into solar for a while now.

I'd suggest solar panels + a wind turbine.

Also, AGM (absorbed glass mat) batteries are the only logical option.
Anonymous 05/31/14(Sat)20:25 UTC+1 No.646064 Report


I'm preferable to a nice old wood-stove for cooking and heating anyways. The only high wattage (extremely high) systems I would be running would be a large power amp/sound system, and recording gear. This I know will take one hell of a toll energy-wise. Not sure if there's a clear-cut way around this...


Based out of east coast Canada.
Anonymous 06/01/14(Sun)04:48 UTC+1 No.646314 Report

>...(my aim is cutting costs...

You want a grid tie inverter, not batteries. They sell these cheap ones on ebay that plug into an outlet to feed back, they are illegal in most states and are somewhat hazardous to linemen in the even of an outage and can make that circuit in your breaker box not trip as son as it should.

But whateves, $500 aint much so its what you do.

Get it and some panels and your set.

Just note, if you have a digital power meter not a spiny one they rig them such that if you make more power than you use they count the generated power as consumed power because they are assholes. To get them to not do that you have to sign up for net metering which in most states means you need a fancy inverter and pay some fuck ass electritioin and a bunch of shit like engineered drawings for how you mount the panels. So back feeding is bad unless you have the money to do it right or unless you have an old school meter. You should put a camera or something to see your power meter and determine your minimum daytime baseload and don't size the system over that.

If you wanted to get fancy and go bigger with out going 'legit' you could use like a clamp on amp meter and make some relays and arduino shit to take the panels offline when your producing an excess.

In short doing solar is way more expensive than it should be. And the power company IS out to get you.

Sources - my dad is a licensed solar contractor, and I help him on installs sometimes and shit, also we have 10kw at our house, we do it 'legit'.
Anonymous 06/01/14(Sun)05:06 UTC+1 No.646323 Report

To continue >>646314

This will get you 300 watts rated, that's about 1.5 kwh per day. You would want to make sure your base load is above or near 300 watts though.

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