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I started out with a simple phone charger and I'm learning from there. Others might have some good input though. :roll:
 

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Visit Simpleray.com and read about grid tie inverters. you can start with one 230 watt module and a micro inverter and add a system each time you have money. I started by putting up a 60 watt module 20 years ago and running one12 volt light off of it and expanded from there. Another way is to use solar to recharge AA and other rechargeable batteries. I have purchased from Simpleray and they have outstanding prices and shipping rates
 

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there are two types of solar energy, Photovoltaic (PV) and solar thermal... ALL major solar energy generation projects are solar thermal, PV has an efficiency of about 2-3% where solar thermal which concentrates sunlight to heat water to produce steam and run a generator, even with multiple conversions has an effiency of 10-15% Benefits of PV are the direct conversion of sunlight into electricity (DC) solar thermal has two benefits, higher efficiency and hot water... ther are plans for solar thermal generators all over, greenpowerscience.com is a good source for info.
 

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I don't know where you are from, but in two states right now you can darn near get a solar system for free.
I'm not joking - I worked for one of the companies doing it - and its very real. All you do is buy power from
the solar system instead of just the utility. I'm in CA and we pay 4 different electric rates. We get a small
amount of power (tier 1 that I'll say is 800 kilowatt hours a month) and it costs .13 cents a kwhr. Great.
The next tier is 30% more power so 240 more khwrs' and they charge .15 for it - still a good price considering.
However once you go over 130% you enter tier 3 - that rate is .29 a kwhr in CA for many of us. OUCH.
Tier 3 is 130% +1 to 200% of tier one and once you go over 200% to tier 4 its up to .33 khwr.

These companies basically "give" you a $30k/$50k solar system in exchange for you buy the power from
them for .26/.27 khwr and some times if you negotiate properly with no annual increase. They do the math
to set up the system so it only provides you teir 3 / 4 replacement power and allows you to keep buying
tier 1 and 2 from the utility company. Not a bad deal. You are not allowed to disconnect it from the grid,
but it doesn't mean you can't figure out how in an emergency.

Anyone have any tips on how to start tieing in a solar panel to your existing home?
 

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I think a good base line that I'm curious about is this...

What do I need (size of solar cell and power output) and how long does it need full Arizona sun to recharge a standard 12v Deep Cycle Marine Battery or Optima Blue Top.
What can I run with an inverter off of the single 12v Blue Top? How long will a 60w Incandescent / equivalent CFL / equivalent LED last on that much power? How long can I run a TV? How long can I run a HAM Radio? What about my CPAP (Sleep Apnea Machine)?

I'm not expe
 

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Bump...
 

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GTGallop,
When my wife and I built our current house we took into account several different alternative energy solutions. One of those is Solar. Most people will put solar panels on or around their house, Solar makes DC power that power can be stored in batteries, or converted direct to AC power for use in your house, or sold back to the electric company.

What we've done is use solar power to move mostly water from well and or spring. So during the day solar will power a pump that moves water from the well at the bottom of a hill up the hill to a holding tank. We then use gravity to water lawn, garden, and for flushing our toilets. We also have several solar panels on our home. These run to a AC inverter to convert the DC to AC to power our house and we do sell some power back to the power company. We have chosen not to store power in batteries, that's not to say I don't have some small 30w portable solar panels that I hook to small batteries for HAM radio Field days.

If you choose to harvest energy from the sun and store it in batteries for emergency usage figure out what you want to run in your home. Add up the amount of Amps each item requires to use. Lets say you just want to run some lights around the house and they are LED or other efficent lights and the total Amp Draw is 30 amps. You'll need to convert that to the lowest common denominator of energy and thats watts. Volts x Amps = Watts. So your house is 115 volts (if you are in the US) so 115 x 30 = 3,450 watts. This is the amount of watts you will need to be able to convert from DC stored power to AC power for your house.

Now you need to know how long you want to be able to run these items. Batteries are ratted in Amp Hours, that's 1 Amp at 12v per hour. If a battery has a 250 amp hour ratting it will run 1 amp at 12v for 250 hours. So lets calculate for your assumed 3,450 watt needs. Take 3,450w divide it by 12v to get how many 12v amps you need. That's right around 287.5 amps.

All of these calculations are in the perfect world, nothing is perfect. Expect to get about 80% efficiency from the process to take that into account on all of your calculations.
 

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So for a practical application lets say that I have a Yaesu FT29006 Ham Radio. It draws 11amps and 13.8volts - or 152 watts.
If I ran that off of an Odyssey PC2150T Deep Cycle which has 94 amp hours, then I can run the radio for about 8 to 8.5 hours.

Then to charge that battery, if I ran a SunForce 30 watt panel (15v 2a), I would need something like 17 hours of full on direct optimal sunlight to recharge the battery? Is that right?

In Phoenix, my best case in full summer is 16 hours of good sunlight which would make .03kwh. Right?
 

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Or 5 panels to keep up with the radio skipping the battery?

brain.jpg
 

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HAM Radio is kinda off topic but..

The radio during transmit draws 11amps. During non transmit its prob drawing about 1 or 2 amps. As a referance my IC-7200 will draw up-to 40amps (100w RF output) and 7amps when not transmitting. Dial it down to 25w and I'm only using 15A transmit and 2A not transmitting. So consider that when talking HAM radio and batteries. As a reference I use two 18Amp/H batteries to run my IC-7200 for a full day with just 27w of solar and when i get home the batteries are still in great shape.

Now to charge a battery from complete flat to full would take you something like 17 hours, but you'll never get the battery dead flat using a radio. It will require the battery produce at least 11v DC. The only way to know when your battery drops below that is to review the manufacture graph for your battery.

Its almost impossible to judge how a solar panel will work. You may get 16 hours of sun but remember in the Morning the sun is coming through a lot of atmosphere coming from the east to your location, same with in the evening except is coming from the west. During mid day is the best solar making sun. Very little atmosphere to leach off the suns energy.

At my location I can get 6 to 8 hours of power making sun a day in the summer. Only about 2 maybe 3 of those ours do i make 85% or more of the total possible output of the system.

If you want to get into solar, I suggest you buy some small inexpensive but quality panels, locate them around your property and see what you get in terms of % of power. I've found with my research that % scales well. I had a 7w panel that i moved all around before we did the final install and it would average the same % that my full panels are getting.

Also remember to keep into account. Excessive heat will lower the output of your panels, and can over time destroy solar panels.
 

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Or 5 panels to keep up with the radio skipping the battery?

View attachment 1224
It would be nice if it worked like that, you could get your radio to run as a receiver only on just solar, but as soon as you keyed the mic your radio would crash. Solar isn't instant power like a battery. Think of it like a hand crank generator, you spin the wheel and make 2amp of power and suddenly the system calls for 20amp thats a 10x increase you couldn't spin up fast enough.

I've seen guys run very small batteries 4 to 6 amp hours, and huge solar panels. It works, but if you are doing a field day and competition you are constantly transmitting so you need to be able to make loads of power.
 

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So for a practical application lets say that I have a Yaesu FT29006 Ham Radio. It draws 11amps and 13.8volts - or 152 watts.
If I ran that off of an Odyssey PC2150T Deep Cycle which has 94 amp hours, then I can run the radio for about 8 to 8.5 hours.

Then to charge that battery, if I ran a SunForce 30 watt panel (15v 2a), I would need something like 17 hours of full on direct optimal sunlight to recharge the battery? Is that right?

In Phoenix, my best case in full summer is 16 hours of good sunlight which would make .03kwh. Right?
GT one of the things that you and anyone else who is considering going wind/solar and using a battery bank is that you do not want to discharge your batteries lower than 40% of their rate capacity. Doing so will reduce the life of the battery considerably. So in your calculation for how many batteries you'll need you must calculate the Depth of Discharge (DOD) of your battery or battery bank together with average sunlight in your location as this will also determine how many panels and their prospective wattage you'll need.
 

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That makes a lot of sense and I had planned to keep some solar flowing into the batteries while the radio was pulling out.

I was amazed that I could run so much stuff off of a 350 watt inverter and a car battery before. I might go back to playing with that because I have the inverter and battery already. But I still need to learn more about charging.
 

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Here is a Dept of Discharge chart for a 12V system dod chart.jpg There is a huge difference on the life cycle of a battery when you're able to not go lower than 30% of DOD. This is where your panels and/or wind turbines will play an important factor.
 
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