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YouNeedVPN 3 points ago +3 / -0

I don't have any specific sources, but i do have a few comments

Learn how much power you actually draw. Get one of those kill a watt meters, and start measuring things. Some devices will surprise you how much or how little power they pull. Notice that many things pull a bunch of power on startup or in cycles. Having a grasp on what your devices actually draw, and how much you actually use them will allow you to begin estimating how much battery storage you need. Don't worry about voltages... Watts are watts, and makes this easier to compare to batteries.

https://www.amazon.com/P3-P4400-Electricity-Usage-Monitor/dp/B00009MDBU

Remember that solar could provide you day after day of 10+ hours of full power, or you could go a week or more producing fractions of that. If it storms for a week, you're just not getting much juice, so you may consider making your battery big enough to last 3 or 5 or more days.

Once you have an idea of how big your battery might be, you can start deciding how much solar you need. Do you need to charge your battery full in one short winter day? Or is a few days acceptable? If you live in Texas your needs will be different than Montana.

Getting power out of the batteries is done by an inverter. You can get basic units that will drive analog devices just fine. Computerized devices won't like that 'dirty' power, and you may need a 'sine wave' inverter to power them (more expensive per watt). This applies to newer appliances and such, not just computers and TVs. Older appliances might be cheaper to setup (because cheaper inverter), even though they draw more power.

Those are the basic pieces. You size your batteries to the load. You size the panels/charge controller to the batteries. And then you pull power based on how clean of power you need.

You probably want to invest in li-ion over lead acid batteries.

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Removmudrace 2 points ago +2 / -0

Battery university dot com.

After test driving a small scale solar battery, I am unconvinced solar would work in anything but peak summer conditions, and that’s ignoring the fact that panels must be clean, unobscured, and angled directly at the moving sun. The performance drop off is significant to worthless if conditions are sub-optimal.

Tesla had it right with hydro power. If you have access to a stream, I’d wager you’d get better results.

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YEETveteran8888 1 point ago +1 / -0

I don’t have much to say besides you are looking a lot more at an extensive battery bank than a solar array “generator”. Think of it like a water tower. Low input but big capacity.

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deleted 1 point ago +1 / -0
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YEETveteran8888 1 point ago +1 / -0

I don’t know the specific parts or specifications but generally I know a couple things. You want “deep cycle marine” batteries because these are the best at being discharged AND charged again. Car batteries are good at providing a lot of up front power but if they discharge all the way a lot of times, they become weaker.

The other thing is that people don’t intuitively understand about solar is that even those 2’x3’ panels are only like 150 watts at best. When you start looking into tuning stuff off them, that gets eaten up quick. Like two phones and a set of string lights is 150 watts let alone any kind of refrigerator compressor. So understand that you’re not going to be getting ALL your power back WHILE you’re consuming it unless you have a very large array.

Another thing about solar is that people idealize what “sunlight” means. You need direct full blazing sunlight for those panels to generate electricity. A little bit of cloud cover? Zero watts. Just because it’s “light” outside does not mean these generate power. Also, they need to not be obscured AT all. This was really surprising to me to learn but because of how they work, if a postage stamp sized section of one panel is obscured (by a shadow or dirt or whatever) it produces zero power. You need to clean the panels, check to make sure nothing is casting shade on them at all, and ideally adjust them through out the day or year to optimally be directly pointing the sun.

Just some things I picked up working with solar generators a while back. They ARE neat, you get free energy. They’re just finicky.