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  • LosAngeles EQ backup gear

    Hi,

    First time poster here. Really a great forum and I've spent quite a bit of time reading. Thank you contributors for helping a newbie out.

    I'm going to install an emergency solar power system at home. I have no plans to use it. It is solely intended for an emergency. I live in LA and it's likely we'll see another earthquake at some point. I'll test the system from time to time and of course maintain it.

    Im not an electrician so I'll be seeking professional help with the install. That said, I am compiling the pieces and have the following:

    1. Four 250w panels (listed as 8.3 amp)
    2. An 80 amp MPPT controller
    3. A combiner box with 10 amp breakers.
    4. Two brand new 12v 200 ah AGM batteries
    5. Cable and cords necessary to make the connections (6 awg, etc)

    The plan in my mind is to run 2 stings (of 2 panels in series) to the combiner box and then to the controller resulting in a 24v feed to the batteries tied in series.

    im working out (at least in my mind) the grounding and fusing. The run from the panels to the box is roughly 25 feet and from the box to the controller no more than 8 feet.

    Based on this tread, it looks like I can run a 24v 1000w inverter. Do you think I could push it to 1500w?

    Also, based on another tread I read, it also looks like I may be able to put the batteries in the house assuming battery boxes and ventilation to the outside. Can this be done safely?

    Thanks in advance for any advice you may be able to provide.

    Rick
    Last edited by rickdarling; 04-13-2019, 10:44 PM.

  • #2
    Originally posted by rickdarling View Post
    Hi,.....

    I'm going to install an emergency solar power system at home. I have no plans to use it. It is solely intended for an emergency. I live in LA and it's likely we'll see another earthquake at some point. I'll test the system from time to time and of course maintain it.
    .......
    Rick
    Welcome Rick. You know you are setting your self up for a large headache? You have batteries that will age and fail even if you don't use them. Your panels are likely going on a roof ? That's some mounting racks and rails needed, and maybe a new roof before you cover up an old one .

    Batteries would run a 1500w inverter for a short time. The inverter has self-consumption, and a 1.5kw inverter consumes more power at idle, than a 1kw inverter will.

    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,

      I understand that even in the best case care scenario, the batteries would likely have to be replaced every 5 years or so. I'm hoping that 5 years from now we'll see some serious price drops on lithium based batteries.

      The panels are not going on a roof. I've got an unroofed terrace (crossed with 2 by 2s on the top at 4 inches on center) that is perfect for this. I'll be laying them flat using standard Z mounting hardware.

      Thanks,

      Rick
      Last edited by rickdarling; 04-13-2019, 11:59 PM.

      Comment


      • #4
        Also, I was looking at an Aims inverter. The 1500w unit's at idle draw appears to be substantially less than the 1000 watt units I've Seen.

        Comment


        • #5
          Be sure they are both pure sine inverters
          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


          • #6
            They were (and will be) Mike. Thanks.

            A 1500w inverter goes better with the whole emergency mind set. If it ever actually came down to it, the plan would be to use the system for a small TV and a couple of LED lights.

            The idea is that this rate of draw (say less than a 100w/hour) would be sustainable over an entire evening. I also own an inverter style generator (with a few gallons of preserved fuel) that I'd use to charge the batteries in the event of a cloudy day or two.

            As a result, I dont need 1500 watts but it would be nice to have none the less.

            That said, if it's too big based on my array and battery sizes, I'll go with the smaller inverter. I don't want the system to be capable of overdrawing to the point of creating a potential hazard. It needs to be relatively brainless/static just in case I'm not around and my wife and kids need to use it.

            What do you think?

            Comment


            • #7
              If you are not trying to run a fridge, a TV and some LED lights will run perfectly on a Morningstar Suresine 300w (600w 10 min surge), expect a couple days usage before needing recharge
              that 1kw inverter will self-consume more than the lightweight loads you described.

              If you are trying to run a fridge, you are way under paneled and under battery. A fridge willy typically consume over 1kwh a day, meaning you have to harvest and store 3kwh (cause you are using and recharging at the same time)

              Batteries, go with 6V AGM golf cart batteries. Batteries wired in series perform better than parallel banks.
              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
                You definitely got me thinking about standby power consumption. While the 300w Morningstar is at 55ma, they appearently don't sell a 24v model and, 300 watts seems kind of iffy for an emergency system. In looking at this a little further, Go Power has a 24v, 1,000w unit that has a sleep mode rated at 60ma. It also has several nice features including GFI type recepticals and it's cost isn't much more than the Aims I was looking at. Further, should I expand my system in the future by adding additional panels and/or buying an all new bigger battery storage set up (when the current ones are ready to be replaced), I'm still going to be ok with the inverter size.

                I'm probably heading in this direction.

                heres a link for the Go Power units.

                https://gpelectric.com/files/gpelect...-1000-1500.pdf

                Thanks again,

                Rick

                Comment


                • #9
                  Posting from Europe :

                  12 V * 200 Ah * 2 parallel = 4'800 WattHours ...

                  When the average consumption in the USA is some 20 to 40 kWh a day ,
                  then 4.8 kWh are some 5th or 10th of daily "needs" .

                  Especially in Emergency Situations like Andrea's Fault Earth Quakes ,
                  heavy gear will be requested , especially from neighbouring countries peoples
                  and "juristications" .

                  Both ways , either for self consumption or export into grids ,
                  the batteries make no sense in that tiny size .


                  For hazard conditions , I personally would re-commend at least 5 kiloWatt in
                  Solar Panel size , better 10 kW , because production is averaged
                  2/3s of installed size , of course in times of sun radiation ....

                  And then it would need "at least" a 5 kWh battery to provide one to three hours
                  of electriciity to a wired chain saw .


                  I honestly would advise to put up as much Watts of panels as "recommended"
                  by the local circumstances during "normal" conditions .


                  In an off-grid situation , a battery bank would need to deliver each PHASE
                  , which likely are TWO in a Split-Phase environment , and three in a
                  common non-North-American environment .


                  Overall the size of around 1 kW DC is able to support basic consumption
                  one ONE phase only .

                  The size could be deployed at colony gardens and Recreational Vehicles ,
                  but for a "normal" household it would just deliver additional
                  current , to lesser grid consumption .


                  But people might need to go step-by-step , especially when it needs to
                  (missing word here) family members of some gender , that where
                  considered "non-humans" during the Middle Ages .

                  For just 4 Panels , non-roof , I would deploy Micro-Inverters ,
                  as for example produced by Enphase, ABB, Siemens ;
                  without battery and just lower grid usage .

                  But if there would be near-time futural positive outlooks ,
                  then one could even think of an over-powered string inverter .


                  Hope, that Helps .

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Yet another Yeti View Post
                    In an off-grid situation , a battery bank would need to deliver each PHASE
                    , which likely are TWO in a Split-Phase environment , and three in a
                    common non-North-American environment .


                    There term you are looking for is LEG not phase. We don't really use a two phase system.
                    We have single phase, split phase, and three phase.

                    In a split phase system, there is just one phase with two legs, SPLIT into two legs.

                    Many non-north american systems are NOT three phase but single phase (not split phase like NA).
                    three phase is most common in businesses or commercial zones.

                    Originally posted by Yet another Yeti View Post
                    Overall the size of around 1 kW DC is able to support basic consumption
                    one ONE phase only .
                    1kW battery or solar here?
                    What exactly is "basic consumption"? certainly not an electric stove, clothes drier, electric water, or heatpump.
                    OutBack FP1 w/ CS6P-250P http://bit.ly/1Sg5VNH

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Understood that the size isn't nearly ideal. That, said, this is just one piece of our overall emergency strategy and I don't intend to run anything but LED lights and communication devices with it. Plus, our cost for it is less than $3000 complete.

                      A local solar company recently quoted us more than $50,000 for a 10kw system with a 9.8kw battery. Payback would be upwards of 20 years for this yet we plan on leaving the state (for retirement) in roughly 6 years.

                      Then there is the added benefit of being able to take this with us without to much hassle or effort.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        In Germany , three phases come towards the main "panel" , and are
                        "split" into different 3x single phases towards different regions of an apartment
                        or house
                        cellar, earth storey, 2nd sorey ;
                        light (when LEDs were not common) , wall plugs , kitchen ;
                        right , left , bath side of apartment

                        Basic Consumption in this case does include fridges, freezers, air cooling fans,
                        but not any heating or cooking devices .

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by rickdarling View Post
                          Understood that the size isn't nearly ideal. That, said, this is just one piece of our overall emergency strategy and I don't intend to run anything but LED lights and communication devices with it. Plus, our cost for it is less than $3000 complete.

                          A local solar company recently quoted us more than $50,000 for a 10kw system with a 9.8kw battery. Payback would be upwards of 20 years for this yet we plan on leaving the state (for retirement) in roughly 6 years.

                          Then there is the added benefit of being able to take this with us without to much hassle or effort.
                          In Germany prices would be
                          Euro 1'000 to 1'5000 for 1kW Photo-Voltaic roof-top
                          and
                          Euro 600 to 1'200 at 1kWh for Lithium battery .


                          Edit : Forum does not accept the Euro-sign
                          Last edited by Yet another Yeti; 04-15-2019, 08:33 AM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Yet another Yeti View Post
                            In Germany , three phases come towards the main "panel" , and are
                            "split" into different 3x single phases towards different regions of an apartment
                            or house
                            That is not "split phase" it is just 3 phase and using the three legs.

                            split phase is 120/240V system used in North America.


                            Originally posted by Yet another Yeti View Post
                            Basic Consumption in this case does include fridges, freezers, air cooling fans,
                            but not any heating or cooking devices .
                            A battery backup system MAYbe able to operate such equipment but a 1kW solar array would be under sized to support such a battery
                            OutBack FP1 w/ CS6P-250P http://bit.ly/1Sg5VNH

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by rickdarling View Post
                              Understood that the size isn't nearly ideal. That, said, this is just one piece of our overall emergency strategy and I don't intend to run anything but LED lights and communication devices with it. Plus, our cost for it is less than $3000 complete.

                              A local solar company recently quoted us more than $50,000 for a 10kw system with a 9.8kw battery. Payback would be upwards of 20 years for this yet we plan on leaving the state (for retirement) in roughly 6 years.

                              Then there is the added benefit of being able to take this with us without to much hassle or effort.
                              Depending on the battery chemistry a DIY solar/battery system can cost about $1500 per each kWh it can safely delivery each day. So with a $3000 budget you are probably looking at a system that can deliver about 2 - 2.5 kWh a day if you find your equipment at low prices.

                              Unfortunately solar is not cheap to use as an emergency backup system for short duration power outages. For that matter solar may not really work for long outages if you do not get a good amount of sunlight.

                              Comment

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