Anyone running their own solar system?

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StroppyChops
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Anyone running their own solar system?

Post by StroppyChops » Wed Apr 17, 2019 8:26 pm

Thanks to the generosity of an Australian foundation, we're about to put in a small solar system to deal with the blackouts. It's unreasonable to go totally off-grid at the moment (after all, where would the landlord steal his power from?) so I'm planning on running in a completely separate system to our mains power. The plan is to provide fans and lighting, and clean power for the computers initially, and then add to the system to run the fridge. We're not going to try and power the ACs, although we hope to add the dehydrator in the soap curing room which has a fairly deep draw.

I'm looking at 1 to 3 panels, and 1 to 2 deep cycle 100AH batteries, the solar charge controller, and inverter as a starter. Fortunately we have unused top floor balcony for the panels, so we don't have to mount to the roof.

Is anyone else using solar for partial or complete supply yet, or have the knowledge for setting a system up?
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timmydownawell
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Re: Anyone running their own solar system?

Post by timmydownawell » Wed Apr 17, 2019 8:47 pm

I've thought about this too, but not where I live right now, maybe later. Just for the important stuff, modem/router, TV, Android box and a fan.

There are some places that advertise on FB like Solar Energy Cambodia who sell small systems like this as packages, so you don't need to figure out what panels, charge controller, inverter and batteries by yourself. I don't think anyone sells Li-Ion batteries here so if using lead acid you shouldn't drain them fully, so you'll need twice as much capacity.
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StroppyChops
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Re: Anyone running their own solar system?

Post by StroppyChops » Wed Apr 17, 2019 9:09 pm

timmydownawell wrote:
Wed Apr 17, 2019 8:47 pm
I've thought about this too, but not where I live right now, maybe later. Just for the important stuff, modem/router, TV, Android box and a fan.

There are some places that advertise on FB like Solar Energy Cambodia who sell small systems like this as packages, so you don't need to figure out what panels, charge controller, inverter and batteries by yourself. I don't think anyone sells Li-Ion batteries here so if using lead acid you shouldn't drain them fully, so you'll need twice as much capacity.
Yeah, there's a stampede of people trying to catch the gravy train on FB at the moment, I've followed a half-dozen of them just to get an eye in. Most of them are come-lately's but there are a few actual 'professional' outlets, with 100-200W panels around the $100-130 mark, and other parts at similar to Aliexpress pricing for identical products. Li-ion batteries are rare but available, and you're going to pay through the nostrils for them. Gel batteries are available, around $130 per 100AH.

Interestingly an ex-workmate from Australia contacted me within 12 hours of this funding hitting our account to ask if I had any use for a grid-tie 100W inverter.
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Re: Anyone running their own solar system?

Post by Username Taken » Wed Apr 17, 2019 9:44 pm

I thought you might have been building something like this.


Image



You should get some batteries from Elon Musk.
... give 'em a quick, short, sharp shock ...

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StroppyChops
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Re: Anyone running their own solar system?

Post by StroppyChops » Wed Apr 17, 2019 9:47 pm

Username Taken wrote:
Wed Apr 17, 2019 9:44 pm
I thought you might have been building something like this.
Image
I figured someone would go there, and there would be Uranus jokes.
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Re: Anyone running their own solar system?

Post by explorer » Thu Apr 18, 2019 5:34 am

Not the same, but I have a small panel with a small controller connected to my car battery in Australia. When I go home, I can just turn the key and drive. Years ago I needed to buy a new battery when I returned to Australia.
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Re: Anyone running their own solar system?

Post by explorer » Thu Apr 18, 2019 5:42 am

Just a thought. If your batteries are 12 volt, you could consider going to 12 volt lights. I Australia, you can buy 12 volt refrigerators and televisions, but they may not be so common in Cambodia. You can also buy 12 volt power supplies for notebook computers, and 12 volt phone chargers. Then you only need to use your inverter for those things which are not 12 volt.

I know with some systems the batteries are more than 12 volt.
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timmydownawell
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Re: Anyone running their own solar system?

Post by timmydownawell » Thu Apr 18, 2019 6:45 am

explorer wrote:
Thu Apr 18, 2019 5:42 am
Just a thought. If your batteries are 12 volt, you could consider going to 12 volt lights. I Australia, you can buy 12 volt refrigerators and televisions, but they may not be so common in Cambodia. You can also buy 12 volt power supplies for notebook computers, and 12 volt phone chargers. Then you only need to use your inverter for those things which are not 12 volt.

I know with some systems the batteries are more than 12 volt.
The problem with this is power loss unless the cable length from the batteries to the appliances is short or you use very thick copper (expensive). Stroppy's had a thread about this before? But if you have a short run you could have some 12V lights etc. 12V fridges are so much more expensive you may as well run a regular one on an inverter.

And yes you can have 24V, 48V systems etc by wiring the batteries in series (and then in parallel). Depends on the size of your system as to which is best.
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Re: Anyone running their own solar system?

Post by explorer » Thu Apr 18, 2019 8:41 am

Obviously anything anyone does which is different is experimental.

I have run 12 volt LED lights on 7 volts. Each brand of LED light may be different, but they do work on a wide voltage range.

LED lights are ideal as they use less power.
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Re: Anyone running their own solar system?

Post by beaker » Thu Apr 18, 2019 9:07 am

explorer wrote:
Thu Apr 18, 2019 8:41 am
Obviously anything anyone does which is different is experimental.

I have run 12 volt LED lights on 7 volts. Each brand of LED light may be different, but they do work on a wide voltage range.

LED lights are ideal as they use less power.
That is wrong LEDs are voltage sensitive.
Unlike typical low-voltage lighting products, getting the voltage slightly wrong in an LED-based system is a bigger problem for the LED. Because LEDs are extremely sensitive to under- or over-voltage.
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