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
More stuff I use
- I use 48v “grid tie” panels. There are a lot of advantages to higher voltage panels and I recommend going this route.
- The primary advantage is cable size. These panels are very close to the controllers. But my second set is 50 feet away. At 12v you would need better than 4 gauge wire. At 96v 10g is fine. 10g you can buy at a big box store by the roll. Have a look at the per foot cost of 4g and you’ll understand why high voltage is good.
- I use Crown batteries. They’ve been excellent so far. See my post on the new LFP batteries that became available this year. The cat’s meow.
- I use Morningstar MPPT-60 solar controllers. There’s a reason they outsell everyone else. The -60 has built in lightning protection. And more importantly, web connected monitoring. I probably watch my solar output a little to closely (coughOCDcough).
Since 2010 I have created and used over 2 megawatts of power.
You might also want to come back for: Solar Design Considerations (currently in the Draft cue)