Off grid solar is, luckily, improving rapidly.
I started my build in 2010. In my area there were no good resources so I had to head to the internet and hack away on my own. I made a few minor mistakes, but mostly my 1kw system has performed above, way above, expectations. I have most of the amenities of modern life … I just can’t use them all at once or whenever I feel like. Luckily I don’t need air conditioning when the weather is cloudy. And if I have to wait for a sunny day to do laundry … well I’m drying my clothes on a line anyway.
These posts will document some of my trials and tribulations. I try to keep it light, hope you enjoy.
I am weeping with joy as the Lithium Iron Phosphate battery (LFP or LiFePO4) completely changes off grid energy storage
Recently I stumbled across the Balqon LFP 9kw energy storage battery. It comes complete: battery management system, even a fuse, so it’s plug and play. The benefits look amazing, but how will it fare in comparison to my lead acid battery pack?
Creeky’s solar system:
Or how I live the life of Riley off grid
Check out the coming Solar posts for more information about how I built my solar system.
When I started building my solar system in 2010 there were very few resources available in my part of the world. So I took the “build it and hope” approach.
First I built a solar shed with a rack that allows the solar panels to be easily adjusted for spring/fall, summer, winter, and big wind storm in the forecast. You can read more about the shed in the shed post.
Then I got some good batteries configured for 12 volts
I installed 1kw of solar panel power. Panels were in the 4 to 6 dollar a watt range. I was very fortunate to find high quality mono crystalline panels for $2/watt from a solar provider clearing inventory of demo panels.
As I’ve grown my needs I’ve upgraded to two mppt controllers so that I can have 2 kw of panels to charge those batteries. Currently (ha ha) I have 1.5 worth of panels
Your first quandry with any solar system is where the heck to put it.
You have to hang panels that are 3 feet by 5 feet in my case and weight 50 lbs each. You have to store batteries: 720 lbs of lead for me. And you need a safe dry spot for your charge controller, your inverter, your combiner boxes. And, if you’re like me, cheap, you have to do it on a limited budget.