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Here's what I have now, what should be my next move?

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  • Here's what I have now, what should be my next move?

    My issue is that I'm in SW Ohio, we get only one sunny day, then two severely overcast days. From Dec 14 to Jan 7, there were only two days of full sun. Most days I get 12V 10A out of the charge controller due to the overcast skies. I know there are a lot of upgrades I need, but my goal is to run my energy-efficient fridge (1kW/day), and I can't with this setup yet.

    Some ideas:

    1) Add 6 more panels (I like the renogy 100w monos for their low profile. I don't like advertising I have panels, and these are sideways, close to the ground), wire them as I have below, and parallel them into the circuit. That would give me another 9A of power. Yes, I know it would top out quickly on sunny days, but most of our days are overcast, and 9 more amps would make it work.

    2) Go 24V and PSW inverter. I know mine is a piece of crap, and PSW 24V is the way to go. What I don't know is if it will be enough change to power my fridge.

    3) I could go with a larger charge controller, I'm sure I will. I've been looking at a Midnite Solar 80a charge controller and the six more panels.

    4) The end result I want is six more panels, an 80A CC, two more batteries, and a real inverter. What do you all think?




    Mike and SolarKing have been immensely helpful so far, if they comment, listen!
    Screenshot at 2017-04-29 14-56-45.png

  • #2
    Why? This makes no sense. You are asking to pay some 5 to 10 times more for electricity and run a generator half a year. I don't understand your objective.
    MSEE, PE

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    • #3
      This is unlikely to ever run a refrigerator that was made for AC mains. If your refrigeration unit is front load this is even worse. running an inverter 24X7 just to support a cyclical load is horribly inefficient. You should have designed your system around a 24volt chest refrigeration unit.

      Comment


      • #4
        Sunking, what don't you understand? My objective is to add a fridge to my already working off grid system. While your advice is spot on, you might have a better forum if you stopped insulting people.

        Since I didn't get an answer, I guess I'll just double the power. It's not about what I pay vs the grid, it's about not being on it. I'm surprised I have to explain that.

        Logan5, I run an inverter 24/7 anyway.

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        • #5
          You have to understand, to us, being off the grid just for the sake of being off the grid is akin to vowing to keep your car off of the public roads to avoid paying road taxes, instead a fortune to build your own private roads. When you think about it, electric service really is a bargain compared to the alternative. It's hard for us to understand why someone would take the more expensive and less reliable option.
          Steve Dold
          Say NO to useless over-quoting

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Skunkarific View Post
            Sunking, what don't you understand?
            Why you want to pay 10 times more for electricity than you have to, and be without electricity many weeks out of a calendar year. That is exactly what you are asking forr.

            Originally posted by Skunkarific View Post
            My objective is to add a fridge to my already working off grid system. While your advice is spot on, you might have a better forum if you stopped insulting people.

            Since I didn't get an answer, I guess I'll just double the power. It's not about what I pay vs the grid, it's about not being on it. I'm surprised I have to explain that.
            I am not insulting you, I am trying to make you understand what you are asking for and wake you up to reality. OK for you to generate 1 usable Kwh in SE Ohio, this is what it will take. If you need 2 or 3 Kwh, just double or triple up on equipment and cost. The killer is your location and the months of November, December, January, and February. Not only does it take a lot more panel wattage, but also forces you to use AGM batteries which means you pay 400% more to use them because they cost twice as much, and last half as long as FLA. Flooded lead acid batteries cannot tolerate the high charge rates you will have to use. Your location sucks.
            • Panel Wattage = 1000 Watts Around $2000
            • MPPT Charge Controller configured for 48 volts. 12 volts is out of the question, and 24 is not much better. At 48 volts you need 20 amps for every 1000 watts of panels. So an 80 Amp controller can go to 4000 to 5000 watts input. Forget 12 volts. Around $600
            • Battery. Requires 5 Kwh AGM battery for each Kwh used in a.day use. AGM will cost you $400/Kwh. So for a 1 Kwh=day usable would require a 5 Kwh $2000 battery.

            Just for Panels and batteries only you are looking at almost $5000 per Kwh. The fun part is you get to replace those expensive AGM batteries every 2 to 3 years. You need to understand that. In 3 years those batteries will give you roughly 1100 Kwh at a cost of $2000. That would mean just in battery cost alone you are paying $2000/1100 Kwh = $1.82 per Kwh. You can buy that power for 11 to 15-cents per Kwh. What part of that do you not understand?

            That is not the end of the pain in the wallet. You are going to need a generator and a lot of LPG or diesel fuel (forget gasoline). Along with a rather large expensive battery charger. You will be running that generator every week for 8 to 10 hours with all your cloudy days. When said and done you will be paying over $2.00/Kwh. That is 10 to 20 time more than you have to spend. Why would you do that?
            Last edited by Sunking; 04-30-2017, 01:32 AM.
            MSEE, PE

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            • #7
              One of the things I have seen on these forums is a lot of knowledge, and most of you jump to humiliate or belittle people here asking questions. Chasing people away by being insulting certainly isn't helping.

              I've been off grid for six years now, started with one panel, one CC and one marine deep cycle and a 200w inverter. I've saved roughly $12,000.00. My electric bill was $250.00/mo, that was lights, two computers and heating two rooms. I am not sure if you are aware or not but electric meters do not need to be calibrated, and you pay whatever they show. It's also possible I had a theif, as a neighboring house lost power when I cut the cord. I'm also an independent person who simply wants to not be on grid, my motivations are not here for your review or question. I simply asked the best way to make it work.
              Last edited by Skunkarific; 04-30-2017, 03:34 AM.

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              • #8
                When I came to Maine looking for land to buy, in many cases the nearest power line was 20 miles away. Homeowners who want grid power must arrange easement rights and pay for private poles and line to get power to their house.

                I do not know anything about the power grid in SW Ohio. I live in Southern Maine. About 1/3 of the townships of this state do not have power grid. People living in those towns are off-grid regardless of whether they want power or not, the PUC has never ran grid to large portions of this state.

                The township we settled in has one road and a power line runs along the pavement for about half of the pavement. Most parcels of land in my town do not have access to grid power.

                My house does have access to grid power. During our first eleven years living here, we experienced grid outage every month, year after year. Sometimes 3 or 4 outages a month, some outages were only a day, some were a week.

                Maine is over 92% forest. When the wind blows trees blow down and pull down power lines. If your town's power line runs through 20 towns before it gets to your town, and then 20 towns after your town. One tree can take down power to 40 towns. That is how grid power works on the East Coast.

                Grid power is 'available' to everyone but it may be expensive to buy the easements and poles, though it is not a reliable source of power. The only benefit of grid power is that it is cheap power.
                Last edited by organic farmer; 04-30-2017, 02:20 PM.
                4400w, Midnite Classic 150 charge-controller.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Skunkarific View Post
                  One of the things I have seen on these forums is a lot of knowledge, and most of you jump to humiliate or belittle people here asking questions. Chasing people away by being insulting certainly isn't helping.

                  I've been off grid for six years now, started with one panel, one CC and one marine deep cycle and a 200w inverter. I've saved roughly $12,000.00. My electric bill was $250.00/mo, that was lights, two computers and heating two rooms. I am not sure if you are aware or not but electric meters do not need to be calibrated, and you pay whatever they show. It's also possible I had a theif, as a neighboring house lost power when I cut the cord. I'm also an independent person who simply wants to not be on grid, my motivations are not here for your review or question. I simply asked the best way to make it work.
                  Looks to me like, unless someone's sent you a bill, that so far got more than what you paid for. Answers to your questions are abundantly available from other sources for the looking. Part of the cost of independence is less free advice. Not everyone who tells you what you may not like is trying to insult you.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Skunkarific View Post
                    One of the things I have seen on these forums is a lot of knowledge, and most of you jump to humiliate or belittle people here asking questions. Chasing people away by being insulting certainly isn't helping.

                    I've been off grid for six years now, started with one panel, one CC and one marine deep cycle and a 200w inverter. I've saved roughly $12,000.00. My electric bill was $250.00/mo, that was lights, two computers and heating two rooms. I am not sure if you are aware or not but electric meters do not need to be calibrated, and you pay whatever they show. It's also possible I had a theif, as a neighboring house lost power when I cut the cord. I'm also an independent person who simply wants to not be on grid, my motivations are not here for your review or question. I simply asked the best way to make it work.
                    The choice to live off grid is yours alone. We should not try to change your mind if that is what you want.

                    What we do try is to help people understand that living off grid and generating your own electric power will just about always be more expensive then being on grid.

                    Whatever I am paying and how I am being charged for electricity IMO is not a reason to just disconnect and walk away but to research and investigate why my power is costing so much. I feel that way because I know what it costs to generate my own power and what it should cost be to purchase that power from my local utility.

                    Again IMO your home was being charged for electricity that you were not consuming which means the meter was off or as you suggest someone was stealing your power.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      first off, what's with the diagram, makes no sense to me how you are wiring those batteries,

                      second the inquiry was not about a better alternative to off grid.

                      last, I would consider a small windmill, those overcast days are usually windy

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        "Cheap" and easy, but lots of maintenance (changing batteries every 2 years)
                        For 1 fridge (ultra efficient energy star) 1 day sun, 3 days cloud, zero generator till day 4
                        Going to need >1Kw of PV panels, and the more "concealed" they are, the less they produce - may need up to 2KW of PV
                        48V system, 1Kw, 48v Pure sine inverter (efficient type, not $130 china 40w standby) Victron comes to mind
                        8 golf cart batteries wired in series for 48V (That's a 9Kwh battery bank, 4.5Kwh usable)
                        MPPT charge controller , 3Kw generator to power a Iota 54V 15A charger
                        Wire your panels for 80 -90V, then to the MPPT controller
                        BOS parts: breakers, ground rod.....

                        You want to run your fridge on pure sine or the motor heats up from the square wave/mod sine and has to run much longer to get rid of the extra heat,
                        Powerfab top of pole PV mount (2) | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
                        || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
                        || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

                        solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
                        gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Mike90250 View Post
                          "Cheap" and easy, but lots of maintenance (changing batteries every 2 years)
                          What would be the motivation for someone to decide to change their battery every 2 years?

                          I understand from forums and networking with my neighbors that a person's first battery-bank will often die early at around 10 years old. But why would you change after 2 years?



                          4400w, Midnite Classic 150 charge-controller.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by organic farmer View Post

                            What would be the motivation for someone to decide to change their battery every 2 years?

                            I understand from forums and networking with my neighbors that a person's first battery-bank will often die early at around 10 years old. But why would you change after 2 years?
                            You have never owned an AGM battery which the OP will have to have with a C/4 charge rate.

                            MSEE, PE

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Skunkarific View Post
                              One of the things I have seen on these forums is a lot of knowledge, and most of you jump to humiliate or belittle people here asking questions. Chasing people away by being insulting certainly isn't helping.

                              I've been off grid for six years now, started with one panel, one CC and one marine deep cycle and a 200w inverter. I've saved roughly $12,000.00. My electric bill was $250.00/mo,.
                              Don't give us that crap. It is not our fault you do not know what you are doing. or can do simple math. At $250/month bill means you were using 2000 Kwh/month or 65 Kwh per day,. that is what a large all electric home would use with all the Bells and Whistles. That is 65 times more than you say you want now. So don't give us that line of BS. No one goes from using 65 Kwh a day to less than 1 Kwh/day. You are a fool if you think any of us believe you reduced your energy 98.5% in a large home.

                              If you really knew what you were doing you would never ever use 100 wat battery panels, PWM controller, and run 12 volts. Only a damn fool stuck inside a 12 volt box does that. Nope if you knew what you were doing and being truthful you would be using 200 to 250 watt Grid Tied Panels at 1/2 to 1/3 the cost of 100 watt battery panels. Further you would be using an MPPT Controller at 24 or 48 volt battery. To make the most of your extremely expensive power you would be using a refrigerator made for 24 or 48 volt DC made for off-grid systems using half the electricity you claim your luxury fridge uses.

                              I told you exactly what you wanted to know, and told you what you don't want to hear. It is called the t
                              Last edited by Sunking; 04-30-2017, 07:27 PM.
                              MSEE, PE

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