I am going to have 2kwh solar array installed by Bauer Power of Michigan and Illinois. I will take photos and blog about the process. So far, I have put half the money down and they have ordered all the materials. I am taking advantage of huge tax breaks offered by both Illinois and the Federal government. The tax breaks pay for roughly 50% of the installation. I already have a PHEV Prius and plan to fuel up using this solar array! It will also give me some peace of mine for power outages. I always worry about my sump pump failing or the heat going out in the winter. The webpage for Bauer Power is www.bauerpower.com
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My solar project installed by Bauer Power! 2kwh with battery back uppost #1 of 401/18/09 at 8:13pmThread Starterpost #2 of 401/23/09 at 10:52ampost #3 of 401/27/09 at 1:42pmThread Starterpost #4 of 401/27/09 at 4:59pmpost #5 of 401/28/09 at 9:35am
Kickass dude. Best of luck to your new system! Are you get a battery setup too? I've been playing around with the Sharp Solar Cost calculator and found that in upstate NY you can get more than 50%. For a 2,500W system (estimated cost of $20,000) you can get a $10,000 rebate and $5,500 tax credit. :) That will leave you with an estimated cost of $4,500. Not sure how accurate the website is but if it is. Damn.... I can pay that off in one year without breaking a sweat. :) Here is the website link I've been playing around with.post #6 of 401/28/09 at 2:11pmThread Starter
I have purchased the materials and Bauer Power has done an on site inspection. There are scheduled to install next week over two days. I will have a two day battery back up. I wish I could afford more kwh but even with the rebates, I have taken on all that I can. When I am able to, I plan to add a solar water heater next.post #7 of 402/21/09 at 7:50pmThread Starterpost #8 of 402/23/09 at 10:59amThread Starterpost #9 of 402/23/09 at 11:24ampost #10 of 402/24/09 at 5:17pmThread Starterpost #11 of 402/27/09 at 9:45ampost #12 of 402/28/09 at 12:20pmpost #13 of 403/1/09 at 1:11pmThread Starterpost #14 of 403/1/09 at 1:16pmThread Starterpost #15 of 403/1/09 at 2:01pmpost #16 of 403/2/09 at 9:45ampost #17 of 403/7/09 at 5:11pmThread Starterpost #18 of 403/8/09 at 5:18pmThread Starter
Here is the back up battery system and the wiring that is in the house. The final wiring will be done in two weeks. Boy...I could have used that back up power today! My power was out for 4 hours after storms went through! If I had my system up and running already...I would have had my refrigerator, furnace, sump pump, living room outlets, and kitchen outlets. I wouldn't even have noticed that the power was out!post #19 of 403/9/09 at 2:22pmpost #20 of 403/10/09 at 7:32pmThread Starter
They have to connect the panels together and then bury the cable and run it in to the circuit box. They also have to identify the 5 circuits I want for emergency power. I chose fridge, sump pump, furnace, living room outlets, and kitchen outlets. After all is installed and working, an inspector must come and pass the set up.post #21 of 403/11/09 at 11:47ampost #22 of 403/11/09 at 11:22pmpost #23 of 403/12/09 at 3:48pm
What kind of batteries are those? I'm assuming that as they are going to be in that locker that they are sealed AGM or gel otherwise you'd have to have them vented to let the gas escape. My batteries are flooded ones but the tops have breather tube holes so I ran some poly tubing to outside to get rid of the gas when charging.
Wherever the batteries live, you should try to keep them cool as temperatures above 25C accellerate the self-destruction of the cells. If they are kept in 35C, you'll halve their life.
On the other hand an outhouse can get too cold in the winter. Batteries don't perform well below 5C.
Take care to make sure they are wired up so that they balance properly. You've got 8 batteries. Depending on the inverter, your best bet is to have them all in series to give you a 96V bank. If you connect them in parallel-series then you have to make sure they are wired with the same lengths of wire through each group or else some will be loaded and charged more than others and the bank will get unbalanced and some of the batteries will die early.
Edited by AccordGuy - 3/12/2009 at 11:03 pmpost #24 of 403/15/09 at 8:38pmThread Starter
Thank you for all the good information. Honestly, I don't know the particulars on the batteries but I will find out. Yes, I believe they are gel. Bauer Power is very experienced in installation so I have confidence in them but..still good questions to ask! Thanks for your input and I will try to find out. They are going to finish this project the next two days!post #25 of 403/17/09 at 10:57amThread Starter
Sorry, it took so long to get back to you. It was about 27000 including taxes and I am getting about half back with rebates and tax breaks. I'm not sure how much it will produce yet. It is rated at about 2.03 KWH. Yesterday, when first hooked up, it was producing 1.37 KWH instantaneously. I expect it to generate around 25% of my electricity and emergency power. I will get actual numbers later.post #26 of 403/17/09 at 6:57pmThread Starter
Yeah! They finished up today! Now, I'll keep everyone updated as the system becomes engaged! This will be a lot of fun. The final bit of work was trenching the line to the house and hooking up all the emergency power. Bauer Power had to find the right lines. My house is very old and has been remodeled several times, making the installation a bit challenging.post #27 of 403/17/09 at 8:56pmpost #28 of 403/18/09 at 12:23pm
Nice... Gel cells are good for standby operation as they can sit for months without self-discharging but they're very sensitive to charging voltage and balance. There needs to be a temperature sensor ideally glued to one of the batteries to measure it's temperature. It's so that the charger (which will be some distance away from the batteries) can accurately measure and compensate for the battery temperature which has a marked impact on the charging voltage that should be used.
Some chargers only have an on-board temperature sensor (like mine) but that can easily give a false reading as it is in a different part of the room from the batteries and is measuring the temperature of the charger and not the battery! If the charger is passing a lot of current on a sunny day, it will heat up and the internal sensor will give a very false reading. So I bought the optional remote sensor that plugs into the charger and can be attached to the batteries by a long wire.
If the locker is somewhere near a window, make sure that there isn't a time of day or year when the sun can shine on it as this will heat it up a lot, even on a cold day.
Under or overcharging gel cells with too low or high a voltage for their temperature can result in sulphation or gassing which will destroy a gel cell quickly.
The charger should reduce the charge voltage as the battery temperature goes above 25C (the temperature at which the manufacturer quotes the charge voltages) and increase it as the temperature goes down below 25C. To give you an idea of how different it should be, a 12V typical gel battery should be charged at 25C at 14.0V in it's absorption phase. At 35C it should be charged at 13.7V and at 15C it should be charged at 14.3V.
Series-parallel banks of gel batteries pose special problems because you cannot equalise charge the cells. Some AGM and all flooded batteries can be over-charged for 2-3 hours a month if being used in frequent discharge cycles to ensure that all the cells get to 100% charge and all the lead sulphate is converted back to Lead. Otherwise, weak cells tend to accumulate hard, permanent lead sulphate as they never reach 100%, which makes them weaker and the battery dies because of one dead cell. Gel cells are destroyed by equalise charging but because they can't be equalised you run the risk of a weak battery dying if the parallel bank isn't closely balanced and it gets consistently under charged. So it's best to only use gel batteries in series so that they all get excactly the same charge and discharge.
Looked after carefully, a set of gel batteries should last more than 10 years in standby use. Abused, they can die in months...post #29 of 403/24/09 at 12:43pmThread Starter
- My solar project installed by Bauer Power! 2kwh with battery back up
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