Unbelievable as it may seem to me, I have spent over three months now at our new summer home. It has been nearly surreal.
I got up this morning and took my phone off the charger, listened to our traditional electric refrigerator humming, turned on a couple of lights, checked the bathroom and my electric toothbrush was charged up, plugged in the pump on the bird fountain, then turned on the electric kettle to get the hot water ready for my coffee and my wife’s tea. Casually I glanced at the battery monitor to see how the batteries did overnight. 90%. Oh, gosh, that means it might be 11:00 AM before they are back to fully charged and ‘floating.’ What ever will we do? 🙂
The solar setup has worked beyond my fondest hopes. Uncanny. And, the credit for that mostly goes to Handy Bob. If you are interested in your own off grid solar system, it is an absolute must that you go to Handy Bob’s blog https://handybobsolar.wordpress.com/ and read it in its entirety. It is the very best information you can get. He has no agenda, other than wanting to give good information to people. He isn’t trying to get rich. He absolutely hates it when I tell people that if they get some good from his site, they should consider sending a donation. So, I won’t mention it. This system is his design, although a local solar company did the installation.
The most amazing thing about this system, which was totally unexpected, is how well it works on cloudy days. Since I arrived here the first part of April, we have seen some real Rocky Mountain Spring weather. Snow, hail, rain, wind, temps down into the low 20s to the high 70s. The ONLY time the batteries got down to the 80% area was when the panels were totally covered with snow.
Any other time, regardless of the cloud cover, we were getting charge. I did not expect this.
Handy Bob says this is where the Morningstar Tristar TS-MPPT-60 controller really ‘shines’ over the competition. Many controllers on the market will work well enough with nice, high sun, but the Tristar is just plain smart.
I am not going to go into great detail on the components of this system, how they work, etc., but will name what I am using. You can read some of the background why Handy Bob picked these components in his Blog. His latest entry is “The Good Guys” and know this…..Bob does not pass on praise for a person or a Company unless they have earned it.
Panels: My installer somewhat insisted on using Kyocera panels, and so the system starts with the Kyocera KU265-6MCA panels. 8 in all @265W, producing 2120W.
Inverter: Magnum MS4448PAE 48V, 4400W.
Solar breaker panel: MAGNUM MMP250-30D Mini panel
Controller: Morningstar Tristar TS-MPPT-60 http://www.morningstarcorp.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/TSMPPTdsEng.pdf tells you all you need to know, but I can attest to the fact that it works!
Monitor: Bogart TM-2030 Believe me, this is a necessity to make monitoring your system a breeze. You could do it in other ways, but this system makes it easy.
Batteries: Crown 6CRP525. 8 of these 6V L-16 batteries wired for 48V. Why? Because Handy Bob told me to. Why Crown? Because Handy Bob says they are the best, and he spent a LOT of time looking for the best.
There are a few other components, including lightning arrestors etc., but these are the main components.
We purchased appliances with the idea of efficiency. Our propane range doesn’t plug in and uses D-Cell batteries for ignition. I wasn’t aware that most propane ranges use a 500W glow bar for oven ignition. Our refrigerator was one of the most energy efficient we could find for a decent price and a traditional refrigerator. The washer is a front loader, using far less water and power that traditional clothes washers. We are prudent users of water and that will be another subject.
Oh, and I did look for energy efficient TVs, too. The one in the living room is a 50 inch LED and the one in my office/cave is a 49 inch LED. And, yes, I fire up my surround sound in the office/cave, and don’t even limit viewing, etc. This system will handle it!
My wife uses her blow dryer without thinking about it. We did, of course, put in mostly LED lights everywhere. There are a few CFLs in the mix, but those will be replaced, later. But, LED is the only way to go, really.
Absolutely blown away with this system. Thanks, Handy Bob for the design and invaluable assistance, and thank the Lord for His creation and the power of the sun. We are sunny and blessed. (Because I never liked Cher.)