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Old 07-06-2008, 10:19 PM   #1
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Anyone here played around with Solar power/pannels?


Anyone here played around with Solar power/pannels?

i wanted to get a 70 or a 100watt solar pannel, and play around with it ina tool shead thats about 200' from my house..

(they sell online around $350-499 usd)

just want to power a radio, maybe 1 light bulb, maybe a small 60w laptop, nothing big.. (no power tools or nothing)
just wanted to see if you guys have any solar only setups? or done any..

thanks

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Old 07-06-2008, 10:51 PM   #2
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Anyone here played around with Solar power/pannels?


are you planning on hooking it to the grid also? Otherwise, whats the point of having a solar panel to power a lightbulb? I've never messed with them, but from what i gather, adding batteries is more money than its worth.

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Old 07-06-2008, 11:12 PM   #3
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Anyone here played around with Solar power/pannels?


A couple of years ago, I researched grid-tied solar systems extensively. I even went so far as to design my system, get quotes from several suppliers, get the OK from the power company, etc. Then I called the local building department, and was told that I needed a permit, and basically their arrogant incompetence killed my project.

As a result, I have absolutely ZERO interest in anything 'green' anymore.

Rob
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Old 07-07-2008, 12:27 AM   #4
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Anyone here played around with Solar power/pannels?


no, im not trying for grid tied...

im only gonna use 70-100watts, to start out with..
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Old 07-07-2008, 01:22 AM   #5
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Anyone here played around with Solar power/pannels?


I think Harbor Freight has some cheap solar kit's 219 will get you a 45 watter, then I would think just a 12v battery and an inverter and you should be good for just a few things.
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Old 07-07-2008, 07:11 AM   #6
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Anyone here played around with Solar power/pannels?


I feel that trying to use solar for electric is much more expensive than the benefit, however using solar for heat be it for heating your home or water it offers the bigger payoff. It is really criminal the amount of fossil fuel we use just for heat.
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Old 07-14-2008, 12:45 AM   #7
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Anyone here played around with Solar power/pannels?


Quote:
Originally Posted by BillyD View Post
I feel that trying to use solar for electric is much more expensive than the benefit, however using solar for heat be it for heating your home or water it offers the bigger payoff. It is really criminal the amount of fossil fuel we use just for heat.

yes i understand that but
solar pannel = $300 for 60 watts, or $200 for 45watss
OR
100' or 150' copper wire is gonna cost atleast $100 + labor,+ digging
+power

or a 1time investments... i just want to playaround with it in a shead first.. not a TIE in system for $7k


anyone else??
any 1 pannels systems?
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Old 02-08-2009, 06:55 PM   #8
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Anyone here played around with Solar power/pannels?


bump for 2009
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Old 02-09-2009, 02:26 AM   #9
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Anyone here played around with Solar power/pannels?


OK, I'll bite and give it to you straight. A watt is a watt regardless of voltage, your $200 dollar 50 watt system will need voltage regulation via a charge controller and more importantly a battery bank and inverter. Unless you live in a very sunny no cloud area I always use 5 hours for sunlight, which means you get 50x5=250 watts for the day or approximately 3 cent from the poco.

For the little electricity that you want to use then a $40 controller, $50 inverter, and $100 golf cart battery would keep you in business. You could save a few bucks by having all 12 volt appliances.

I'd say go for it on a small scale and find out if it works for you - I am doing the same just a little bigger for a small cabin.
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Old 02-09-2009, 05:07 AM   #10
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Anyone here played around with Solar power/pannels?


I know from experience that infromation on this is hard to come by.Lots of info out ther but no specifics. You almost have to experiment with it yourself.
I have a cabin in Newfoundland that is way off the power grid. I have a few lights and a small tv / dvd player combo. TV uses about 35 watts.I use 9 watt low energy bulbs.
I have 2 15 watt panels on the roof ($89.00 each at Canadian Tire) and 1 12 volt deep cycle battery (about $120.00).
This powers all our light and we watch TV for 3 or 4 hours each evening, and so far we haven't run out of power.
With this system I figure I can always add an extra panel or another battery If I need to.
Hope this helps a little
MisterC
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Old 02-09-2009, 08:52 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by micromind View Post
A couple of years ago, I researched grid-tied solar systems extensively. I even went so far as to design my system, get quotes from several suppliers, get the OK from the power company, etc. Then I called the local building department, and was told that I needed a permit, and basically their arrogant incompetence killed my project.

As a result, I have absolutely ZERO interest in anything 'green' anymore.

Rob
Rob, as an electrician I'm sure you know what is involved in a solar/PV system, and what can happen if one is done incorrectly. Anytime a solar/PV system is hooked into a home you need a permit and that shouldn't be a surprise! If the building department was arrogant or incompetent then that is in fact a shame, but they were correct in requiring a permit.

EDIT: I just realized how old this thread is!
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Old 02-09-2009, 09:16 AM   #12
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Anyone here played around with Solar power/pannels?


that's ok KC, it's been bumped by the OP once already.
i have a tornado shelter built out back that has a 55 gal. water collection hole in the back corner. i run a sump pump to it. but it's dark as heck down there and i needed to check it often. so i got an LED flashlight and wired it so i could hook it to my solar collector. that went in the shed built on top of the shelter in the south-facing window. it supplies bright light down there any time the sun shines. i want to get one of the larger 'shop/work' lights with something like 50 LED bulbs in it and play with that next.

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Old 02-09-2009, 09:23 AM   #13
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Anyone here played around with Solar power/pannels?


The thread isn't that old (he bumped it), and you are right about permits - the line men don't appreciate being killed because some cowboy thinks he knows better. Add to the fact that you can not get tax rebates unless it is installed by a certified electrician in PV.
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Old 02-09-2009, 11:12 AM   #14
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Quote:
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the line men don't appreciate being killed because some cowboy thinks he knows better.
That's my major issue. The solar/PV panel will continue to generate electricity forever, whether that electricicy is consumed or not. Done incorrectly, there is a possibility that the power grid could be backfed, just like an incorrectly installed backup generator.
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Old 02-09-2009, 11:02 PM   #15
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Anyone here played around with Solar power/pannels?


A couple of issues about grid-tied solar systems;

1) Solar panels generate DC power. This obviously cannot be tied directly to the grid, which is AC. You need an inverter. The inverter must be specifically designed for grid-tied operation. It must match grid voltage, and synchronize its AC wave to the grid. If you simply connected a stand-alone type inverter to the grid, the inverter would be destroyed in about 1/60 second.

Grid-tied inverters must be UL listed, and IEEE929 approved in order to be sold. This is federal law. There are absolutely no grid-tied inverters available that do not meet these listings. Part of this listing is that the inverter must shut down within 1 AC cycle after loss of grid power. It must not restart until acceptable grid voltage has returned for 5 minutes.

Build one yourself? Possible, I suppose, but exceedingly difficult.

2) As an electrician who has done considerable line work, I can't stress this enough...'If it ain't grounded, it ain't dead'. Every lineman knows this, I can't think of even one instance when myself or anyone I've ever worked with has ever bare-handed any line without grounding it first. Anyone who is dumb enough to grab a line without grounding it deserves exactly what he's likely to get!

3) Every public utility is required by federal law to commission every generating system that ties into their system. (If you were to install a grid-tied solar system without the POCOs knowledge, they'd figure it out the next time the meter was read.) Around here, they look at the solar panels, the inverter, wire size and type, and the AC disconnecting means. This is to insure that the generating system cannot damage their distribution system in any way. This inspection is done by highly qualified persons who are familiar with solar systems (in my opinion). Not some podunk building department that is obviously not qualified to permit or inspect these systems, but refuses to admit it. (Most of the smaller building departments around here do not issue permits for solar systems, they consider the POCO inspection sufficient.)

I never said that a solar system should ever be installed without an inspection, I only stated that a building department shouldn't require a permit for something they are not qualified to inspect.

Rob

P.S. Around here, the POCO must also inspect all back-up generator installations as well. All they look for is a UL listed transfer switch that has been properly connected.

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