Simple Solar Panel Setup 2

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Home Solar grid-tie and backup:
125 w, 12 v panels, wires, metal mount kit:
45 w, 12v array: Harbor Freight
300 w grid-tie inverter: ebay

This is about sending solar power to my house to reduce grid usage, as well as having a backup in case of a power outage. You need thick-gauge stranded wires for solar; mine are 10 gauge.

Backup system includes a 2000w Xantrex pure sine inverter, a Morningstar 30 amp charge controller, inline fuses, 2 marine batteries/cables. All from Amazon, except batteries/cables, which came from the auto parts store. You need extremely thick gauge wires between the batteries and to the inverter.

Total cost for the grid-tie setup is about $1000 (not including the 30% tax rebate from Uncle Sam), so it pays for itself in a few yrs. Add another $750 or so for the off-grid backup stuff, and you’re looking at $2000 for a total small setup, or about 7 yrs in grid-tie mode at current rates which are likely to go up and reduce payoff time. But, if the power goes out, I can run lots of stuff; full size fridge, lights, chargers for the all-too-necessary iPods, wood stove fan, etc.

More panels charge batteries in less time, so for backup, you need enough panels to compensate for drainage.


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