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PV Panels $.98/Watt? - Page 2

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Posted by Thomas on September 22, 2009, 8:25 pm

vaughn wrote:

since I'm local in Ft Lauderdale, would you care to describe a little of the
components that you currently use?
perhaps I can start up a similar system using some of the learnings you might
care to

Posted by vaughn on September 22, 2009, 9:05 pm

My system started out as simply a way to keep my generator's battery
charged.  For that, I was lucky enough to find 2 used, mismatched PV panels
that total about 100 watts in rating.  To keep from overcharging my battery,
I added a new C12 solar controller.  From there, I noticed that the C12
controller is designed to also control outside lighting, so I added 12 volt
compact fluorescent bulbs (1 amp of current draw each; 40 watts of equiv
light) in  porch light fixtures in our front and back yards.

That was about 7 years ago.  Over the years, I have upgraded the batteries,
but little else.  Those outside lamps last forever!  In the dark days
following our S. Florida hurricanes, My yard was the only one in the
neighborhood lit up at night, greatly confusing the neighbors, who were sure
that I somehow still had grid power.

Just lately, I have been gradually figuring out ways to pipe 12 volt
circuits inside the house.  (I have an old Florida CBS house with no attic
access so running new circuits ain't easy.  The first one was right between
our easy chairs in the family room, a lamp fixture with 2 of those 12-volt
CFL bulbs.  It serves as our everyday lamp and is powered only from the PV

As I add loads to the system and as my ancient PV panels age, I have been
noticing that my battery "fills up" later and later in the day.  For that
reason, I am adding that new 130-watt rating panel to the mix.



Posted by Thomas on September 23, 2009, 11:35 am



what's your take on the off-grid "complete systems"


for example, they have a 2000 watt system and that would cover all my
use 24/7 as all my systems are inverter controlled heatpumps (read: both
and air handlers are inverters, running ac to dc conversion and use very little
at start, slowly ramping up according to demand)

at the cost or about $000, do you have any idea what they mean by "complete" or
this an implied installation by sunelec or does it just mean that everything I
need, is included but it's up to me to figure out how to install and where to

Posted by vaughn on September 23, 2009, 6:26 pm

 First, I would call the price "nearly $,000", not "about $,000".
Second, I really doubt that system would run your home's AC 24/7 for the
simple reason that the sun does not shine 24/7.  Their "complete system"
does not seem to include installation labor, nor incidentals like the panel
mounting system.

(I am not saying that the system is a bad deal as PV system go, just trying
to fill you in on the "real world".)

A good conservative guess is that system would make about 10 kWh/day if
properly installed in South Florida (2 KW x 5 hours equiv full sunlight).
Check your power bill to see what you pay per kWh, but that will come to
less than $.00/day worth of power.  To the installed price of your system,
be sure to include an allowance for the use of about $0,000 and an
allowance to replace $,080 worth of batteries every few years plus
allowance for whatever incidental maintenance the system may need..

I don't know what condition your roof is in, but are you ready to have a
crew drill a few dozen holes in it to mount the panel frames?  Remember that
the installation job will need to be repeated if you need any roof work over
the life of the PV. system.  That won't be free!  Since you live in
hurricane country, you will want the very best panel rack system possible.
Further you will want to be sure that it is installed properly and
structurally tied to your roof beams so that everything does not take flight
in the next hurricane, leaving you with no power, a torn up roof, and
pissed-off neighbors who got their homes and cars torn up by the expensive
hardware flying off your roof.

Still sounding like a good idea?

I love PV, but you need to go into a project like that with your eyes wide


Posted by Thomas on September 24, 2009, 12:02 am

vaughn wrote:

ok.  just to make you aware, I run a 1 ton 12,000 BTU all-inverter system at 72
F year
heatpump, thus same coil produces both heat and cool, despite outside temps.
when it runs at full speed, max throttle, it consumes just 685 watts of power.

it would appear to be easy to meet the demand of this smart unit at such a low
both the compressor and air handler are full inverters, capable or running at

my other inverter heatpumps are running on more conservative settings for the
rest of
the house but
indoor temps never exceed 76 F in any part of the house

my entire house FPL powerbill is below $20 even during hotter months and this
includes pool pumps,
sprinkler pumps, water heater, stove, electronics, etc.

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