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solar generator?

This is a discussion on solar generator? within the Broken Arrow forums, part of the Gun Forum category; Originally Posted by huntinghawk Philz, I think you are just looking at the inverter supplying the 1800watts you would need. That is a tiny part ...


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Old February 28th, 2012, 10:24 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by huntinghawk View Post
Philz, I think you are just looking at the inverter supplying the 1800watts you would need. That is a tiny part of the system. Amount of AH or WH of the batteries is probably the most important part. Also there is the means to recharge the batteries.

I'm telling you that these solar generators you will find totally useless & kick yourself in the butt for wasting the money.

HH
Which is why I'm thankful to this community for exposing the details and educating me!

Let's see, most research I have done indicates those with backup power have used it for a week or so at most during a natural disaster situation. I've lived in my home and the power has gone out once, for 2 hours. If the SHTF, and power was out indefinitely...I'd have much larger problems than being able to run my fridge. Maybe I should just go the traditional route.

A 3000W/3500W generator and about 40 gallons of gasoline stored or so. Reliable (but loud) backup power, who knows...

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Old February 28th, 2012, 10:24 AM   #17
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And a solar system isn't equal for everyone. You have to look at where you live for the yearly average of daylight days. Its 300 where I live & that is really high. Under 200 is more normal. And the further north you go the less hours of sunlight per day.

Now, here's my suggestion for you. Get a good inverter of the size you need. Put it somewhere in the house centrally located for you attaching it to the inside of the house on an outside wall. Come an emergency you can hook up extension cords to it & run them wherever you want to in the house. For you, I think the kichen would be the best location. Directly outside the house have a battery rack with a roof. Atleast four good batteries. Even four deep cycle $85 batteries from Walmart will give you 250 available amphours. Get a small gas generator & good battery charger. Charge the batteries during the day from the generator & run off the batteries at night.

HH

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Old February 28th, 2012, 10:31 AM   #18
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Unless you have an expensive, quiet Honda generator, running a generator at night is totally going to irritate the neighbors because they won't be able to sleep from the noise.

Also, with the system I suggested, you can use jumper cables from your vehicle to charge the batteries.

HH

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Old February 28th, 2012, 11:45 AM   #19
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I have 3400 Watt peak on the roof of my garage, that's 14 x 240 Wp panels
And i only get 3400 Watt peak in summer if there is no clouds.
I have winter days where the most i see on all my panels combined, is 150 watt..some really dark days it's less then that.

Most the times i have enough juice from my panels in winter time, on average to heat water(1 hot shower), run my fridge and cook.

If it's really bad weather, i might have to go easy on the water heater a bit.. if the grid were down.. either shorten the showers, or skip a day once in a while.
But fridge, cooking , no problem..

The Watt peak they list, and the run time is what the frigging batteries can deliver
Hell, you can get 6000 watt peak that way, with a 5"x5" panel

If you set it up with precharged batteries, it will work beautifully.
You'll have a nice stand by system with a trickle charger on it.
But after your run time runs out, yer buggered.

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Old February 28th, 2012, 01:44 PM   #20
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http://www.survivalblog.com

Go to this site, the 28th Feb page. It has the answer to the original question much better than I can explain.

joe

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Old February 28th, 2012, 02:21 PM   #21
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Quote:
Philz M1A: I saw someone post a link for one here somewhere....couldn't find it.
It was Me that posted this link to a new product...about a month ago.

http://cinetechnews.com/2012/01/19/g...lar-generator/

I liked the IDEA of it, but as I expected, HH pointed out how little 'juice' it produces compared to the cost!
I couldn't think up any use for it that something else couldn't do better...cheaper!
But...I hope that new innovations and new products lead to more demand and vice versa!


CAVman in WYoming

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Old February 28th, 2012, 04:02 PM   #22
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I A few of the questions I'm currently researching are this:

-Best prices on plug-n-play kits

-Kits that have a battery system which is not mounted (fixed) to the solar panel, making it more convenient

-The ability to use the battery system while charging off of the panel


There are companies that will make a custom system, to fit your individual need/wants, or you can collect the parts and DIY.

MY thinking is, to run some things on "real time" power( as it becomes available) and then use the batteries when I can't get ANYTHING else going. The heart of the system is a control panel that will monitor and switch power sources( as to what the load is and what source becomes available) and keep the batteries charged and kinda let me know what's going on.


There are also DC appliances, to help the system.

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Old February 28th, 2012, 04:36 PM   #23
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Not worth running out & replacing everything with 12VDC items. HOWEVER, when things go bad, replacing them with 12VDC items will save you in the long run.

Simply put, an item like a fan that uses 3amps. A 12VDC fan would use 3amps. But a 120VAC fan has to go threw the inverter changing the power from 12 to 120 so drain on the battery is 30amps. But in reality, due to inefficiency of of the inverter, actually more like 11 or 12X more power. Same goes with TVs, lights, coffee maker, etc.

HH

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Old February 28th, 2012, 09:12 PM   #24
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Guys;

I am a journeyman electrician who has been thru every school and class I could find on solar power and I have installed solar systems on everything form a boat house to systems large enough to supply a university campus.
I'm not braging just a little background

The old saying buy once cry once truly applies when it comes to solar components. Another post stated you may save money if you build a stand alone system and don't use UL approved Components. That may be very well true but I have installed almost every solar panel and system on the market and can tell you there is a huge difference in quality even within UL listed parts. Some UL parts I don't understand how they get approval as the quality is so poor.
I cannot recall off the top of my head, as I don't do the selling and bidding end, but I believe the industry standard is 15yr gaurantee on all components. When You install the average solar system on an average house it takes aprox 7yrs to recoup your investment. That means that you have aprox 7 yrs of no cost replacement. Acted that the panels still work, I have worked on systems that are 25 yrs old and their still tricking along. The systems do degrade and the efficiency of the panels is not what the advertised power generation says. For the most part that's fine because at that point it's free power!
The important things to think about when installing a system are these
1. What loads do you wish to supply with the system?
You need to do a load calc and determine the size of the system needed.
From experience I will tell you that whatever you think you need or want you'll end up wanting more.
2. You need to do a sight survey to determine the best area to install the solar panels.
Just sticking a few solar panels on top of a portable container can be very inefficient! You may design a system that on paper says it will supply X amount of power and if you have a big tree that covers 1/3 of the panels for 4 hrs a day you e killed the generation of the system.
The angle at which the panels are installed is also critical. The difference between 12degrees and 17 can alter the production greatly! In class we hooked up 2 1200watt panels and put a watt meter on the output. The system was on wheels for instructional purposses. We students would turn the panels as little as 15degrees from Where the site survey said was optimal and the power output would be cut by as much as 1/3-1/2! Holding your hand over the top of the panel and the shadow from just your hand can cut down the output by as much as 1/3.

All of this said I think solar is a GREAT system! Not only for SHTF but for everyday use. What I am trying to caution people from doing is spending thousands of dollars on equipt that will not do what you need it too.

When the SHTF is nit the time to put your trust in a harborfreight system!

When you purchase solar equipt one thing to remember is that there a diodes inside every solar panel. Some panels are negative diode and some positive diode panels. If you buy different panels at different times and or even different models from the same company you MUST make sure that all sure that all system components panels and inverters are pos. Or neg. If in you can make the whole system inop or work to a level way lower than what you calculated.

A site survey shows you they path of the sun across the area you wish to install a system. When you do this survey you will be able to determine at what angle the panels should be mounted, at what compass angle will give you the most Efficient, longest sun exposure, and gather the most solar energy you can.
I live in the desert south west.

Thanks from jim-analog and Philz M1A
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Old February 28th, 2012, 09:18 PM   #25
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Got cut off on the last post.

I don't know how much this info helped but for anyone who would like they can PM me and I will be more than happy to give any help I can.
I can help with explaining in depth how a system works, how to do a site survey and give estimates on what equipt costs.

Solar power is a great investment! Not only for SHTF but for everyday use. But again I caution in just buying and plugging stuff in without doing your homework! You can spend a lot of money and not get what you want.

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Old February 28th, 2012, 10:03 PM   #26
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To give an example last month I had to go to a house that had a solar system installed aprox 8 yrs ago. When the system was designed and built it operated at peek performance. 8yrs later the neighbors beautiful palm tree in their back yard had grown and was covering 3 out of 15 panels with shade for aprox 4 hours a day. That shading degraded the output of the entire system by 15-18%. We relocated these 3 panels to the other side of the roof where the shade did not reach and the system again works at 100%.
Solar panels work on DC power and are hooked in series. What this means is that if you have 4 panels hooked in series and 1 is in the shade or not working that panel not only does not produce power but it acts as a load on the system and degrades the useable power output.

The average cost For a 2000 sq ft home install is aprox $12,000. Some cities and states offer huge rebates to help offset this cost. Here in Ca. With rebates that cost works out to aprox $7,000. So $7,000 is what you have put out in becoming energy independent. Say your average electric bill is $120.00/ month. That means that it will take 59 months or 5 years to pay off your investment. Components are gauranteed for ave of 15 yrs. You've used 5 of those years to recuperate your investment leaving you with 10 years of free power without having to worry about replacement or upkeep! At the end your 15 yr warrantee period you have saved $14,500.00 in electric bills and the system should or will continue to provide you with power.
After 15 hrs you may need to replace an inverter or a few panels at your own cost but the system is payed for, is continuing to provide you with free electricity. Call it $1,500 for a new inverter that will again provide you with another 15 yrs guaranteed free replacement. And the money saving just go up!
This $12,000 is the cost for a professional company to pay a guy like myself to come in at $40.00/ HR and install your system, you paying the company to do your site survey, overhead and profit. If you do the work yourself as a home owner the cost is 1/3-1/2 that cost for a whole house solar system.

One thing that sometimes gets overlooked is the surface that the solar system is going to be installed on! Are you going to install a solar system that will be there for the foreseeable future onto a 3 tap asphalt roof that is 15 yrs old? That roof probably only has a 20 yr life. So 5 yrs after you install a solar system you may be into putting a new roof on under the solar cells! Not good planning! Make sure your roof has life left in it before you cover it with a solar system. If you don't have the money to replace a 15yr old roof you probably don't have the money or probably should think twice about installing solar.

Another issue I have run into is the dreaded HOA and city ordinances that throw a fit about solar panels on peoples roof. If you live in such a dreaded place or you have as described above an old roof they now make solar roofing shingles that look like asphalt shingles and are actually solar panels. You get a new 25 yr roof and a solar system that doesn't stick out like a sore thumb! This type of system is not cheep but you get a roof and a solar system all in one at the same time and the warrantee is the same on the roof and the solar system. 2 birds w 1 stone!

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Old February 28th, 2012, 10:33 PM   #27
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I personally am not a fan of the straight DC solar system.

I have installed this type of system on a cabin my family owns where there is no possibility to be hooked to the grid. The system we designed and built was a multiple level system. We have solar panels that will carry the entire load of the cabin with every modern convenience. We also have a wind turbine hooked in parallel to the solar panels. When the clouds roll in the wind picks up! Now the wind turbine will not cover the total load but with 6 12 volt golf cart batteries it has always carried whatever we could throw at it until the sun shines again.
We also have a 5000 watt diesel generator hooked up for those days that there is no sun and no wind! We also use the gen in the winter when we don't get to the cabin for months at a time. We unhook the turbine and solar panels from the batteries when we are not there to prevent over charging and or melt down of the batteries.
The generator running for 2-4 hours is strong enough to supply our power needs and to charge the batteries so the turbine and or solar can take over.
This wind/solar/gen system was designed and built 25 yrs ago and is still running strong. Only thing we have done is replace a few batteries over the years.

Here in Ca we have had a few issues that have had us w/o power for days at a time. I installed a partial solar system on a buddies house aprox 5 years ago. It has a solar hot water heater and aprox 10,000 watts of solar panels on the roof. When the power has gone out at his house he shuts the main breaker off in his elect panel, disconnecting hi
From the grid and he hooks his 5,000 watt gen to his 220 volt welding outlet in the garage, back feeding his panel thru the welding outlet.
Now the power companies, generator man., and solar companies will tell you not do do this because if you don't get the phases right with the inverter oryou don't disconnect your elect panel from the power company your putting power back on there lines when they think it's dead and if power comes back on when you have a gen back feeding you could cause real damage to you, your house and the lines. The electrical manufactures would love to sell you a really big and expensive transfer switch that will do all this for you. You can do that and it is idiot proof at that point.

The main reason for this post is to try an explain that IMHO a combo unit is the best way to go. It can be done as a homeowner and if you do your homework it's not that expensive to be able to be completely energy independent for days, weeks or even years!
The problem with SHTF is when other see you have lights, and electric your gonna have to defend what you have! That's a whole other topic!

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Old February 29th, 2012, 04:38 AM   #28
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Greetings,

Thank you for all the great info berndog!

To the OP Philz; just a few quick thoughts.

When you are doing your load calcs; keep in mind that devices with motors (sump pump, blowers, fans, etc.) have higher start up current draw vs the normal run draw. I don't think many of the charts take this into account.

Berndog also mentioned a site survey. This is very important! I'm in the process of building our new house and was very interested to include solar from the start. A friend of mine had the equipment and knowledge do do the survey and unfortunately, unless I was willing to just about clear cut the forest, it was not practical to get any reasonable quantity of solar power here.

Depending on the availability of any $ incentives from your state that may help to offset solar investment and all the other factors mentioned, I'd suggest you might be better off to look into generator-battery-inverter systems. That's the way I ended up going. It was a big help when the power was out for a week at the end of last October.

Regards, Jim

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Old February 29th, 2012, 05:11 AM   #29
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When I first got out of the Corps , in '84, at LTA Tustin, in Santa Ana, I sold solar water heaters. Back then Cali was giving rebates for all energy saving/alternative energy devices . I could prove the unit would pay for itself in 3 yrs. I sold alot of them to engineers.

Electric companies will discourage alternative energy( and being hooked to them at the same time) as they have to buy 'extra' electricity back( if you produce more than you use, they have to 'buy' it from you).

I agree, I never got into the DC appliance thing. Also, solar needs sun, wind gen needs wind, but water turbine taps in to a constant source, better the other two combined.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_turbine


Even if you have a small pond( that fills itself), you can run a hose off of it and by reducing the ID, get the veocity to turn a turbine and provide energy. Units run around $2K.

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Old February 29th, 2012, 05:33 AM   #30
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great thoughts here everyone, really educational stuff.

thanks to berndog especially

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