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solar or not, change of plans


GlennWest
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Well as everyone hear knows the C virus has keep me mostly unemployed. So no funds for projects. Fairly much staying put. What this has shown me though is my wife doesn't fair well traveling. So she wants to stay put. I am not ready to retire just yet. So decided to put Teton on our property here in Huntsville. Now solar panels are fairly cheap now. 4K of panels new I can get for $2k. I would not put these on roof though. Put on a rack and adjust them for max sun. Could put batteries at panels also. Now I can do this or just hook up to power company. Power is at our property so this not large expense. Already have the batteries. I think I want to pick up an older MH to stay in for work. Hotels run 4-700 weekly. Don't get much for 400 either. Seen some decent older MH gas for 12-20k. Smaller units, no slides. And I would have something for my money spent also this way. 

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With solar and components coming down in price I like to try and figure the least expensive way.  However, the grid over time is nearly always cheaper.  So that is my plan for our new home. It also should require less maintenance and headaches.

If you do plan to go solar for your home power I have seen where a container is used to house the components with the solar panels on top.  That looks like a good way to go IMO.

Good luck on your future plans.  Your projects and forum involvement has surely helped me and others so thankyou for that and hopefully there will be more to follow.

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I'm crusty enough that the ever increasing "Service" fees irk me to no end. Were it me, I'd be shopping hard for a Conex box, and as much solar and batteries as I could stuff in there. Volume pricing is your friend, here. I know 2 locals who are running solar, even with our short winter days. 1 cut ties after an extended service disruption, the other was too far away from the existing powerline. The rebel bought his batteries by the pallet, in 6 volt form. The new installation is using 2 volt batteries, but I'm not sure of the original application.

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Glenn, its MUCH cheaper to install a grid tie system (PLUS less maintenance) HOWEVER since Net Metering came into play (if available where you're at ??) its not as good for you investment wise as it was prior. If you can arrange a tilt system to better track the sun you will increase your solar harvest. Regardless of payback (if ever) I an engineer am still a fan of solar (grid tie or self contained) especially as prices keep dropping. FWIW I have a couple Trina panels that are performing great.

 

 Do your homework as you have always done and keep us posted

 

John T

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Been researching tracking systems and they are expensive. Don't think worth it. I will just use a manual adjustment. Just need to make it simple, one person, for DW if I away working. Be changing it according to the season. A simple boat crank with struts should work. Just remembered got an electric winch not even using. Solar angles here are 84 degrees summer, 36 winter, 60 spring and autumn. 

Edited by GlennWest
Correct error
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Been reading up on net metering. What I understand they credit for power used at retail only. If produce more that you use, buy at wholesale. It not mandatory in Texas. But understand is available. Need to talk to power company. I really think it is the way I should go. We will be self sufficient on sunny weather. It is days of rain with cloud cover that I would need help. Now if I take the battery out of the equation, I would burn power at night and overcasts. Could save battery for MH. 

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35 minutes ago, GlennWest said:

Been reading up on net metering. What I understand they credit for power used at retail only. If produce more that you use, buy at wholesale. It not mandatory in Texas. But understand is available. Need to talk to power company. I really think it is the way I should go. We will be self sufficient on sunny weather. It is days of rain with cloud cover that I would need help. Now if I take the battery out of the equation, I would burn power at night and overcasts. Could save battery for MH. 

Trouble with Texas is they have over 70 electric providers. Where I live, no net metering at all. My solar guy 20 miles away has net metering but only get credits on his bill and cannot sell excess power back to the electric company. Works for him because he can use those credits on his non solar houses. In some states they will buy your power at wholesale prices which may only be 1 or 2 cents per KW. Like you say, check with your different providers.

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On 12/9/2020 at 9:59 AM, GlennWest said:

Well as everyone hear knows the C virus has keep me mostly unemployed. So no funds for projects. Fairly much staying put. What this has shown me though is my wife doesn't fair well traveling. So she wants to stay put. I am not ready to retire just yet. So decided to put Teton on our property here in Huntsville. Now solar panels are fairly cheap now. 4K of panels new I can get for $2k. I would not put these on roof though. Put on a rack and adjust them for max sun. Could put batteries at panels also. Now I can do this or just hook up to power company. Power is at our property so this not large expense. Already have the batteries. I think I want to pick up an older MH to stay in for work. Hotels run 4-700 weekly. Don't get much for 400 either. Seen some decent older MH gas for 12-20k. Smaller units, no slides. And I would have something for my money spent also this way. 

Where can you find 4k of panels for 2k. I'm very much a newbie, won't be in my rv until Jan, but plan on boondocking the majority of the time so anywhere I can save a couple grand just makes the transition so much easier. 

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There's a seller on Las Vegas Facebook Marketplace offering Trina 250 watt panels for $50 each, local pickup only.  They're 6 year old panels removed from a major installation because they're upgrading to higher wattage panels.  I bought 6 out of the thousands she had available, they're in excellent shape and make their rated power.  It's impressive to see the back and side yards of a suburban house filled with pallet stacks of solar panels.

Watch out for shipping costs if you can't pick up locally at Santan or any other seller.  Larger used solar panels have to be strapped to a pallet for safe shipping, unless you're buying many at once the shipping charges can eat up a lot of the bargain price.  In my case with a semi-local seller I just stacked the panels in the bed of my pickup truck and secured them together with a couple of cargo straps.

Edited by Lou Schneider
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35 minutes ago, GlennWest said:

If I couldn't sell power back might not go that route. But we can have days of rain and I wonder if I be good with just solar and batteries. Having to use a generator??? Reliant Energy just down the road. Will contact them to find my options. How much solar you have?

I have 5200 watts, not enough to run house, [I have old fashioned big watts central air.} Your other option if you can't grid tie, is run grid power to transfer switch and use batteries and solar when possible, and switch over to grid power when batteries and solar can't handle it.

 

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What about a split sytem, off grid for typical uses, like lights, convenience power etc, then if you need to run AC or welder(that is my big achilles heel, I have 7 of them) then run that power off the on grid system.  Use 2 separate systems, not very much extra work if done from the beginning.

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My air conditioning is rather low power. My mini splits use 5-7 amps each. Actually one in bedroom doesn't run continuously. Cooking with ac and clothes dryer is only large draw we have. I am thinking start with 4800 watts.  On topic of heating, I wonder if fireplace, mine failed, used with mini splits would be enough heat in winter. We supplement with furnace now.

Edited by GlennWest
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1 hour ago, jcussen said:

I have 5200 watts, not enough to run house, [I have old fashioned big watts central air.} Your other option if you can't grid tie, is run grid power to transfer switch and use batteries and solar when possible, and switch over to grid power when batteries and solar can't handle it.

 

Transfer switch. Had not considered that. That probably best option. Just set up like originally planning and use an auto transformer for shore power when needed. Would need your help setting that up. Not familiar with them.

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36 minutes ago, GlennWest said:

Transfer switch. Had not considered that. That probably best option. Just set up like originally planning and use an auto transformer for shore power when needed. Would need your help setting that up. Not familiar with them.

https://www.electricgeneratorsdirect.com/stories/3-How-to-Pick-the-Perfect-Manual-Transfer-Switch.html

Not sure why you need an auto transformer. If your inverter supplies 240 volts to your trailer breaker panel, 50 amp grid power would do the same thing, transfer switch just picks one source or the other assuming your inverter would supply 240 volts with a neutral. If you only have 30 amp service, different situation. If an electric provider hard wires power to the transfer switch, should be easy to specify what voltage and amperage you want. 

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8 minutes ago, jcussen said:

https://www.electricgeneratorsdirect.com/stories/3-How-to-Pick-the-Perfect-Manual-Transfer-Switch.html

Not sure why you need an auto transformer. If your inverter supplies 240 volts to your trailer breaker panel, 50 amp grid power would do the same thing, transfer switch just picks one source or the other assuming your inverter would supply 240 volts with a neutral. If you only have 30 amp service, different situation. If an electric provider hard wires power to the transfer switch, should be easy to specify what voltage and amperage you want. 

Don't know why I typed transformer. Meant auto transfer switch

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6 minutes ago, GlennWest said:

Don't know why I typed transformer. Meant auto transfer switch

Auto transfer switch works fine with generators and shore power , but in your case would just keep track of your battery SOC, and just manually switch to grid power when batteries get low, manual switch is cheaper too.

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20 minutes ago, jcussen said:

Auto transfer switch works fine with generators and shore power , but in your case would just keep track of your battery SOC, and just manually switch to grid power when batteries get low, manual switch is cheaper too.

If I went with a manual, I would want it inside. An all day rain It would drain down batteries. Hate to have to go outside to switch. Reckon I could mount it beside my display. No points to burn out that way. 

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4 hours ago, GlennWest said:

My air conditioning is rather low power. My mini splits use 5-7 amps each. Actually one in bedroom doesn't run continuously. Cooking with ac and clothes dryer is only large draw we have. I am thinking start with 4800 watts.  On topic of heating, I wonder if fireplace, mine failed, used with mini splits would be enough heat in winter. We supplement with furnace now.

What outside temperatures do you need to use the "Furnace" ? I find the my Mini Splits are fine to the low 20's and even in the teens. They can be a bit more noisy at those temperatures though. The first time I heard it reverse to heat the coils and melt the frost I thought it was a goner. Thankfully it doesn't seem to have to do it very often. 

Rod

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4 minutes ago, lappir said:

What outside temperatures do you need to use the "Furnace" ? I find the my Mini Splits are fine to the low 20's and even in the teens. They can be a bit more noisy at those temperatures though. The first time I heard it reverse to heat the coils and melt the frost I thought it was a goner. Thankfully it doesn't seem to have to do it very often. 

Rod

Our floor gets cold. We were using it in the low 40's. I likely should have put the living room unit more central. 

Edited by GlennWest
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1 hour ago, GlennWest said:

Our floor gets cold. We were using it in the low 40's. I likely should have put the living room unit more central. 

With my basement and raised floor slides my floor is much warmer than my prior conventional 5th wheel. I do sometimes wish I had gone for the heated floors, but at the time they really had not been tested well in a Spacecraft. I think those who have used them are happy. 

I like things cooler, but have gotten used to a bit more heat to keep the condensation at bay. 

Rod

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