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I dont consider myself an expert but I am a knowledgeable amateur I saw your kit on Amazon for $3700 and that seems high. If I were creating a system like that I would probably go for the following components available online

 

Morningstar TS-MPPT-45 charge controller + meter - $480

SunTech 275W Polycrystalline Solar Panel x2 - $436

both from eco-direct (http://www.ecodirect.com)

3000 Watt Pure Sine Inverter Charger and auto transfer switch - $729

from the inverter store (http://www.theinverterstore.com)

wire, connectors, misc $100 from local suppliers

 

total $1745

 

I have dealt with these companies and found them to be reliable and with good customer service. I am using some of their products and have been for the last year with no problems, I cant speak to the relative quality vs the system you are enquiring about and you would need to be able to do the installation of the components yourself and that might be easier if you buy a kit that comes with instructions. Hope this gives you some comparison point for your shopping

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From my experience, I have never seen a commercial pre-bundled kit that could come close to justifying the cost. You will typically pay 2-5 times more for a bundle like that and will generally end up with one component or another that will leave the system unable to produce anywhere close to the rated capacities.

 

Just at a glance, in the case of the 480watt system you mentioned, the solar controller is inadequate for the system (30amp PWM), the charger is not able to produce sufficient current to properly charge a quasi decent battery bank (13.6v max), and the wiring included will "bottle neck" energy flow (#10).

 

Kinseypw gave a great example of the major price difference, however, they were giving a general quote for equipment that would actually be much more robust than what is being offered in the Go Power package you referenced. If pricing apples to applies, with what is included in the Go Power kit, you would be looking more at around $1100 worth of equipment in the same class.

 

Some folks just don't want to deal with the learning curve and hunting down decent equipment, and those bundled system can have some appeal, but the internet is a wonderful thing! Jack Mayer has a fantastic write up on RV electrical and solar systems. It's easy to understand and very thorough. On top of that... there are any number of very solar savy folks available in the forums that would be happy to answer any questions you might have... as well as help you find the best equipment and pricing.

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There can be some advantage to purchasing a pre packaged ready to go turn key type of solar system (if properly designed and specified) for a complete novice and non sparky who doesn't want to take the time and energy to do his or her own research to select and match all the necessary components BUT THAT COMES WITH A HEFTY PRICE DIFFERENCE. The trade off is if a person studies and researches and can make wise engineering correct choices and shop around for components HE CAN SAVE CONSIDERABLY.

 

A buddy with a truck camper who has a 50 watt rooftop panel and controller recently went back to the dealer where he purchased his rig and asked for a price to add another 50 watt panel THE PRICE HE WAS QUOTED WAS SOMETHING LIKE $1,000. When I told him he could buy a 100 Watt Panel for not much over $100 and if needed say a 20 Amp MPPT Charge Controller and do it himself and save maybe over $700, I was attacked saying I (retired electrical engineer) didn't know what I was talking about and he wanted a "good" system. Well okayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy its his money

 

I'm NOT saying the system or price quoted is bad, I'm ONLY saying in general if you take the time to study and research and shop around, you may (or may NOT) be able to install an equivalent system for A LOT LESS MONEY. ALSO I'm NOT knocking anyone who doesn't want to mess with or learn but just wants to hire it all done regardless of the price, that's his or her money and his or her free choice DO AS YALL PLEASE.

 

I didn't take the time as Yarome did to analyze the system and all its components, but based on what he indicated, if accurate, I DONT CONSIDER THE SYSTEM AS EXCEPTIONALLY WELL DESIGNED and NOT how I might do it (but I tend to over design lol). I would make sure my solar charge controller could handle the max potential current (depends on how panels are connected) plus a safety factor and size my wire to minimize voltage drop from panels down to controller etc etc

 

But if a person is satisfied with a package purchase and installation and not have to worry or mess with the particulars, that's fine by me even if I could do it myself for a lot less bucks. All folks aren't as "frugal" (tightwad) as I am lol

 

Merry Christmas

 

John T

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Actually I found the AMSolar kit I used to be price effective. I didn't use their down run wire as I wanted an increased size. But I used their wire for another project.

 

True. That's a different animal all together though. Reputable installers/retailers, like AMSolar, mix and match components as needed for a custom system. It might cost a little more than piecing a system together yourself, but it's many times more preferable than going with a 'canned' pre-bundled system.

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You are almost always better off putting together your own system, as Yarome says. Both from a cost and performance/quality perspective. And the additional benefit is a greater understanding of what is going on. I have suggested systems on my website, BUT they are simply examples. There are many other equally good combinations of components.

Edited by Jack Mayer

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From a website:


"The Solar Extreme is Go Power.'s largerst solar and inverter system on the market. This system will produce enough power to run up to 3000 watts of appliances or electronics at a time and depending on your exposure to the sun, top up your battery bank at a rate of 27 amps per hour....."


Interesting description. You don't "run" things with solar, you charge batteries. Run 3000w of things? I don't think so. 27 amps "per hour"? Amps are never per hour. It's just amps.

Edited by oldman

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Hey oldman, good point.

 

1) Lets just say you did have a full 480 Watts of solar (we know unless there's perfect directed bright sun you're NOT going to harvest all that)

 

2) Lets say via the charge controller (it has energy losses) you were delivering 13.6 ( may start at 14.4 and float at 13.2) charging volts to your batteries

 

3) 480/13.6 = 35 MAX amps and again, that amount will NOT be achieved due to inefficiencies and heat and voltage losses. 27 actual amps is realistic and

depending on sun and angle, sure you "could" harvest "27 amps per hour" and if you did for an hour, that would be 27 Amp Hours of Energy

 

AS YOU INDICATE subject to the amp hours of energy storage in your battery bank, sure you could power 3000 watts UNTIL THE BATTERIES DISCHARGED.

 

4) Iffffffffffff you were drawing 3000 watts at lets use 12 volts from you battery to power an Inverter, that's 250+ amps out of the batteries.

 

5) If you had lets use 500 Amp Hours of battery energy storage and were drawing 3000 watts out to power a 12 VDC to 120 VAC Inverter, IT WOULD ONLY TAKE ONE HOUR (250 Amp Hours) FOR YOUR BATTERIES TO BE REDUCED TO 50% CAPACITY (I don't like over 20% to 30%)

 

 

IS IT SAFE TO SAY THERE IS A DEGREE OF "HYPERBOLE" IN THE MANUFACTURERS CLAIMS???????????????????? However see how they cleverly state

"up to 3000 watts at a time" and don't talk about battery energy storage capacity HMMMMMMMMMMM Of course, during that one hour the solar can be delivering energy into the batteries so it may not be quite as bad as I let on, but I'm sure you get the point

 

Disclaimer, this is ONLY a rough approximation and NOT based on any actual specifications or data, so don't anyone have a calf.

 

John T

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Complete marketing hype (read: lying) designed to wow the uneducated.

And that is not unusual in the solar world...unfortunately. There is rarely a good experience with packaged systems. Period.

 

Some people are happy with them, but they are not aware of how they are misrepresented. Far better to learn enough to put together your own system, or at least to be educated enough to KNOW what you are getting.

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Some people are happy with them, but they are not aware of how they are misrepresented. Far better to learn enough to put together your own system, or at least to be educated enough to KNOW what you are getting.

So true. Many end up getting their education after the sale.

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Thanks for all the responses. I'm leaning towards installing my own system after reviewing all your comments. Looking to start the install next spring. We are going to start fulltiming January 2017.

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I'm starting my list of materials and design of my solar system. I want smaller panels so I'm looking at 4 solar tech 140 watt, 18 volt panels. Would it be wise to wire them in series (two pairs) and paralle them to the charge controller. Would get 36 volts to the charge controller.

 

My list so far.

 

Charge controller, Morningstar mppt 45

Battery Monitor, Trimetic 2030

Inverter/charger/auto transfer switch, Aims 3000 watt pure sine and remote monitor.

Solar Tech 140 watt 18 volt panels x4

 

Thank you,

Rick

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Thank you Jack, I have been on your site and it has been very helpful. So what are your thoughts for my plan on the planels.

 

Thank you

If you use the panels you indicated and the MPPT45 then yes, do a series/parallel. Just make sure that a string does not get shaded if possible. You will lose that string if it does.

 

I assume there is a reason for you using those panels instead of a larger, higher voltage panel.....so I'm not addressing that aspect of your plan.

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Looking for an experts opinion on the Go Power Extreme 480 watt solar kit.

One thing I'm missing is What Are You Using the Solar On. You mentioned your going full timing next year so I suspect you have part of the system already or you would like to upgrade the present system. By present system I'm referring to your 12 volt Battery(s) and components on 12 volts.

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I can't get the higher voltage panels to fit on the roof. 36" is max I can go on the width. Can't fine any higher voltage panels 36" wide.

 

We sold or S & B in May and are living in the 5th wheel right now on our daughters property until the end of the year. Our 5th wheel is a 39' Sanibel. I already changed the single 12 volt battery to 4/6 volts. We have no solar system at this time but want to add it so we are able to do so boondocking.

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I can't get the higher voltage panels to fit on the roof. 36" is max I can go on the width. Can't fine any higher voltage panels 36" wide.

 

We sold or S & B in May and are living in the 5th wheel right now on our daughters property until the end of the year. Our 5th wheel is a 39' Sanibel. I already changed the single 12 volt battery to 4/6 volts. We have no solar system at this time but want to add it so we are able to do so boondocking.

My 29V panels extend out over the side awning but are raised off the roof about 4 inches thus above the awning roller. THINK out of the box... This allowed me to use the large panels. They lay lengthwise and fit between the air conditioner and over the awning on the street side. I raised the inside edge that is close to the A/C unit it about 8 inches above the roof to minimize the chance of shading. I have 6 large residentil panels for a total of about 1300 watts. 58V series-parallel wired to the Midnight Solar Classic 150 controller.

Ted

Edited by TedNRuthy

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Thank you for all your responses. I found this panel and would like to get your thoughts. I can get 12 of these on the roof if I needed to, not that I will. I'm going to use 100 amps as my average to get my number of panels needed.

 

https://www.ervsolar.com/Grape-195W-Fixed-Frame-Solar-Panel-GS-S-195-Fab3

 

Thank again for your responses,

Rick

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Thank you for all your responses. I found this panel and would like to get your thoughts. I can get 12 of these on the roof if I needed to, not that I will. I'm going to use 100 amps as my average to get my number of panels needed.

 

https://www.ervsolar.com/Grape-195W-Fixed-Frame-Solar-Panel-GS-S-195-Fab3

 

Thank again for your responses,

Rick

With the 36V panels, you show in the link, it would be easier to run all the panels in parallel, thus limiting the effects of shading. Also the pricing is about $1/watt.

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