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Assemble your own portable solar systems

Discussion in 'Off Grid Living' started by Nadja, Feb 12, 2011.

  1. Nadja

    Nadja RIP 3-11-2013 Forum Leader

    This thread is for the people that want a portable solar generator system or at least think so.

    Most of the ones you see advertised on tv or sales junk from China at best. They will NOT power you whole house as the adds will deceive you into believing. But if you build your own , at least for the money your spending you will get a lot more use out of it.

    If your further interested, we can talk about it here and maybe stop you from spending around $2,000.00 for something that will not do the job. I would be willing to bet , that I and a few others here can help you assemble your own for a little more then that that will give you at least twice the usable amount of power and years of dependable service. It all depends on what you want to do with it.
  2. Falcon15

    Falcon15 Falco Peregrinus

    I am ready. Give me information. PLEASE. Thank you.
  3. Nadja

    Nadja RIP 3-11-2013 Forum Leader

    Falcon, you will need to tell my your asperations or what you want your solar system to accomplish before I can fill in the blanks for you.
  4. Falcon15

    Falcon15 Falco Peregrinus

    Fair enough. I have a family of 5. We have looked at the 1800 watt system ostensibly made by Solutions From Science and carried at Northern Tool. If your solution is inexpensive enough, we may build two or perhaps build something with double the wattage.
  5. TnAndy

    TnAndy Senior Member Founding Member

    I think more of what Nadja was looking for was what do you want to power, and for how long. The number of family members not being too relevant.

    That overpriced, 1800w system makes ( or at least suggests ) outrageous claims that a well built $10,000 system probably couldn't deliver on......

    IMHO, no 'portable' solar power system is going to deliver much more than some very short term power of any amount, and best case, would be a long term solution to very small needs.....cell recharging, small computer, few LED lights, that type of thing.

    Go look at my post "real world solar numbers" and you can see what a $20k system does, and in terms of today's home electrical use, it AIN'T that much. You certainly won't be cooking, heating water, space heating, or drying clothes with even the size system I have.....I designed mine to do the basics.....refrigeration, some lighting, and occasional use of the washing machine. It will do that....and maybe a little more......for an indefinite period of time.

    The 1800w system will do that too.....for about 15 minutes. :D

    Point being, you have to examine WHAT you want to do ( in terms of watts used, AND for how long ), and then figure the equipment to do it.

    There are very few easy or cheap solutions when it comes to AltE, unless your needs are very small. Folks need to understand the whole concept of "portable" solar power means VERY LITTLE power....heck, my battery bank weighs in at 3,000lbs...it ain't that portable unless you have a truck.

    The marketing hype of sellers of 1800w systems doesn't negate the laws of physics....but what the sellers of 1800w systems have going for them is most people don't understand the laws of physics....ahahahaaa....

    For what they sell, most people would be FAR better off to buy a small generator...like a nice, quiet, dependable, little Honda inverter type unit, and store some fuel. For 1/2 the money, they could supply 10 times the power, and for a much longer period of time.
  6. Nadja

    Nadja RIP 3-11-2013 Forum Leader

    Thank-you Andy. I don't have the gift of gab as you do, so I am happy to see that you worded what I really would like to be able to do. I would like to further educate the people here as to how little they actually get for their money when buying those overpriced white elephants as seen on tv. Most of what I see of these advertise just one panel, size unknown, but yet claim 1800 watts usability. I find that fact alone most interesting. Again, Thank-you
  7. Nadja

    Nadja RIP 3-11-2013 Forum Leader

    Falcon, as you have read by now, there are many factors involved in starting a solar system, and as Andy says, the amount of people really have little to do with your system and what it can produce. Far better for you to start by determining what you will actually need to provide with solar. First of all, is if for emergancy use only, or for full time use, I.E off the grid as I am. ? One thing you really need to know and focus in on is this: ANY elect. heating device is going to be a no no if you want to use solar, other then a very few minutes. You would be far better off to go with a gas range, water heater, heaters , dryers, etc and then when that is done, consider operating the rest of your house on solar. Even for an emergancy use, those units will not preform well, at least as Andy says , more then a few minutes at most.
  8. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    Step 1:
    Figure out what you want the system to do. (Short term small loads, intermediate term, thru long term to off grid.)
    Step 2:
    Size the system to accommodate Step 1; add up all the loads (nameplate data) to meet the Step 1 requirements, and add a fudge factor to allow for starting motor loads.
    Step 3:
    Make your materials list and price it out. Prioritize purchases according to cash flow Do not downsize the critical long term components to save money in the short haul, and don't forget price increases over time.
    Step 4:
    Run the numbers and see when payback happens (if it matters.) Don't forget maintenance costs, this is a life cycle analysis.
    Step 5:
    Go back to Step 2 and revise as needed to reduce costs now that you know what the build out will run. Take out the "nice to haves" and see what the "must haves" do to the costs. (Or, if somehow you came in under budget, add in some goodies.)

    This approach works whether solar, wind, Genset or other. Your analysis will NOT be final without a couple iterations. It also works for portable systems, the loads will be far less or portable it won't be.
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