Posted by *Malc* on February 6, 2006, 8:42 pm

*> Hi everyone,*

*> I live in Central Texas where we have very warm summers plus with our*

*> electric cost going up (currently at 13.75 cents per kWh and going up*

*> monthly it seems) I'm looking at alternative ways to bring the bill*

*> down.*

*> Ideally I'd love to convert as much to Solar as possible, but I don't*

*> have thousands to spend on doing it. I'd like to start working on a*

*> system that starts small, maybe one solar panel and a couple of*

*> batteries to run some lights, the TV, and possibly other small*

*> appliances, and eventually grow from there.*

*> I have no idea how to calculate watts and amps useage from batteries*

*> and what kind of recharging time or power I'd need from solar panels.*

*> Also do I need special types of batteries to get 110 volts or is it*

*> feasible to use 12 volt batteries for such a project.*

As others have said you would do best to start with reducing your

consumption first.

Your 110V is AC (alternating current) whilst batteries are DC (direct

current). To convert DC to AC you need an inverter which can be got for

surprisingly little cash.

Converting watts to amps and volts is fairly easy. Watts = amps multiplied

by volts. or W=IV where I = amps. So a 60 watt 110 Volt bulb would take

60/110 or about 0.5Amps. If you were to run that from a battery via an

inverter you would still be taking 60W out of your battery so that would be

60/12 = 5Amps (assuming your inverter is 100% efficient which it isn't).

Now you have Amp Hours which is the capacity of your battery. A 1AH battery

will give you 1 amp for one hour. So to run your 60W bulb for one hour you

would need a 5 amp hour battery (again assuming 100% efficiency). To run it

for say 4 hours for reading in the evening would require a 20 amp hour

battery. Probably best to add at least 20% to that for the inefficiency of

the invertor.

--

Malc

"Ah, that did it. Spare brain in action, I'm ready to go again!"

Posted by *dold* on February 6, 2006, 9:47 pm

*> I live in Central Texas where we have very warm summers plus with our*

*> electric cost going up (currently at 13.75 cents per kWh and going up*

*> monthly it seems) I'm looking at alternative ways to bring the bill*

*> down.*

Visit your local power agency's web site. They probably have pages about

advice for reducing your bill, before involving solar.

They should also have pages about the solar rebates available.

http://www.dsireusa.org/library/includes/map2.cfm?CurrentPageID=1&State=TX

Austin looks like it has some programs.

--

---

Clarence A Dold - Hidden Valley (Lake County) CA USA 38.8,-122.5

Posted by *Doug Simpson* on February 6, 2006, 11:50 pm

Visit this page and see what it says. It is a calculator for solar

system sizing.

http://dsjscrd.gotdns.com/calc

Also, visit otherpower.com and on IRC, irc.anotherpower.com and join

#otherpower. Lots of brians there! Lots of math and calculations people,

too!

Doug

Alex wrote:

*> Hi everyone,*

*> *

*> I live in Central Texas where we have very warm summers plus with our*

*> electric cost going up (currently at 13.75 cents per kWh and going up*

*> monthly it seems) I'm looking at alternative ways to bring the bill*

*> down.*

*> *

*> Ideally I'd love to convert as much to Solar as possible, but I don't*

*> have thousands to spend on doing it. I'd like to start working on a*

*> system that starts small, maybe one solar panel and a couple of*

*> batteries to run some lights, the TV, and possibly other small*

*> appliances, and eventually grow from there.*

*> *

*> I have no idea how to calculate watts and amps useage from batteries*

*> and what kind of recharging time or power I'd need from solar panels.*

*> Also do I need special types of batteries to get 110 volts or is it*

*> feasible to use 12 volt batteries for such a project.*

*> *

*> Thanks for any ideas or starting points --*

*> *

*> Sam*

*> *

Posted by *Doug Simpson* on February 7, 2006, 2:29 am

Doug Simpson wrote:

*> Visit this page and see what it says. It is a calculator for solar *

*> system sizing.*

*> *

*> http://dsjscrd.gotdns.com/calc *

*> *

*> Also, visit otherpower.com and on IRC, irc.anotherpower.com and join *

*> #otherpower. Lots of brians there! Lots of math and calculations people, *

Should have been brains, not brians!

*> too!*

*> *

*> Doug*

*> *

*> Alex wrote:*

*> *

*>> Hi everyone,*

*>>*

*>> I live in Central Texas where we have very warm summers plus with our*

*>> electric cost going up (currently at 13.75 cents per kWh and going up*

*>> monthly it seems) I'm looking at alternative ways to bring the bill*

*>> down.*

*>>*

*>> Ideally I'd love to convert as much to Solar as possible, but I don't*

*>> have thousands to spend on doing it. I'd like to start working on a*

*>> system that starts small, maybe one solar panel and a couple of*

*>> batteries to run some lights, the TV, and possibly other small*

*>> appliances, and eventually grow from there.*

*>>*

*>> I have no idea how to calculate watts and amps useage from batteries*

*>> and what kind of recharging time or power I'd need from solar panels.*

*>> Also do I need special types of batteries to get 110 volts or is it*

*>> feasible to use 12 volt batteries for such a project.*

*>>*

*>> Thanks for any ideas or starting points --*

*>>*

*>> Sam*

*>>*

Posted by *Gary* on February 6, 2006, 11:58 pm

Alex wrote:

*> Hi everyone,*

*> *

*> I live in Central Texas where we have very warm summers plus with our*

*> electric cost going up (currently at 13.75 cents per kWh and going up*

*> monthly it seems) I'm looking at alternative ways to bring the bill*

*> down.*

*> *

*> Ideally I'd love to convert as much to Solar as possible, but I don't*

*> have thousands to spend on doing it. I'd like to start working on a*

*> system that starts small, maybe one solar panel and a couple of*

*> batteries to run some lights, the TV, and possibly other small*

*> appliances, and eventually grow from there.*

*> *

*> I have no idea how to calculate watts and amps useage from batteries*

*> and what kind of recharging time or power I'd need from solar panels.*

*> Also do I need special types of batteries to get 110 volts or is it*

*> feasible to use 12 volt batteries for such a project.*

*> *

*> Thanks for any ideas or starting points --*

*> *

*> Sam*

*> *

Hi Alex,

As others have already mentioned, solar electricity (PV) is not the best way to

save energy if you are on a budget.

I'd think about taking this approach:

- Go through the electric loads in your house as if you were going to put in a

PV system -- paying $ to $0 per peak watt for initial installation of a PV

system makes most people real believers in electricity conservation. Some

people report cutting there power consumption by 50% or more. Having a

Kill-A-Watt meter helps in figuring out where the power is going.

But, after you do this don't put the PV system in -- use a fraction of the PV

money for the items below.

- Do the best you can to bring your insulation levels up and your air

infiltration down -- this will help both your heating and cooling bill. Here is

some info to start with:

http://www.builditsolar.com/Projects/Conservation/conservation.htm

- Think about using a solar water heater. This is probably the most cost

effective solar investment. It is many times times more cost effective than

energy from solar PV. Many solar water heating systems are simple, and make

good DIY projects if you are so inclined. Some info to start with here:

http://www.builditsolar.com/Projects/WaterHeating/water_heating.htm

- Take a look at this section on passive and simple active cooling techniques,

and see if any of them are applicable to your house/climate:

http://www.builditsolar.com/Projects/Cooling/passive_cooling.htm

- Think about using solar space heating. Solar thermal collectors that might

contribute up to about 30% of your heating needs can be built for less than a

$000 (potentially much less). These are simple systems that don't require

complex thermal storage. Some information to get started with:

http://www.builditsolar.com/Projects/SpaceHeating/Space_Heating.htm

Good luck with your project!

Gary

--

Gary

www.BuildItSolar.com

gary@BuildItSolar.com

"Build It Yourself" Solar Projects

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> Hi everyone,> I live in Central Texas where we have very warm summers plus with our> electric cost going up (currently at 13.75 cents per kWh and going up> monthly it seems) I'm looking at alternative ways to bring the bill> down.> Ideally I'd love to convert as much to Solar as possible, but I don't> have thousands to spend on doing it. I'd like to start working on a> system that starts small, maybe one solar panel and a couple of> batteries to run some lights, the TV, and possibly other small> appliances, and eventually grow from there.> I have no idea how to calculate watts and amps useage from batteries> and what kind of recharging time or power I'd need from solar panels.> Also do I need special types of batteries to get 110 volts or is it> feasible to use 12 volt batteries for such a project.