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  • Animag771
    started a topic Which Solar Kit?

    Which Solar Kit?

    Hi, I'm looking into buying a DIY solar kit within the next few days/weeks, depending on how quickly I can decide on a kit. I found a website called BluePacificSolar.com and I've been looking at their grid-tied kits that use Canadian Solar panels. I'm wanting to get the best bang for my buck.

    I've done the calculations and I need about a 3.3KW kit.
    I use on average about 13.4KWh/day and I live near Ft. Worth, TX. According to the internet I get anywhere from 5.2-5.83 sun hours a day, but I've done my math at 4.7 just to be on the safe side. The panels will be roof mounted, south facing and completely unobstructed.

    Watts per sun hour: 13,400W / 4.7hrs = 2,851W
    Subtracting (way low) inverter efficiency: 2,851W / 0.85 = 3,354W

    So I've found a few different kits that are similarly priced. They all use Canadian Solar, monocrystaline panelsbut they all use different​​​​​​ inverter systems. The first one uses an MPPT inverter, the second one uses micro-inverters and the last one uses power optimizers and an inverter.

    1: https://www.bluepacificsolar.com/sol...solar-kit.html

    2: https://www.bluepacificsolar.com/enp...solar-kit.html

    3: https://www.bluepacificsolar.com/sol...ono-3360w.html

    Are any of these worth getting?
    Pros and cons to each?
    Which is the best value?
    Is there something better out their for me?

  • foo1bar
    replied
    Originally posted by Freeesun View Post
    i would like to get all black solar panels that are small about 100 watts. im building a shed and would ilke to get a good company panel along with a charge controller and a inverter. i have a car battery that is charging so ill use for a while but stil need everything else.

    i basically want to use the shed to charge dewalt batteries and run a few leds but would still want aorund 100 watt panel.

    any advice is much appreciated.
    I'd look at >100W.
    The panels will probably be cheaper.

    But first you should measure your demand.
    That's the first step for an off-grid system.
    Borrow (or buy) a kill-a-watt for your dewalt charger and measure it's usage (you'll probably need to know peak wattage it is using AND how many kwh.
    And do the same measurement for the LEDs you want to use.

    And head over to the off-grid section to get advice on what you want to do.


    Actually first, you probably want to look at just running power to your new shed - it'll often be just as cheap AND provides more convenience (Want to plug in the new battery powered weed-whacker or whatever in the shed? Not going to have issues because of limits of your off-grid system. )

    Leave a comment:


  • Freeesun
    replied
    i would like to get all black solar panels that are small about 100 watts. im building a shed and would ilke to get a good company panel along with a charge controller and a inverter. i have a car battery that is charging so ill use for a while but stil need everything else.

    i basically want to use the shed to charge dewalt batteries and run a few leds but would still want aorund 100 watt panel.

    any advice is much appreciated.

    Leave a comment:


  • Freeesun
    replied
    Where can I get a all black solar panel that

    Leave a comment:


  • foo1bar
    replied
    Make sure you understand how the "net meter" and billing will work before you spend a bunch of money.

    It may be very different than "net metering" as I know it here in CA.

    Leave a comment:


  • Animag771
    replied
    Originally posted by J.P.M. View Post

    It won't show or reference on most any data sheet.

    PVWatts is a performance estimating model from NREL. Read the Solar for Dummies book and then run the model after you read the help/info screens a couple of times. You have a ways to go on the learning curve with respect to how to size/design a PV system. Look before you leap.
    Aww... But leaping is the fun part
    good info, I'll look into it

    Leave a comment:


  • J.P.M.
    replied
    Originally posted by Animag771 View Post
    J.P.M. - Thanks again. The datasheet for the solar panels I'm looking at (Canadian Solar 280M) doesn't show "PVWatts".
    It won't show or reference on most any data sheet.

    PVWatts is a performance estimating model from NREL. Read the Solar for Dummies book and then run the model after you read the help/info screens a couple of times. You have a ways to go on the learning curve with respect to how to size/design a PV system. Look before you leap.

    Leave a comment:


  • Animag771
    replied
    Sunking - Thank you for the warnings and concerns to be aware of. The only POCO available to me is the county co-op and they are currently charging me $0.16/KWh. I have already spoken with them about interconnecting and they actually seem incredibly laid back about all of it. They say I can install everything myself if I want, as long as there is an accessible service disconnect (for the fire dept), a minimum amount of insurance, a drawing of the system and a different meter (net-meter) that they will install. To be on the safe side I will definitely do more homework on it and talk with the POCO again. As far as home equity and selling potential go, I bought this property with the intention to build a house on it, eliminate all debts and as many bills as I can and live here for the rest of my life. I have no intention to ever sell this home.

    J.P.M. - Thanks again. The datasheet for the solar panels I'm looking at (Canadian Solar 280M) doesn't show "PVWatts". I completely agree about saving energy before attempting to make it. I have already reduced my loads as much as my (wife's) lifestyle will allow. Small home, 8" thick walls, air sealing, passive solar, vented metal roof, rainscreen siding, ductless minisplit, ERV, energy efficient appliances, LED lighting, convection microwave (no oven) switched from a desktop to laptop computer (I loved that thing), low flow faucets (well pump), rainwater collection, etc, etc. I've actually run out of ideas on ways to save energy, other than adding a wood burning stove, which may happen in the future.

    tyab - Thanks for the info. I was not familiar with the term "Rapid Shutdown", but looking at it now I will already be set because I think I'm going to go with Enphase micro-inverters, which are already rapid shutdown compliant. I have read so many dummy guides my head is tired of reading the same thing over and over... I'm at the asking questions phase. If you read above, I have already worked on energy reduction and have gone about as far as my wife will comfortably allow. Happy wife, happy life. I am out in the country on land that is 100% unrestricted. I have no building codes, permits or inspections to comply with. I will however take your advice and speak with the county to check on their building codes and policies. I prefer to er on the safe side of things and follow the codes anyway. Most of them are there for safety reasons and I would prefer not to put myself or family in harms way, unnecessarily. I will also figure out exactly what the POCO wants to see as far as interconnecting. They are the only ones I really need to please.

    Leave a comment:


  • tyab
    replied
    Animag - be aware that TX is under NEC 2014 so you will be subject to Rapid Shutdown and that is an addon to the string inverter kit. So here is a short summary (most repeated from above) that you will want to do prior to purchasing anything.

    - Read the dummy guide. Ask more questions. Repeat multiple times.
    - Follow the guidelines on energy reduction. This can get into a discussion about lifestyle changes or choices with your family.
    - Come to an understanding if solar is even worth it for you based on your usages, energy rates, lifestyle, and even the time to do it if your are DIY.
    - Contact your local building department and ask them if they allow owner installed solar and if so what local policies they require. Some may require a electrician on your permit. Understand that if you are DIY then YOU are required to follow all state and local codes (more later on this). Be aware that many AHJ's hate owner installed solar since the inspection process for them is time consuming and/or many unsafe issues that need to be corrected.
    - Carefully read the interconnect guidelines from your PoCo so you know exactly what they want.
    - If you are doing the electrical yourself, purchase the NEC 2014 book (about $100 from nfpa.org) and start learning it. This is your home - you are planning on putting something on your roof that can cause fires or injury/death if you do not follow safe practices. There are code requirements you must follow to keep first responders safe if they have to respond to your home. Make this code your best friend so you are safe, your family is safe, and the home is safe. And doing this will help prevent failed inspections. Related with this, spend time reading (do not post) on the Mike Holt solar forums and grounding forums.
    - Notice at this point nothing was said about purchasing any equipment - don't purchase anything until you know the project makes sense for you, you have the time to do it, and you are confident that you can complete it.

    If your still with it - then you get to the fun part of permitting, purchasing, installing, inspections, and its a great feeling when you get the permission to operate from the PoCo and you know you did a quality job.

    Good Luck

    Leave a comment:


  • sensij
    replied
    Originally posted by Sunking View Post

    Green Mountain is a good example and available to you and a classic scam. They will pay you 5-cents per Kwh for excess, and charge you 13-cents for any you take from them. While your neighbors using Champion pay 7-cents for all the electricity they want up to the first 2500 Kwh/month, and the rate goes down to 6-cents after the first 2500 Kwh.
    The terms of the Renewable Rewards program are somewhat different than what you've described here.

    Green Mountain will purchase up to 500 kilowatt-hours per month at the same Renewable Rewards retail rate that the customer is paying for the electricity they take from the grid. Energy exported to the grid in excess of 500 kilowatt-hours in a month is purchased at half of the retail rate, and the customer continues to pay for any energy used from the grid at the normal Renewable Rewards retail rate. The customer also gets to retain any renewable energy credits or other rebates, tax incentives and rewards they are entitled to receive for the power being generated by their system.
    Without more detailed program information it is hard to compare the bill in this program to what the bill might be with a different electricity provider, but clearly, that is the comparison to make to determine cost effectiveness. The SolarSPARC program also offers an additional bill credit, small in the grand scheme of things, though.

    Leave a comment:


  • J.P.M.
    replied
    Originally posted by Animag771 View Post
    So I'm working on piecing together a kit for myself and ran into something. Should I be using the NOCT panel ratings to size the array and pick an inverter. Also I cannot seem to find an answer on this.. If I used micro-inverters, does it matter how many panels I have?
    ​​
    Use what you want , but PVWatts will give you the best est. of long term average annual output. Read the help screens first. For sizing estimates,reduce your electric load as much as your lifestyle permits before you purchase anything. But before any of that, and before you buy, check and make sure you'll be able to net meter. Even w/ net metering, PV may not be cost effective for you. Heed Sunking's post well.
    Last edited by J.P.M.; 05-16-2017, 08:52 PM.

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  • Sunking
    replied
    If you live in or near Ft. Worth TX you had better do a lot of homework first or else you may likely find out you just took a voluntary huge rate increase.

    TX is deregulated and has no NET METERING LAWS. Many POCO's will not even allow you to interconnect. Those that do allow it will only pay you Wholesale for excess you generate, and a higher rate for what you use.

    Green Mountain is a good example and available to you and a classic scam. They will pay you 5-cents per Kwh for excess, and charge you 13-cents for any you take from them. While your neighbors using Champion pay 7-cents for all the electricity they want up to the first 2500 Kwh/month, and the rate goes down to 6-cents after the first 2500 Kwh.

    So be careful in TX. Energy rates are dirt cheap and going down now that NoBama and dems got thrown out of office. In TX you can likely end up paying as much as you did before, and to add insult to energy you eliminate 75% of potential home buyers if you ever need to sell. Equity on solar in TX is a Net Negative 75%. Rates in TX have dropped 30% since 2007, and expected to go down even more in TX. So be careful.

    Leave a comment:


  • Animag771
    replied
    So I'm working on piecing together a kit for myself and ran into something. Should I be using the NOCT panel ratings to size the array and pick an inverter. Also I cannot seem to find an answer on this.. If I used micro-inverters, does it matter how many panels I have?
    ​​
    Last edited by Animag771; 05-16-2017, 08:10 PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • Animag771
    replied
    You guys/girls, rock! This is exactly the info I needed to make an educated purchase. Those websites are AWESOME. I will definitely be building my own kit instead of using Blue Pacific. Seems like I'll be able to save over $1000 that way, which means I can put some of that money towards roof mounts.
    Last edited by Animag771; 05-16-2017, 08:19 PM.

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  • sensij
    replied
    Once you have done enough research to understand the differences in the kits, you ought to know enough to skip the kit and buy the components directly. Tandem Solar is another good resource, very competitive with Renvu.

    Leave a comment:

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