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Solar backup gen

Discussion in 'Off Grid Living' started by whofarted, Jul 18, 2011.

  1. whofarted

    whofarted Monkey+

    Hi all, I was refered here by Nadja from a question about solar needs in an extended power out situation.

    Here's a copy of my post:

    I'm thinking of getting a little solar backup gen. for SHTF without electricity.

    I'm aware that A/C is bad due to large power use but I'm thinking of a few things here:

    1.) I just love it & want it. Yes, I admit this. [​IMG]

    2.) We're in a heatwave here St. Louis, MO this weeks forecast is mostly 97 - 100 highs with 113 - 115 heat indexes. I've heard reports of heat related deaths. So this can actually be pretty important. [​IMG]

    3.) My mom has hayfever & allergies. Her eyes will swell shut in the spring if outside to long or even if the windows on the house are open. She can't stay in an un A/C'ed closed up house with temps over 95 degrees all day. She's also getting older. She turned 62 last month...... OLD! lmao [​IMG]

    I'm only looking to be able to cool maybe one room. I'm thinking the basement would be best, with a window unit. I've got a tiny window unit (I believe it says 10amp on the cord) & I do have an inverter but it's a modified wave (something like a 1500Watt) not pure sine wave [​IMG] (problem?)

    When it's not hot I could use the solar for other things like a mixer for bread, small microwave maybe, lights, t.v., etc. Basically a good backup gen for emergencies.

    So far what little I've looked at seems like i'm gonna shell some serious dough for it. Some of my guesses are as low as $800.00 to as high as $2000.00 [​IMG] better be freeking cold for that price!!!>

    What kind of panels, voltage (12,24, etc), inverter etc. I know I'll get all kinds of answers but links & info to help dcide would be appriciated.

    TIA for any help. [​IMG]<!-- / message -->
  2. Nadja

    Nadja RIP 3-11-2013 Forum Leader

    Welcome to the board whofarted. First of all , let me inform you that when you want or need to run a small or large ac. that there will be a lot of power needed. Those small "solar generators" are junk at best and are not going to give you anything resembling the power you will need . It is sad, but true . They tell you in some cases that they will run your entire house in the event of an emergency, just not so. I doubt that you could run your small window unit for more then 10 minutes if at all on one of them.

    When you save you have a 1500 watt mod. sine wave inverter, I am assuming that you have a Trace or Xantrax, is that correct ? The inverter if one of those would likely do what you needed with little or now problems. What you could do is , with the mod sine wave inverter, presuming it has the battery charger built in, would be to purchase a bank of the Trojen T-105 6v. golf cart batteries, and connecting them in series and parallel configure them to 12v. You could put them in where you could keep them charged all the time on grid power, then in the event of the grid going down ext. then you could power up a couple of things on your system. It would that way not require solar panels, but will only last as long as your batteries are charged. You would also need a "transfer swithch" installed to keep you and others safe and legal. This switch cannot be jerry rigged by you or any other normal person. It needs to be done by the power co. or someone they have already approved to do this.

    Now, since you already have the inverter, you would just need to buy batteries and hd cables. You may shop around at wallworld etc and find a fairly cheap or good deal on the same type of batteries. They will work, but cannot tell you how long or well. I ususally recomend the Trojen T-105's as I and lots of other people use them and have for years now. Nadja
  3. whofarted

    whofarted Monkey+

    Thanks Nadja. I really meant "make" a little solar gen. I'm wondering what i'll need for solar panels, charge controller, etc. I'm not interested in wiring to the house, Just mount to some boards & wheel into the sun and hook up if needed. No perm. hook-ups. ;)

    Also if you know of some reputable sites with good prices for solar panels.

    Thanks again.
  4. thebastidge

    thebastidge Monkey+

    Nadja's point stands: you're not going to get the power output you're talking about from a "small" system. Certainly not something you could just wheel out when you want it.
  5. Nadja

    Nadja RIP 3-11-2013 Forum Leader

    As far as panels are concerned, I always use the Japenese panels, but lately I am looking to buy a couple of the German "Shucko" panels. Outstanding buy and also well backed up. Again, what you buy should be determined by what you want or need to power up. Be a lot more specific in your needs.
  6. -06

    -06 Monkey+++

    A good bud has a straw bale home and off grid. They have @ 6500 watts of solar panels and last year installed a Generac Propane generator so they can have AC on days like these. They have a small diesel back up generator and now have two.
  7. Nadja

    Nadja RIP 3-11-2013 Forum Leader

    -06 Thats a mighty nice system your friend has. However it is far beyound the budget of most people, including me. I have close to 2k in panels, 500watts in wind geneie, and a couple of back up gennies.

    What whofarted is looking for is a "small system" for emergency use only at present time.
  8. whofarted

    whofarted Monkey+

    exactly, just to run a little a/c for 4-5 hrs on days when heat is like today. Heat index of 113. [shtf]
  9. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    So the question to ask is: How much energy are we talking about, in real numbers?

    ? Amps X 120 Vac = Watts X 5 Hours = ? WattHours of energy required for system, per day of operation.

    Remembering that it takes about 15% more energy to replace the energy used from the battery bank. SO, now we need good solid figures, to go on...
    Cephus likes this.
  10. -06

    -06 Monkey+++

    Hoping to get into solar also very soon--probably next year. Will only be putting in enough to help out to begin with. Panels yield 60 watts each so a half dozen should keep a small AC going. Have you considered a water tower (evaporator) for cooling. Chicken houses in our area have large panels mounted vertically(about 50' long-8' high) onto the sides. They are drip systems that keep the elements wet while fans pull cooled air through.
    ETA: if you have a pond/lake close you can put a radiator in the bottom to bring chilled air to your home.
  11. Cephus

    Cephus Monkey+++ Founding Member

    Hey BT how big a roll of paper do ya think we'll need to supply power with these.

    Video: Printable paper solar panels can power gadgets | SmartPlanet
  12. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    1% of Sunlight, is significant, IF it is CHEAP... Cheap => $1.00/Watt For that price, in Plastic Laminate, you could make it WORK for you.... HOWEVER, this is ALL Blue Sky, BS until it goes into Mass Production, and at the rate this place is spiraling down I do NOT see it getting there before the crash.... My Opinion... YMMV...
  13. Nadja

    Nadja RIP 3-11-2013 Forum Leader

    There was a new co. in the silly conehead valley a couple of years ago called "Nanosolar" that were putting out some solar panels at less then a buck a watt. I finally managed to get one of them on the phone, and he said that they were finally just getting into production. He also said that the first couple of years they would be supplying power to third world countries and then industrial here and then us poor folks that need it would be able to buy it. Comes in a roll... Found it to be very interesting.

    By the way, arn't we soon to be a third world country ? LOL
    hank2222, Sapper John and Cephus like this.
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