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My first Solar setup - Learning as I go - Seeking advice on improvements

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  • My first Solar setup - Learning as I go - Seeking advice on improvements

    Hi All,

    I want to first layout my setup as that seems like the obvious place to start. (Don't laugh as I am playing build-a-bear with this setup)...

    Batteries - Crown CR430 = 4 - Wired in Series/parallel -
    Solar Panels 24v CSUN 275-60p = 2 - Wired in Parallel -
    EPever MPPT Charge Controller - 30A 12/24V Tracer 3210A
    Pure Sine Wave Inverter 1500W Global LF Series - PICOGLF12W12V120AL (POS if you ask me... and may upgrade as i have to manually switch it from AC charge to PV charge by unplugging the AC cord or it always stays on "AC MODE". Working on addressing this now.

    Location - St Louis MO

    Power Running off the system:
    Water Pumps (Hydroponics):
    20W 0.3A - Running 20 minutes an hour - 12 hours a day = So 12x20 minute cycles per day.
    31W .35A- Running 20 minutes an hour - 12 hours a day = So 12x20 minute cycles per day.

    Fan:
    44.4W .37A = Kicks on based on temperature of greenhouse - Runs about 5 hours a day on the hottest day.
    163.2W 1.36A = Runs 3 hours during the heat of day

    AirPump:
    20W 0.3A - Running 24 hours a day.

    This gets me to the questions I am just unsure about...
    1.) Is this build-a-bear system lacking in a certain area? Meaning - Not enough solar panels in relation to the Battery Bank - Not a properly sized charge controller - WTF have you done man kind of setup? Basic recommendations would be great to equalize the components so I am not bottle-necking myself (if that makes sense).
    2.) It seems the batteries (brand new) are only getting to about 13.7Volts and the PV AMP seems to be like a trickle of .3A in full sun (not sure if that is the charge controller regulating it because it thinks the battery is full? Based on the Spec Sheet I think the batter is 2.37 per cell x 6 = 14.22 would be the "fully charged" battery. Feels like I am missing something here...Maybe a setting on the charge controller? If so should I even mess with it or leave it be?
    3.) I do want to add some other items to the power draw to include electric in my chicken coop ect but want to understand how I sit currently for usage vs charge potential vs storage potential ect but googling my ass off and being so green to this I do these calculations and either don't understand it or think I understand it and things aren't adding up to what I am seeing real world (more ignorance from a newb probably).

    Anyway - Much appreciated in advance as far as replies. I don't claim to be an expert by any means but I have this problem of diving in head first prior to fully understanding things thinking "i will learn as I go"... Well that is true I learn but seems I get in a position of the wagon pulling the donkey....

    Thanks
    Last edited by Silvester; 06-12-2018, 02:30 PM.

  • #2
    Is there no grid power in the area you are setting the greenhouse up at? Going off grid is much more costly than a trench and cable.
    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


    • #3
      Hi Mike,

      Thanks for the response - There is grid power that I ran underground in conduit to the greenhouse, but what I have done is unplug the cable at the Electric Panel supplying the home and connected it in the cool basement to my inverter to run it off solar. So all of my Batteries/Charge Controller/Inverter are in the nice cool basement. The idea is I will use it to run my greenhouse and anything else in the yard ie chicken coop ect. If we ever lost power I could also disconnect other circuits from the panel and run them off solar. TBH its more for the fun of doing it, you are 100% right as far as cost as I am hemorrhaging/Pissing money like crazy for this solar hobby... But hey we can't take it with us when we die

      I am eager to learn from you smart fellars as to the above questions, I hope someone can find the time to help out. Thanks again Mike.

      Comment


      • #4
        Do you want a small system https://www.solarpaneltalk.com/forum...or-camping-etc

        or a larger one ? https://www.solarpaneltalk.com/forum...-panel-systems


        Read the stickies and figure how you want to do it.
        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


        • #5
          Well reading threw the plethora of info you provided links to I am a bit overwhelmed were to start...

          so what i think in reading it is I need to make the below corrections:

          1.) Get rid of my 12v aims 1500w inverter so I don't burn down my house... (This was supplied by a solar company that built a "kit" for me with 2 Trojan overdrive AGM batteries, 2 CSUN 24v 275w panels, and a PWM Charge controller..) I got rid of those batteries and replaced them with 4 6v Crown CR430's. I also replaced the charge controller with an MPPT EPEVER 30A controller.
          2.) change my battery wiring from series/parallel to just straight series to get 24v.?????
          3.) when possible get 2 more solar panels of matching size????

          So this brings me to where I am a bit stuck.. So much information and so little understanding of all it regardless of how many times I read it ugh.

          What inverter would you recommend for the above setup I would like it to have an option to charge the batteries via AC power automatically in the event the batteries get lower than 24.8 volts (after my above change to series only wiring)?

          In order to get to a C/10 it seems on a 24v solar array at 430AH batteries I would need 2 more matching solar panels to give me a total of 1100watts of PV max output. 430AH / 10 hours charge rate = 43A x 24v = 1032 watts of panels needed. Did I do this correctly?

          This then leaves me to think my charge controller can't handle that as it is only a 30A charge controller. I think I read in one of the posts that an 80A MPPT charge controller can only handle 1000w of PV array input... If this is the case what can I do to salvage my charge controller mess and not spend a fortune? Can/should I get another 40A MPPT charge controller?

          basically what I am wanting to do overall is salvage all my mistakes and since the batteries I have are by far the most expensive part of this system built the other components to support the batteries.

          thank for all the info and I looking forward to hearing some suggestions based on the above. ✌️

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Silvester View Post
            So this brings me to where I am a bit stuck.. So much information and so little understanding of all it regardless of how many times I read it ugh.

            What inverter would you recommend for the above setup I would like it to have an option to charge the batteries via AC power automatically in the event the batteries get lower than 24.8 volts (after my above change to series only wiring)?

            In order to get to a C/10 it seems on a 24v solar array at 430AH batteries I would need 2 more matching solar panels to give me a total of 1100watts of PV max output. 430AH / 10 hours charge rate = 43A x 24v = 1032 watts of panels needed. Did I do this correctly?
            What inverter? that depends upon loads, how much power you need and if you need 240v split phase or just 120v. If you are mounting this inverter in a home you might want to consider getting an inverter that is UL 1791 rated. This listing is for inverters installed in homes.

            And with panels, they are a commodity, I would get as many as your charge controller can handle wired in some configuration of series/parallel. With 430 Ah batteries at 24v I think I would go with at least 6 if your CC can do that many. Clouds are not your friend. The more panels you have, the better chance you have of getting a full charge.
            285Wx9 / MNClassic 150 / CSW4024 / TrojanL16H-ACx4

            Comment


            • #7
              Your 30A MPPT controller @ 26V can handle about 1,000w of PV panels fairly easily. As battery voltage increases, your power increases - look at all the tools now with 60V batteries !
              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


              • #8
                Originally posted by Matrix View Post
                What inverter? that depends upon loads, how much power you need and if you need 240v split phase or just 120v. If you are mounting this inverter in a home you might want to consider getting an inverter that is UL 1791 rated. This listing is for inverters installed in homes.

                And with panels, they are a commodity, I would get as many as your charge controller can handle wired in some configuration of series/parallel. With 430 Ah batteries at 24v I think I would go with at least 6 if your CC can do that many. Clouds are not your friend. The more panels you have, the better chance you have of getting a full charge.
                I just need 120V - The current inverter I am using is an Aims 1500W 12v Global LF Series - PICOGLF12W12V120AL. Would you recommend a specific Make/Model? As for the panels I couldn't agree more and it seems i can get a hold of them rather inexpensively so will try to increase my total to 6 asap then time to build a good rack as my Deck is getting clocked with all my damn hobbies and the wife is gonna murder me if I take up any more space... Thanks for the reply, much appreciated.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Mike90250 View Post
                  Your 30A MPPT controller @ 26V can handle about 1,000w of PV panels fairly easily. As battery voltage increases, your power increases - look at all the tools now with 60V batteries !
                  Thanks for the first bit of good news as to my feeble attempt at building a suitable system... This then brings to question how in the heck do I calculate what my charge controller can handle? I seem to really be missing this key aspect... Would it handle the 6 - 275w 24v panels? What would be the MAX wattage input it can handle without wasting the generated power from the PV array?

                  My guess would be WATTS/VOLTS =AMPS --- So 4 panels would be 1100w / 24v = 45.83A which is larger than my 30A charge controller. I am assuming that my panel will give off less for "Normal Operation" something like 200W on a swamp ass type day... so same math of 800w / 24v = 33.3A still a bit more than the 30A my controller is rated for but doable at 4 panels.

                  Now using another method of what my Panels specs say - 7.48A per panel again at "Normal Operation" x 4 panels = 29.92A close enough for this ole boy...

                  So to me 6 panels as mentioned by Matrix (thank you) would push me over this threshold for my controller... Thus if I went 6 panels, got a different inverter (still hoping someone recommends one for this setup) I would need a charge controller of 7.48A x 6panels = 44.88A so I could probably get away with a 40A charge controller sacrificing the extra 4.88A to the solar gods (assuming I actually get the full 7.48A per panel.

                  Thanks mate.
                  Last edited by Silvester; 06-13-2018, 11:58 AM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Silvester View Post
                    so will try to increase my total to 6 asap.
                    But that is only if the CC can handle 6. I am not suggesting that it can or cant. That would be up to you to do the math.

                    If you have a MidNite Solar Classic you could use their Classic sizing tool which would give you the exact max number of panels for whatever configuration that you wanted/needed. But a good basic tool I have found for general sizing of a system is Using the Alt-E Store's off grid calculator. This will give you plenty of home work to help you diagnose and detail your loads, sun hours, system DC voltage, battery size, number of panels and charge controller sizing (very general). Just Web Search (I don't recommend a particular search engine) for the Alt-E Stores Off Grid Calculator. This will help you wrap your head around some of the basics.

                    As for Inverters, Depends on your loads. But Schneider, Outback and Magnum Energy (just to name a few) all have inverters of various sizes that would fit the bill for your needs and UL safety.
                    Last edited by Matrix; 06-13-2018, 02:09 PM.
                    285Wx9 / MNClassic 150 / CSW4024 / TrojanL16H-ACx4

                    Comment

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