Adding a 6kw off grid addition to my shop.

Discussion in 'Off Grid Living' started by TnAndy, Jul 26, 2020.

  1. TnAndy

    TnAndy Senior Member Founding Member

    The company I lease my tower to at the top of the mountain asked me about a backup power supply for the occasional grid outages we have (had one Thursday for about 3 hours) to make their service better. We don't have a lot of outages, but the line that comes up our road (which dead ends at my place) seems to get hit by tree limbs slapping the line 4-6 times/yr, popping the breaker out where the 3phase line ends down in the valley. We seem to be the last ones they come reset the breaker, so 2-6hr outage is not uncommon.
    Unfortunately, that doesn't endear the customers of the ISP, who now number several hundred getting service thru my tower. (including me...... :D)

    I started to do a fairly simple battery backup UPS kinda thing, but I could use more off grid (or behind the meter as the power company calls it) to run not only the tower, but my hoop house and part of the shop (a small part) I'm doing a more complex setup, but in return for their part of the cost, they will get a LOT (like days) longer backup power set up than what I previously proposed.

    Just redid the siding on the shop, replacing the southeast side, and painting all of the building. I put metal up where the new solar array is going, and this week worked on the 1 1/2" galvanized pipe frames. I came out from the shop wall about 18".....pipe is secured to the wall with flanges and 4 screws thru the metal into the 1" sheathing underneath. Bottom is set in concrete, the panels will mount on 3/16" 2x2 galvanized angle (which I know OP4 says is stupid, but I like the nice solid feel of angle welded to pipe...your mileage may vary). Array will hold 18 panels of 320w each when done. I'll post along as it progresses.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
  2. Tempstar

    Tempstar Old and crochety Site Supporter+

    Nice place!
  3. TnAndy

    TnAndy Senior Member Founding Member

    Thanks. Work in progress.

    View from the top of the internet tower looking down on our valley. My house is the spot just left of center.

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  4. Dunerunner

    Dunerunner Brewery Monkey Moderator

    Would the barn roof not support panels also?
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  5. TnAndy

    TnAndy Senior Member Founding Member

    Yep, and that was my initial plan, it being the same angle and direction. But then my old self would have to somehow climb up there, do the mounting, penetrate the roof in multiple places, and if anything ever needs attention, climb up there there is that to consider. These will be right where I can get to them, put the combiner box underneath, run conduit in the wall to the inverters/etc......all in all, much handier.

    Roof mounts make sense if space is a real issue, otherwise I'll take a ground mount every time.
  6. Cruisin Sloth

    Cruisin Sloth Special & Slow

    popping the breaker out where the 3phase line ends
    I saw that , and never asked (why).
    I have been there , Great stuff!!So info to post A
    18 panels at Serial / Parallel or how to make 3 phase
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  7. TnAndy

    TnAndy Senior Member Founding Member

    It will be 6 strings of 3 panels each to meet the 150v input limit on my Outback charge controllers (2 FX80's). Mission Solar 320w panels 35v Vmp. Probably could have gotten a 4th panel in the string (total voltage around 120 w/o allowing for cold temps), but I had 30' wide to work with before it went past the corner of the building, or got into an exhaust fan back toward the center of the building. ( 9x 40" = 360" = 30') and two panels high in portrait mode....3 panels high would have run too close to the 18 max the way I had to do the rack. That gives me 5720 panel watts, and using two 2500w Outback inverters matches up close enough.
  8. Altoidfishfins

    Altoidfishfins Monkey+++ Site Supporter+

    Fairly mountainous country. I grew up in Delaware and my permanent impression of all land East of the Mississippi is flat, or maybe gently rolling hills like in the country near the Pennsylvania line where I was raised.

    Been in a number of foreign countries, haven't seen that much of this one.
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2020
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  9. Cruisin Sloth

    Cruisin Sloth Special & Slow

    Got it @TnAndy
    Doing grid tie or stand alone backup ?
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  10. TnAndy

    TnAndy Senior Member Founding Member

    Can't grid tie, already have the maximum of 10kw tied to the grid the power company will allow here. This will be off grid or what the power company here calls "behind the meter". Have 6kw of that now that feeds the house when I flip it over (sunny day periods so I don't cycle the batteries too much), and this will be another 6kw on the shop. Won't do day flipping of this one....the circuit I tie to this will be permanently removed from the grid.

    Going with a lithium battery this time, one of the 3.8kw ones that is rated for 10,000 cycles of 80% DOD. My first experience with them, so we'll see how it goes.
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  11. Cruisin Sloth

    Cruisin Sloth Special & Slow

    Keep us Posted on this LiLion , plus the Battery cell balance ,,
    I just installed a 48 VDC pack of FLA Rolls .. I see if I have a shot to post .
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  12. BenP

    BenP Monkey++ Site Supporter+

    I use LifePO4 batteries and they are amazing.
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  13. TnAndy

    TnAndy Senior Member Founding Member

    Apparently I'm NOT going to be able too.....the Outback charge controllers/inverters I already have specifically won't support lithium batteries.
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  14. Cruisin Sloth

    Cruisin Sloth Special & Slow

    Let me chat with my coworkers .
    Im down as soon as this BS is over ,, robin,bob, sue, andy ,mario from Outback / Midnite
    Gator 45/70 likes this.
  15. BenP

    BenP Monkey++ Site Supporter+

    Do you have the ability to turn off the float charge? I use Schneider electric stuff and it does not have good preset LifePO4 settings but you can manually configure it and set the absorb voltage, max absorb time, and tell it not to float charge.

    I think I have my to charge until they hit 27.4 and stay there for 30 minutes then shutdown until the voltage drops below 27.0 for 5 minutes. I set the absorb voltage to 27.4 and the max absorb time to 30 minutes. I think I have the bulk voltage set 27.3.
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  16. Gator 45/70

    Gator 45/70 Monkey+++

    TNAndy, You always have the nicest's and neatest set-ups !
    TnAndy likes this.
  17. TnAndy

    TnAndy Senior Member Founding Member

    Thanks. Panels installed now. Working on wiring everything up now.

  18. Cruisin Sloth

    Cruisin Sloth Special & Slow

    What firmware version is in the Mate ? and what mate are you using , Latest mate seems to have options .
    Gator 45/70 likes this.
  19. TnAndy

    TnAndy Senior Member Founding Member

    Close up of panels:

    Wiring up inside. Another charge controller to add on the right side (on order). AC panel yet to mount on the left side. Pretty much decided to go with flooded cell L-16's for now, which will mount under the race way box. I think the price of lithium is still to way up there, even given the length of life with them. The L-16's will give me 6-8 years of life if I'm careful for 1/3 the price. Maybe by the time they are worn out, lithium (or something new) will be more competitive.

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  20. Cruisin Sloth

    Cruisin Sloth Special & Slow

    Agreed , and the post above shows me mate would not help on Li-Ion ,, Those CC are not that open , Midnite classics are , and then mate 3 with hub on FX could do the Li-Ion's ..
    Set Via laptop interface / router ..You upload some firmware (OF LINE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!))))) to reconfigure .
    Gator 45/70 likes this.
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