Thursday, 9 April 2015

Electrical system upgrade

Since is has been so long since I have done a proper update I'll summarizing the updates to each system.

Back in August I was running a 2500 watt 12v inverter, 2 x 200 watt solar panels and a cheap charge controller.  I was having to run the generator a couple of hours a day to keep the batteries from going dead with minimal use of electricity.

I put in my order for my new solar system in September.  I was excited and nervous, it was awesome.  I've been researching and waiting for over a decade to have a off grid system and it was finally happening.  I was nervous because it was going to be $7,000.

The first thing to arrive was the charge controller which would allow me to run the panels at over 100 volts and the battery bank at 48 volts.  Shortly after receiving the charge controller I sold the inverter for a nice profit but I had to make do for a few weeks with a cheap inverter.

While waiting for the parts to come in I make another trip to the states for batteries.  It was funny watching the suspension when they dropped the 16 golf cart batteries in the truck bed.

More power!

The wrong panel for the inverter came in so I had to wait a another week for it to come in but that gave me time to order cables for the new panels.  Once the cables and proper electrical panel arrived I got to work installing them.  The new inverter gives me 4400 watts at 240 volts, more than I'll need.  The electrical panel handles the DC breakers and main AC breakers, including inverter bypass.

The batteries will be tucked under the cabinetry so I needed a way to pull them out for maintenance.  I made two skate boards for them to sit on

6 of the 9 panels @ 250 watts each.  I've been using the solar setup most of the winter.  My generator has not been used since the fall.  On cloudy days I make 1 to 2 KWh and over 10KWh on sunny days.  I've stopped using propane to heat my water because I produce so much electricity.

Just recently I installed and wired the AC breaker box.  I'm pretty happy with the job I did.  I just have a few more circuits to add and it needs to be permanently installed once the cabinetry is done.


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