Installing my solar system has been a long project! Bartering for years for a friend who is a solar installer, we finally completed the system last month.
Above is the solar arbors I built last year(pic on left near the well rig). You can see its not ideal for sun but since I am in the forest its one of the best spots. A compromise since the best spot was hundreds of feet away and wire had become very expensive and hard to find last year. I used recycled wire for some of the project but in retrospect I don't think the saving of wire for ten years (and then finding a few pieces not good enough) was the best choice. I would probably just buy as I go if I had to do over.
The equipment was bought from www.backwoodssolar.com.(BW) They designed the system for free after I send the specs for distance and what my power needs were. They provide incredible customer support, a must for a novice like me.
SYSTEM: 24v-1000w of panels, 200ah battery
I had almost no experience with solar. However I have wired up three houses of my own and did some panel work. Being a novice, I still haven't figured out the programming but its getting there.
Heres some details you might find interesting:
MANUAL GENERATOR CHARGING: I added a sub panel at the generator: 30amp breaker for a cable and plug I recycled and made to fit generator (it also has a on off switch at generator which is turned off and on carefully to protect demagnetizing at generator).
DESIGNATED GENERATOR connect ADDED: I added a wire to a small panel near house to connect generator and my well direct for manual charging. What actually happened was that the big genie is not necessary to charge my solar system and I don't need a big one now for pumping well as I thought(low flow). It will be a back up in winter to pump well when the new DC well designated system is in. I might use this plug for big projects needed power tools too much for house circuit.
THREE BUILDINGS ON SYSTEM: My energy needs are small so the system is small.....1000w of panels, 200ah of battery. It can't handle all three building at once running a lot of devices and lights. But so far I power my art studio, guest house and cabin with the system and it works great! I just wish the panels gave me more power.....it barely charges the system enough on cloudy days to power the inverter!!!!
INVERTER TOO BIG?? I am still trying to figure things out and can only get so much help from others. I think the inverter is big and seems to use 22w of energy. My neighbor claims its better to have smaller inverters. But I do love the Victron durability. I was told by backwoods that it has an eco mode to program so will do that asap. However if I choose an electric fridge over a gas then the deck there said it may be slow to start up and lights might flicker?
DAILY USE: My daily use seems to average 36-90 watts. this is a mini fridge(temporary) inverter draw, a few lights carefully used, and movies at night. I use a lot of power tools right now and maybe in future so a few days a week I use more energy....But It is saving me $ on gasoline! Since ethanol free gas has gone very high in cost I am relieved to only change my system(in low light spring) every four or five days.... and it only needs an hour to charge system. So I might purchase a 2000 w Honda to do the trick. Even though the 7000w Honda has an eco mode, it uses a bit more gas.
So far: low use...1000w, 200ah system takes maybe $40 in gas a month. I hope the summer brings more saving.
-big generator might be overkill,
-solar panels maybe should have been in higher light area(but wire cost would have been high)
-saving old wire for job(didn't save that much and wasn't always right wire)
-using solar charger from a kit I had leftover