Category: Batteries

Pros and Cons of Solar Power

Pros and Cons of Solar Power

Derk @ Wholesale Solar
Derk Shelly, Solar Tech at Wholesale Solar

We’re huge advocates for solar energy, but we recognize it isn’t the right solution for everyone. While solar is sustainable and ultimately cheaper than utility power in the long run, it also requires a significant up-front investment and doesn’t work for every property / roof type.

The ultimate question is whether the advantages of solar power outweigh the disadvantages. In this article, we’ll present the pros and cons of solar energy so that you can decide if going solar makes sense for you.

Advantages of Solar Power

  • Energy independence
  • Eliminate electric bill
  • Profitable investment
  • Strong government incentives
  • Sustainable
  • Low maintenance
  • Improves property value

Disadvantages of Solar Power

  • Expensive up front
  • Takes up space
  • Energy storage is expensive
  • Not right for every property
  • Makes less sense if you rent

Advantages of Solar Energy

1. Energy independence

Traditionally, most people depend on the utility company to supply them with power. When the grid goes down, going without power for an extended period of time can be a helpless feeling.

If you own a solar system with energy storage, you can keep generating power during emergencies. That peace of mind is invaluable if you live in a place with an unreliable power grid, or are regularly threatened by severe weather conditions like tornadoes and hurricanes.

Utility power also restricts people who want to live off the grid, like a remote hunting cabin. Solar can generate energy where it would be too expensive to run power lines.

It’s liberating to have complete control over where and how you produce energy. And with electricity costs rising, it also feels great to lock in a fixed rate for your electricity over the next few decades.

2. Eliminate your electric bill

Who doesn’t love one less bill coming out of their paycheck? With a properly sized system, you can drastically reduce or completely eliminate your electric bill.

Even if you extend your payback period by taking out a loan to finance your project, you still enjoy reduced electricity costs from the moment you flip the switch on your PV system.

This is the most exciting part of solar for many people: bringing the system online and watching their power bill disappear.

3. (Grid-tied) solar is a profitable investment

If you buy a grid-tie system (the type of system you build if you have access to power lines), you can expect your investment into solar to turn a profit in the long run.

Assuming the national average for cost of electricity, it would take about 6.08 years to recoup your investment into a $10,000 system. Beyond that point, you start to generate a profit from your system.

In fact, over the 25-year life of the solar panel warranty, we estimate you would earn $31,031 on energy bills after clearing the initial payback period.

4. Lucrative government incentives

The investment into solar becomes even more appealing when you take government incentives into account. State and federal programs are in place to encourage people to invest in renewable energy. Claiming these can put a ton of cash back in your pocket.

The main incentive is the 30% federal tax credit for going solar. Under this program, you are eligible to receive 30% of the total installed cost of your system as a tax credit at the end of the year.

This credit is a dollar-for-dollar reduction of your tax liability. Every dollar in credit is a dollar less that you pay in taxes at the end of the year. So if you buy a $10,000 system and receive a $3,000 credit, you will owe $3,000 less in taxes at the end of the year.

While the federal tax credit is the largest solar incentive, don’t skip out on local incentives, either. Depending on where you live, certain jurisdictions offer local incentives that can be claimed in addition to the federal credit.

5. Sustainability

A sustainable energy source is one that we can use without depleting the source of power. Oil and gas are not sustainable, because we consume those resources as we use them.

In contrast, solar is sustainable because the source of energy (sunlight) is constantly replenished. We can use solar energy without worrying about whether we will deplete the Earth’s natural resources for future generations.

6. Low maintenance

Solar systems don’t have a lot of moving parts. As a result, they rarely break down or require maintenance to keep them running optimally.

Panels are warrantied to last 25 years, but many have a much longer lifespan. (See our article “How Long Do Solar Panels Last?” for a study on the true lifespan of panels.) You rarely, if ever, need to fix or replace panels.

It’s common to replace your inverter at least once over the life of your system, as inverters are typically warrantied for 10-15 years. But that’s about the only scheduled maintenance you will encounter for grid-tied systems.

Off-grid systems are a bit more complex because they must include batteries, which often require routine maintenance. Specifically, flooded lead-acid batteries (the cheapest option available) must be checked and refilled with water regularly to keep them functioning properly.

However, building a grid-tied system eliminates the need for batteries, so most people will rarely need to check in on their system for maintenance or replacements.

7. Improves property value

Studies of the real estate market have proven that homes equipped with a solar power system sell for more than their non-solar counterparts.

In fact, the Lawrence Berkeley National Library conducted research that shows that solar homes fetch an extra $14,329 on average, a 3.74% increase over non-solar homes.

It’s no question that solar power systems substantially increase property value. Home buyers see solar as a major selling point, and they’re willing to pay a premium to move into a solar-powered home.

Disadvantages of Solar Energy

1. It’s expensive to get started

Solar is expensive – at least up front. To build a system that would power the average American home (which uses 897 kWh of electricity every month), you might pay $8,000-$10,000 depending on the products you choose.

That doesn’t include the cost of shipping or installation.

Of course, you’re paying for at least 25 years of energy production up front. In the long term, you break even on the investment and start to make money, but that doesn’t change the fact that not everyone has thousands of dollars in their pocket to get their solar dreams off the ground.

The up-front cost is the main barrier to going solar. Financing options are available, and the payback period is quite favorable even when you take interest into account. However, not everyone wants to be on the hook for loan payments.

2. It takes up a lot of space

Standard solar panels measure 39” wide by either 66” to 72” tall (for 60-cell and 72-cell panels, respectively).

To offset the national average of 897 kWh of electricity per month, you’d need at least 24 panels. In an 8×3 configuration, that system will be 26 feet wide by 44 feet tall. That’s going to take up a lot of room on your roof or in your yard.

Most people opt for a roof mount because it takes advantage of space that would otherwise go unused. If you need to design around odd angles and obstructions, you can always split the panels into sub-arrays, like our customer Luis did when he built his system:

Wholesale Solar customer Luis split his system into sub-arrays to work around the shape of his roof. We featured it as our Install of the Month in September 2018.

3. Energy storage is expensive.

Batteries are the single most expensive component to a solar power system. Not all systems require batteries, but they become mandatory when you go off the grid. They are also required if you need to supply backup power to your grid-tied property.

(Grid-tied systems don’t automatically provide backup power during outages. That’s a common misconception. For backup power, you need a grid-tie system with energy storage – essentially, a battery designed to work with grid-based systems.)

Expect to pay a lot more money when you add batteries to a system. Battery banks cost at least a few thousand dollars, and if you buy high-end lithium batteries for a full-scale off-grid system, that’s easily a 5 figure investment into the batteries alone.

Furthermore, batteries don’t last as long as the other parts of your system. Lead-acid battery warranties range from 1 to 7 years, meaning you’ll replace them 4 or 5 times before the panel warranty is up.

Lithium batteries justify their high price tag by lasting 10-15 years, but you’re still in for at least one replacement over the life of your system.

4. It’s not right for every property

Not every property is a good fit for solar power.

Some properties are simply too cramped to find any space to build a system. Others are covered in shade and wouldn’t get the sunlight required to generate enough energy.

While there are technologies like shade optimizers and custom racking to mitigate these concerns, they only accomplish so much. If you don’t have anywhere to put your panels, it’s going to be a real challenge to make solar work for your home.

5. It’s better if you own your home (and won’t be moving for a while)

Solar can be a profitable investment, but the payback math assumes you’ll be living in the same property for the full duration of the 25-year warranty.

It takes several years to break even on the initial cost of the system before you start to pocket the savings from your energy bill. Solar makes a lot less sense if you don’t own your home, or have the urge to move within the next few years.

The good news is that because solar increases property values, you are likely to recoup your investment into the system when you go to sell your home. But most people who go solar do it because they want to be self-sufficient and generate their own (less expensive) electricity for the next few decades.

Think about whether you’ll stick around for a while in your current property before you make the long-term investment into solar.

Questions? Consult with a solar expert.

Still not sure if the advantages of solar outweigh the disadvantages? You can always schedule a consultation with one of our expert design techs. We’ll answer questions, clear any design hurdles, and help you decide if solar is right for you.

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What are the Best Solar Panels? (2018 Edition)

What are the Best Solar Panels? (2018 Edition)

BRENT HILTON, Senior Design Technician at Wholesale Solar​

How do you find the best solar panels for your system?

It’s not an exact science. “Best” will mean different things to different people.

You may care about efficiency and long lifespan. You might want to support American-made goods.

Or maybe you just want the cheapest one that works.

We’re going to put our two decades of system design experience to good use to bring you handpicked recommendations of the best solar panels on the market in 2018. And if you prefer your info in video form, we put one of those together too:

Best Solar Panels - 2018 edition

Before we go over our methodology, here’s a sneak peek at our picks. (Let’s be honest, you’re here for product recommendations, so we won’t make you scroll too far.)

Best Budget Panels:

Best American Panels:

Best Premium Panels:

Best Panels for Remote Applications:

Best Panels for Industrial Use:

How to Pick the Best Solar Panels for Your Project

There are a handful of factors that influence how good panels are. Here are the main things you should look at when you research solar panels:

Cost per watt

For most people, budget is the primary factor influencing decisions during the design process.

Panels come in all different sizes. Full-sized panels typically fall in the range of 275-400 watts, though there are also smaller panels for specialty off-grid applications.

The great equalizer is cost-per-watt. Divide the panel price by how many watts it outputs. You’ll get a “true” pricing number, which you can use to compare all panels on a level playing field.

Warranty

There are two different warranty categories – performance and workmanship.

The performance warranty guarantees your panels will work above their rated efficiency for the duration of the warranty. Most manufacturers promise their panels will work at or above 80% efficiency after 25 years.

25 years is the industry standard, but a few manufacturers offer longer performance warranties of 30 years.

Then there’s the workmanship warranty. This protects against manufacturing defects and other physical problems with your panels.

The workmanship warranty is shorter than the performance warranty. A generous workmanship warranty gives a great indication that the manufacturer knows they are putting out a reliable product.

The industry standard workmanship warranty is 10 years, with some companies offering 20-year guarantees.

Efficiency

A solar panel’s efficiency rating refers to the amount of sunlight the panel can convert into usable energy. 14-22% is an acceptable efficiency range for panels produced by major manufacturers.

This relates directly to the output of a solar panel (in watts). For example, a SolarWorld 290w panel is 17.3% efficient, while their 300w module is 17.89% efficient.

Temperature Coefficient

Solar panels are tested in ideal conditions. When manufacturers measure panel output, they perform tests inside a climate-controlled factory.

Obviously, the real world is going to introduce less-than-ideal conditions. During those sweltering days in the dead of the California summer, your system will lag behind its rated efficiency.

The impact temperature has on true panel output is the temperature coefficient. The coefficient measures how much efficiency is lost for each degree above or below ideal test conditions.

We’ll give an example in Celsius, because that’s what most manufacturers measure: energy loss per 1°C temperature change.

For example, let’s say a panel was tested at 45° C, but its current temperature is 55° C. If the temperature coefficient is 0.4% Wp (Watt power), you can multiply that by the difference in temperature (10° C). That panel is operating 4% below its rated efficiency on that particular day.

There are separate temperature coefficients for voltage, amperage, and wattage. Certain types of solar panels like monocrystalline can perform slightly better at higher temperatures.

The temperature coefficient usually isn’t the most important variable to focus on unless you are in an area that gets extremely hot. This is because heat reduces the efficiency of your solar panels, making them operate at a reduced output.

Company History

The longevity and reputation of the panel manufacturer play a part in our recommendations. What good is a warranty if the company goes out of business before they get a chance to honor it?

For that reason, we look at companies with a stable track record in the solar industry. Every product on this list is produced by a major manufacturer that we don’t expect to disappear any time soon.

UL Listed

Underwriters Laboratories is an organization that has been around for over 100 years. UL sets standards and performs safety tests to ensure products are safe for public use.

Solar panels must be certified to UL 1703 standards if they are being installed on your home.

What are the best solar panels on the market in 2018?

Without further ado, here are the best solar panels you can buy for a variety of applications. The info in this article is current as of September 2018.

Best Value Solar Panels: Astronergy 325W

  • Cost: $225 (69 cents per watt)
  • Workmanship warranty: 10 years
  • Performance warranty: 25 years
  • Efficiency: 16.8%
  • Degradation: -0.7% / year
  • Temperature coefficient: -0.408% Wp
  • # of cells: 72
  • Cell type: Poly

Looking for panels that won’t break the bank? Astronergy makes the best solar panels you can get from a pure value perspective.

Of the major module producers, Astronergy has the lowest cost-per-watt panels we’ve found. Their 325W panel retails at $225 (at the time of publication), which shakes out to just over 78 cents per watt.

A few of our employees run their home systems on Astronergy panels, and we also picked them for the system that powers the Wholesale Solar flagship office.

Their 16.8% efficiency is very respectable at this price point, and the warranty is on par with industry standards.

Astronergy also sets their warranty program apart from other companies by offering third-party insurance. Should they ever go out of business, the warranty would still be valid from the third-party provider.

That’s more for peace of mind than anything. Astronergy is a part of one of China’s largest electronics manufacturers. We expect them to be around for a long time to come.

But the extra bit of insurance on the warranty coupled with the low price point makes these panels a popular choice.

Best American-made Solar Panels: SolarWorld 295W

  • Cost: $265 (90 cents per watt)
  • Workmanship warranty: 20 years
  • Performance warranty: 25 years
  • Efficiency: 17.59%
  • Degradation: -0.35% / year
  • Temperature coefficient: -0.39% Wp
  • # of cells: 60
  • Cell type: Mono

SolarWorld is the oldest module manufacturer in America, and they still make some of the best panels around. We’re looking at the SolarWorld 295W as our pick for best American-made solar panels on the market.

There’s a lot to like about these panels.

They’re American-made, and the degradation rate is 0.05% better than our premium LG panels (which are 50% more expensive than these SolarWorld panels).

SolarWorld also gets bonus points for their generous warranty structure. The 20-year workmanship warranty doubles the industry standard of 10 years. It’s nice to have that extra peace of mind to protect against equipment failure down the road.

If you have your heart set on buying American-made panels, the SolarWorld line is the most efficient panel you can find at this price point.

Best Premium Solar Panels: LG 360W

  • Cost: $590 ($1.64 per watt)
  • Workmanship warranty: 25 years
  • Performance warranty: 87% efficiency after 25 years
  • Efficiency: 20.8%
  • Degradation: -0.4% / year
  • Temperature coefficient: -0.3% Wp
  • # of cells: 60
  • Cell type: Mono

LG doesn’t just make solar equipment; they’re one of the leading electronics manufacturers in the world.

We feature LG’s 360W panel in our premium packaged systems. They are super space-efficient, packing more output into a 60-cell panel than most 72-cell panels on the market are capable of producing.

Every solar project is different, and some people have the challenge of building a system in a compact space. For example, you may only have room for 10 panels on your roof. These LG panels will help you squeeze as much output as possible out of the limited space available to you.

They also have a long lifespan. At -0.4%/year, the degradation rate of these panels is 0.3% better than our featured Astronergy 325W panel.

That may not sound like a lot, but when you work the math out, it means LG panels will retain 7.5% more efficiency than Astronergy panels at the 25-year mark.

And LG’s solar panel warranties are a thing of beauty.

Where most companies aim for a 10-year workmanship warranty, LG covers the full 25 years.

On the performance warranty side, LG ensures their panels will still be 87% efficient after 25 years. That’s a stronger promise than the standard 80% after 25 years.

What are the best solar panels for off-grid systems?

We get this question a lot: is there any difference between panels for off-grid and grid-tie properties?

There is a bit of nuance to the answer.

The panels themselves can always work regardless of system type. There is no such thing as “off-grid panels” or “grid-tied panels” specifically.

However, panels must be paired with other components and sized accurately, especially in off-grid systems.

Historically, off-grid systems have used PWM charge controllers, which required that you match 12V solar panels with a 12V battery bank.

Now, most modern off-grid homes will use an MPPT charge controller, which can adjust the incoming PV voltage to work with almost any solar panel.

However, there are still string sizing considerations based on the panel and charge controller specs. All of the components must be supplied with the appropriate voltage and current. Batteries add another layer of complexity for off-grid systems, since the array must be sized to sufficiently recharge the batteries without overcharging them.

There are also a handful of panels that are designed specifically for off-grid applications:

Best Solar Panels for RVs / Mobile Applications

Solar is also a great solution for mobile applications like RVs and boats. But you’ll need smaller panels to work around any space constraints.

The solution for this is SunPower 50W and SunPower 100W flexible panels.

The lower profile helps you find the right configuration with limited space available. And since these panels can bend up to 30 degrees, they can flex around curved surfaces to make the most of the space you have.

These panels are lightweight, easy to install and perform well in low light. They’re built to adapt to rough and changing conditions that come with living life on the road.

At just over $2.50 per watt, they’re more expensive than traditional panels (even the premium LG panels). But it’s a fair tradeoff for a mobile-ready solar panel solution built to perform in harsh conditions.

Best Solar Panels for Small-Scale Industrial / Remote Applications

The last category we’ll look at is the best solar panels for small-scale remote applications.

These tend to be used to power remote equipment for a variety of industries:

  • Lighting
  • Telecommunication
  • Security & surveillance
  • Oil & gas
  • Water pumping
  • Traffic
  • Utility monitoring

A lot of times this equipment is in a remote location (like at the top of a mountain or floating on a buoy in the middle of a lake) and you need a small, self-contained system to keep it running.

We would recommend both Solarland and Ameresco, depending on the application. A few examples:

This represents the high end of the output range for 12-volt panels. Both companies offer a variety of 12V panel options ranging from 1W to 160W. Solarland also has 24V options, including one that goes up to 190W.

For certain industrial applications, you may need panels that are certified for use in hazardous locations. The SolarLand C1D2 (Class 1, Division 2) panels are your go-to choice.

There are 12V options at 45W, 60W and 150W, as well as a 140W panel that produces 24V:

These can also be used on RVs and boats, where you just want a solid panel with glass and an aluminum frame. If you don’t need the flexibility of the Sunpower panels, these are actually cheaper by about 25-50 cents/watt depending on panel size.

That’s it for our recommendations! We think these are the best solar panels you can get for your money in 2018, but prices and product configurations will change rapidly as technology improves.

As you do your research, seek out efficient panels from trusted manufacturers, and calculate the cost-per-watt so you can compare products on a level playing field.

If you follow these guidelines, you’re sure to find the right solar panels to power your system.

This article was updated on 10/2/2018. For our most current prices, take a look at the solar panels page in our shop.

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Discover vs. SimpliPhi: What’s the best lithium battery for solar energy storage?

Discover vs. SimpliPhi: What’s the best lithium battery for solar energy storage?

Jeremy Allen
JEREMY ALLEN, Sales and Design Technician at Wholesale Solar​

When we design off-grid solar systems with lithium batteries, we work with two main brands: Discover and SimpliPhi.

These two manufacturers are major players in the lithium battery market, which is the premium option for solar storage.

In this article, we’ll compare Discover AES vs. SimpliPhi Lithium batteries and give our honest opinion on when you might choose one over the other.

The alternative to lithium would be lead-acid batteries, which are less expensive but don’t last as long or run as efficiently. We review lead-acid batteries alongside lithium options in our review of the best solar batteries on the market.

Similarities

First, let’s talk about what the two options have in common.

They’re both the same chemistry: Lithium Ferro Phosphate (LFP). LFP is a different type of Lithium battery designed to be very stable and safe, with high output to handle a demanding off-grid environment.

Lithium batteries have some inherent advantages over lead-acid batteries:

  • Longer lifespan
  • No maintenance
  • More efficient power usage
  • More usable storage capacity (deeper discharges)
  • No off-gassing / ventilation

Both Discover and SimpliPhi will offer a stable battery with a long lifespan. You won’t need to check in for regular upkeep like you would with lead-acid batteries.

They are also comparable in price. If you compare Discover’s 48V battery to SimpliPhi’s 48V battery, the cost per kilowatt hour of capacity is almost exactly the same.

At the time of publication, our price for 48V Discover AES batteries works out to $1 per Wh of capacity, while we charge 98 cents per Wh for a comparable SimpliPhi battery.

We compare 48V options because they are the highest efficiency and most cost-effective for most off-grid systems. Also, it just so happens that most household inverters come in 48V, so it makes the most sense to match the battery voltage to commonly used inverters.

It is worth noting that the cost per Wh depends on size and features. Many of our SimpliPhi 24V lithium batteries come in at a lower price point than their Discover counterpart. And of the two, SimpliPhi is the only one who makes a 12V option.

But due to inverter and charge controller specs, the apples-to-apples comparison most people care about is the 48V offering, because most off-grid residences are going to run off of 48V battery banks.

Why choose Discover’s Lithium Batteries?

Discover batteries thrive in large-scale systems. They have two main advantages: battery sizing and ease of installation.

Battery Size

The largest battery SimpliPhi makes has a 3.5 kWh capacity. In contrast, Discover’s largest battery nearly doubles that capacity, at 6.6 kWh. (Remember: even though the sizes are different, the cost-per-kWh is almost identical.)

If you are building a battery bank for a typical off-grid residence, it will take fewer Discover batteries to reach the same target capacity. For example, if you need 26 kWh of capacity, you could do that with 4 Discover AES 6.6 kWh batteries. It would take 8 SimpliPhi 3.5 kWh batteries to cover the same ground.

Ease of Installation

From an installation and wiring standpoint, Discover batteries are also easier to work with. SimpliPhi batteries have stricter cabling requirements.

You’ll need to run each SimpliPhi battery into a busbar, which is a terminal for all your wire connections. The busbar then combines all of the batteries in parallel. The extra cable management can be a pain because all of the wires need to be equal length.

It’s critical that all cables are the same length, because the individual batteries are not communicating with each other directly.

SimpliPhi battery busbar
SimpliPhi's lithium batteries wire into a busbar, which manages the cabling. Image Source

Discover AES batteries don’t have the same strict cabling requirements. They can plug into each other to communicate and synchronize output.

This results in less wire overall and easier installation, because you can connect several batteries together in parallel without needing to run individual wires to a busbar. And because Discover batteries have more capacity, you’ll have fewer batteries to wire together.

All this means that Discover batteries take less time and money to install, and the difference is amplified in larger systems. That isn’t to say you can’t build large SimpliPhi battery banks — only that it’s a bit more tedious to do so.

It’s not a big deal if you’re bringing in an experienced installer to hook up your system. But if you plan to do a DIY install (as many of our customers do), consider that it may be a little more complex to install SimpliPhi batteries on a large scale.

Charge Capability

Discover batteries also have higher output, which means they can charge (and discharge) faster.

Charging current is measured in amps and commonly expressed as a percentage of total battery capacity. For example, if a 100 amp hour battery can output 100 amps, that is a rate of 1C. (C stands for Capacity.)

Here’s how continuous charge and discharge current looks for the two 48v models we are comparing:

  • Discover AES 6.6kWh 48v: 1C
  • Simpliphi PHI 3.5kWh 48v: 1/2C

This means the Discover batteries can handle twice as much charge and discharge current. That likely has to do with differences in the battery management system (BMS) and overall battery design.

The BMS works to manage voltage, current and data logging for your battery bank. These manufacturers use different BMS designs, which may explain why Discover’s batteries charge faster and handle higher current.

This means that Discover batteries can be interconnected for faster charging and higher output. They plug into each other, allowing them to communicate and synchronize charge and discharge current.

SimpliPhi’s batteries act independently. Individual batteries do not communicate or share information.

Why choose SimpliPhi’s Lithium Batteries?

SimpliPhi has a lot going for them as well. As I mentioned before, their small and mid-range lithium batteries come in at a lower cost-per-kWh than Discover’s options.

In fact, Discover doesn’t make a 12V lithium battery, but SimpliPhi does. This would be your go-to battery for mobile use, like powering your RV or boat, or small remote applications like security systems or any equipment requiring a 12 volt power source.

SimpliPhi is more competitive in the 24V territory as well. We sell their 24V lithium battery at $1 per Wh, while Discover’s is $1.15 per Wh of capacity. These batteries might be an appropriate choice for small cottages, cabins and tiny homes.

The rule of thumb is that SimpliPhi shines in applications that don’t require a lot of output. If you need to power lights and charge your phone in a small hunting cabin, we would likely recommend SimpliPhi to save you some money with no real downside.

(It could be a different story for something like a workshop, where you run power tools that demand high power output.)

For small to mid-range applications without intense peak demand, SimpliPhi’s battery sizes are a bit more flexible, and the prices a little bit better.

Discover vs. SimpliPhi: The Verdict

We lean toward Discover for large-scale systems because they’re more space efficient and easier to wire. SimpliPhi has more cost-effective midrange options, and they make a 12V battery, which Discover doesn’t offer.

As far as reliability and reputation go, both companies are solid. Discover has been making batteries since the 1950s, but they are the more recent arrival to the lithium battery space.

SimpliPhi was founded in 2002 with an exclusive focus on lithium battery storage. What they lack in longevity, they make up with laser-focused research and development efforts in the premium lithium battery market. They have quickly earned their reputation as a high-end battery manufacturer.

You can’t go wrong with either product, and we recommend both brands with full confidence.

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What are the Best Solar Batteries?

What are the Best Solar Batteries?

JEREMY CHAMPT, Technical Support Specialist at Wholesale Solar​

Without a battery bank, you won’t be able to store energy generated by your system. If you’re tied to the grid, no battery means no backup power when the utility grid suffers an outage. If you live off-grid, your system simply won’t work at all.

Batteries are crucial to keep your system running. So what are the best solar batteries on the market?

Since you’re busy, we’ll put our recommendations up front. Keep reading for a breakdown on where each battery shines:

Best Overall Battery for Off-Grid Homes

Best Value Battery for
Off-Grid Homes

Best Battery for
Off-Grid Vacation Homes

Best Battery Backup for Grid-Tied Systems

Best Battery for Storing and Reselling Energy

Best Battery for RV, Marine, Small Off-Grid

What Are The Different Types Of Batteries?

To understand why we chose the above batteries, let’s review what the different types of batteries are. When selecting a battery for your solar system, you have three options: flooded lead acid, sealed lead acid, and lithium batteries.

Flooded Lead Acid Batteries

Lead acid batteries have been used for the last 150 years. These batteries are affordable and about 99% recyclable. They are easy to get rid of at the end of their lifespan.

There are two types of lead acid batteries: flooded and sealed.

Flooded lead acid (FLA) batteries are designed to handle daily charge cycling. They do emit gas as a byproduct, so they must be ventilated property.

They also require regular maintenance. The plates of every cell in the battery must be submerged in water to function properly (which is why they are called “flooded” batteries). You’ll need to add water every 1 to 3 months to keep the plates submerged. It’s smart to check on them once a month.

FLA batteries are ideal for people who prefer to be hands-on with their system. They’re the most affordable option, but require occasional upkeep to work properly.

Sealed Lead Acid Batteries

If you won’t be around to perform regular check-ups on your battery, sealed lead acid batteries are a better option. These batteries are spill-proof and non-hazardous. There are two types of sealed lead acid batteries with fairly similar characteristics: AGM (absorbent glass mat) and gel.

Sealed batteries are a self-contained system. They don’t need to be refilled with water, like flooded batteries. For that reason, they work well at properties that aren’t occupied full-time, like an off-grid vacation cabin you visit once or twice a year. Sealed batteries won’t self-discharge as fast if they sit idle for extended periods of time while you’re away.

Lithium Batteries

Finally, lithium batteries are a newer technology that hit the market in the 1970s. They are common in laptops and cellphones, but have become more popular in the renewable energy space lately.

Lithium batteries are more expensive, but there are several benefits to justify the higher price tag:

  • Longer lifespan
  • No maintenance
  • More efficient power usage
  • More usable storage capacity (deeper discharges)
  • No off-gassing / ventilation

Best Solar Batteries: Our Recommendations

So what’s the best battery for your system?

Picking the right battery depends on a combination of factors like application, budget, and expectations for upkeep (like regular maintenance and replacement interval). Your living situation will determine the smartest battery choice for your project.

Here’s our breakdown of the best batteries for a wide variety of situations:

Best Battery for Off-Grid Homes (Overall)

If you live in an off-grid home full time, you need a battery that can keep up with your power demands on a daily basis.

Our recommendation for the best overall battery for off-grid homes is the Discover 48V Lithium battery. It has long lifespan and affords flexibility if you want to expand your system down the road.

Discover 48V Lithium Battery

Lithium batteries are a premium storage option. They have a longer lifespan and charge faster than other battery types. And because they can handle deeper discharges, you need less overall capacity than you would with a comparable lead acid battery bank.

They also make it easier to expand your system over time. Let’s say you add a new well pump to your property down the line. With lead acid batteries, it can be difficult or even impossible to expand your battery bank, depending on the age and how they are wired.

That’s not the case with lithium batteries. More batteries can be added over time, because each battery operates independently with its own internal Battery Management System (BMS.)

Lithium batteries can handle extended periods of time without being recharged. This situation would actually damage lead acid batteries because they need to be recharged every day, and will be damaged after several days without a full charge.

That’s why the Discover 48V Lithium battery is our pick for the best overall battery for daily off-grid use.

Best Battery for Off-Grid Homes (Best Value)

Looking for a more cost-effective option? The best value battery for off-grid systems is the Crown CR430 flooded lead-acid battery.

People who live the off-grid lifestyle tend to be more comfortable with hands-on DIY projects. If you don’t mind doing the occasional tune-up on your battery bank, the CR430 is an excellent option. The 430 amp-hour capacity can’t be beat for the price, and Crown is a reliable American manufacturer (they show up on this list 4 times for a reason). CR430s are built in Fremont, Ohio at Crown’s advanced manufacturing plant.

Crown CR430 Battery

Best Battery For Off-Grid Vacation Homes

What if you have an off-grid vacation home that you don’t visit on a regular basis? You want a battery that doesn’t require regular maintenance, since you’ll only be on site a few times a year.

In these cases, a sealed AGM battery is the best option. Our recommendation is the Crown 6CRV390. The lower capacity is fine because you don’t need year-round storage. We also skipped out on the premium lithium option, because it’s overkill for a system that will only be used a few times a year.

These batteries are relatively inexpensive, so you don’t have to make a huge investment into a property where you won’t be spending that much time.

We’d also recommend the 415Ah FullRiver DC400-6 for this application. We like the Fullriver DC 400-6 because it has slightly more capacity and a longer warranty at a slightly higher cost. It’s definitely an option we recommend on a regular basis, along with the Crown 6CRV390.

The Best Batteries For Living Grid-Tied With Battery Backup

If you have a grid-tied system with battery backup for emergencies, you won’t need a battery with a tremendous amount of storage power. It will only see use when your power goes out, and hopefully that doesn’t happen more than once a year.

Similar to the previous section, you want a battery that doesn’t require maintenance – it should simply work in the rare cases you need it. For that reason, we recommend the same battery as above: the Crown 6CRV390 with a sealed AGM.

We’d also recommend the FullRiver DC400-6 AGM battery for the same reasons as above.

Best Battery For Storing & Selling Energy

In certain areas, the utility company charges more during peak use times – around 4 to 9 pm, when people get home from school and work.

Energy storage allows you to store daytime energy and sell it back to the utility company for a profit.

The goal is to store energy generated during the day, and sell it back in the evening, when rates hit their peak.

For this type of use, we recommend the Enphase IQ Battery. It is specifically designed to store energy and sell it back during peak use periods. It intelligently tracks usage rates and available energy storage to optimize the best time to sell excess energy back to the grid.

This helps protect you from future changes in your utility rates, and is a must if you live in an area with time of use rates (TOU), high demand charges, or no net metering.

The easy installation and intelligent monitoring tools make this the ideal battery for someone looking to resell the energy they generate and turn back their meter.

The Best Batteries For RV, Marine, Remote Industrial & Small Off-Grid Use

This article has mostly covered residential use cases. But what if you need to power a smaller application, like an RV, boat or small outbuilding on your property?

Let’s say you have a wood shed on your property and want to power it independently. The shed has some lights and wall outlets, but there’s not much else to power. In a situation like this, you just need a compact battery with modest capacity.

Crown 6CRV220 battery

For a light use cases like these, we recommend the Crown 6CRV220 sealed AGM battery. This battery was originally designed to power golf carts. As a result, it has a very low profile, but can still withstand deep cycling over a long lifespan.

We’d recommend this battery for tiny homes, boats, and RVs – any application where space is at a premium and you just need to power the essentials. You can also go with the Crown 12CRV110, which is the exact same size and overall capacity.

Battery Math

The 6CRV220 and 12CRV110 have the exact same size and overall capacity.

6 Volts x 220 amp hours = 1320 watt hours

12 volts x 110 amp hours = 1320 watt hours

This is also our pick for remote industrial applications. It can power small-scale industrial equipment in remote areas not accessible by power lines. Common applications include lighting, pumps, traffic signs and monitoring equipment.

No matter what kind of off-grid system you’re looking for, your battery bank is a key component. Visit our deep cycle battery page to learn more, or check out our battery banks to find a pre-packaged solution.

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Going Off-Grid? Please Don’t Make the Same Battery Mistake I Did.

Going Off-Grid? Please Don’t Make the Same Battery Mistake I Did.

By RICKY RAFFAINI, Tech Support Rep at Wholesale Solar​

I have always been interested in renewable energy, but when I moved into my grandma’s old cabin in Mendocino, CA, it was the last thing on my mind.

Yes, with the cabin came a small off-grid solar setup, but I was more concerned with abstract concepts like “peace” and “beauty.”

So at first, I was happy with the single 12-volt battery I had. It forced me to live a simple life without a bunch of electronics—always a good thing.

With the limited power available I was able to use my laptop, a few lights, a small speaker, and a phone charger. There was no cell service, so my phone never died, and I used kerosene lamps to read most nights.

It turned out to be one of the best experiences of my life.

But eventually, I was ready to upgrade my battery bank—mostly for the experience.

However, I had no idea where to start.

My first thought was, “This can’t be that hard.”

I quickly realized it was more complicated than I thought.

One of the first things I learned: it is so important to have an understanding of how lead acid batteries work before messing around with a battery bank’s wiring.

So I asked around for information, found some basic solar books (mostly outdated books from the local library), and used my phone to research batteries when I was closer to town and had cell service.

I ended up purchasing a couple of cheap marine or “deep cycle” batteries from the local hardware store on the recommendation of a new employee.

I realize now he probably didn’t know the difference between car batteries and the marine batteries they carried… but neither did I at the time, so fair enough. (A car battery’s power is measured in cranking amps, because the battery is designed to offer bursts of energy to start a vehicle—rather than slow discharge needed to run appliances.)

Luckily my limited research helped me decide on the marine batteries, which are designed to have a longer reserve capacity than car batteries.

All that meant in my case, however, was that it took me longer to destroy them.

Knowing what I do now, I’m a little embarrassed to say that I was nowhere near ready to install a battery bank—no matter how small this setup was. Here’s where I went wrong.

The failure happened because I didn’t know the difference between a series connection and a parallel connection.

Diagram showing series wiring versus parellel wiring
Series Circuit Wiring Vs. Parallel Circuit Wiring

In a series circuit, the current through each of the components is the same, and the voltage across the circuit is the sum of the voltages across each component.

Christmas lights are a good example of series wiring. If one light stops working, it blocks the power to the rest of the lights that come after in that circuit.

In a parallel circuit, the voltage across each of the components is the same, and the total current is the sum of the currents through each component.

When hooked up in parallel, each light will have its own path to the power source. If one light goes out, the rest will stay on since they are hooked up independently.

In short, series wiring increases the voltage but the amps stay the same. And parallel wiring increases the amperage but the volts stay the same.

And when I got the two new batteries in place, I had no idea what to do.

Now remember, I was working with just one 12 volt battery before, and now I have two 12 volt batteries, which created 24 volts when wired in series.

It’s also important to remember that my inverter (the heart of the system) operates on a 12 volt battery bank. So I’m limited to 12 volts for my battery system.

But wait, you say. You now have a 24 volt battery bank and a 12 volt inverter, that can’t work. Well, yes and no.

The way I wired it, which was in series, was of course wrong. And that’s because I was running a 12 volt inverter with a 24 volt battery bank.

What I should have done was wired the batteries in parallel at 12 volts, allowing my 12 volt inverter to play nice with my battery bank.

Diagram showing the original, wrong, and right way Ricky should have wired his batteries
Ricky's Mistake: Wiring Two 12v Batteries in a Series with a 12v Inverter.

On the flip side, I could have bought a new inverter that was 24 volt rated and would have been fine running with two 12 volt batteries in series (totaling 24 volts), but that would have cost me a lot more to upgrade, when all I had to do was wire my batteries correctly.

I’m still not sure if I caused any damage to my solar equipment. I would be surprised if you told me I didn’t.

My grandma warned me that maybe I shouldn’t attempt to upgrade my system, but of course I didn’t listen. Luckily, she seems to be a firm believer in learning through experience… So the time and money spent were not a total loss in her eyes. (Or maybe she was just trying to make me feel better about destroying her stuff…).

After this experience, I decided to pursue some real education in solar installation.

And I won’t lie—my inspiration came from wanting to make things right at the cabin. (Not to mention wanting to prove to myself that I could figure it out.)

My solar disaster was 100% my fault. And although my grandma has never expressed frustration over the “battery-turned-paperweight incident,” I am sure she would appreciate a more thought out and educated approach to make things right again.

That brings me to Wholesale Solar. I have always had an interest in finding a career path in some sort of industry that supported sustainable living, with solar at the top of that list.

I’ve worked in biodynamic farms in the mountains of Mendocino. I’ve also given water conservation a go with a sustainable plumbing company building rainwater collection systems and gray water gardens in Sonoma.

And as a part of that job I noticed that at every beautiful job site there was a solar array.

I was actively taking classes and pursuing my career, but I’m happy (and lucky) to say I fell into the Wholesale Solar team by chance.

I started working here in July of 2016, and eventually found my way into the technical support department. Which is funny—because I often help folks going through the same kind of failed experiment I did.

Solar takes a lot of time, patience, and effort to install and maintain. That’s something I learned the hard way, and something I hope to teach our customers.

I have so much respect for our customers after battling a tricky installation myself, and I am so grateful to finally be in a position to not only help my grandma, but also many other off-the-grid enthusiasts trying to live in an independent paradise.

Click to download our guide to getting started with solar power
SolarTech TV: How to Program Your Power Center

SolarTech TV: How to Program Your Power Center

SolarTech TV is back, ya’ll!

If you missed Josh the Tech Guy’s how-tos that make some of the most complex solar tech look easy, you’re in luck! Making complex tech look simple is his specialty: if you call in for our solar tech support, it’s Josh you’re going to be talking to. And if you’ve talked to him before, you know you’re in good hands.

In this edition, Josh walks you through how to program a Magnum Power Center. If you’ve got an off-grid system from Wholesale Solar, chances are you’re going to need to learn how to program the Magnum inverter, battery monitor kit, AC input amperage, and the Midnite Classic charge controller included in the pre-wired Power Center designed by Wholesale Solar’s expert techs.

Ready? Let’s get started:

Click here to learn more about the Power Center featured in this video!

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Ask Wholesale Solar: Which Batteries Are Right For Me?

Ask Wholesale Solar: Which Batteries Are Right For Me?

There are a lot of reasons folks make the decision to go solar. More and more, that decision involves including an element of backup power, which is stored using batteries.  But which batteries are right for which solar project? Which batteries should you use if you’re running your whole home off-grid? What about for a small cabin that you only visit once in a while? Which batteries are best if you’re adding the security of backup power to your grid-tied home? And how does emerging technology like the Tesla Powerwall compare with other new energy storage technologies?

Get an expert perspective on all of this, and learn about the newest battery technologies, in this latest video in the Ask Wholesale Solar series.

Solar design tech Jeremy A. discusses the differences between the most common types of batteries used to store energy from your solar array, including lead-acid batteries and sealed AGM batteries, and  goes over emerging technology such as lithium ion batteries like the Tesla Powerwall and aqueous ion batteries.

Do YOU have a question you’d like to Ask Wholesale Solar? Ask away in the comments and your question could be featured in a future Ask Wholesale Solar video!

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Install of the Month – October 2016

Install of the Month – October 2016

Preparing for Anything with John S.

Hello friends, there’s a chill in the air and the leaves are starting to turn. That means it’s time to welcome fall in with our October Install of the Month!

This is an especially timely one. With the seasons changing and winter coming soon, it’s the time of year to expect instability in the grid. Any number of things can happen that result in your home losing power, and snow and winter storms are just the beginning.

John’s system is the perfect antidote to an unstable grid. Not only is it tied into the grid and able to save him money, it also serves the crucial function of being able to handle his critical electrical loads when the power goes out. That means he can keep the lights on, his phone charged, his water running, and his fridge on so his food keeps.

This is done through a battery bank that works alongside a grid-tied system. And not only is John’s system able to power his critical loads when the grid is down for a short period of time, he basically has an unlimited power source because this system can also switch to using his solar panels to draw energy to his battery bank and then to his home. Which means, yes, as long as there’s sun, John’s got power.

The magic here is the Outback Radian power center. If you’re curious exactly how this versatile powerhouse can switch from feeding the grid to battery backup to powering his home through his panels, you can read about it here.

John is a great example of a highly motivated DIYer who is not afraid to read manuals
– Sales Technician Jeremy A.

We also love this installation because it’s a relatively complicated one for a DIYer without an electrical or construction background, but his installation turned out super clean thanks to his attention to detail and willingness to dig in and do some research. “John is a great example of a highly motivated DIYer who is not afraid to read manuals,” says sales technician Jeremy A. “It turns out Mr. Smith came to us pretty much ready to go.”

John had a few simple questions, but working with Jeremy he was able to get them cleared up in no time. After that, he didn’t waste any time getting started. John had already teamed up with a local electrician, so it was all systems go. The only thing stopping him was the Arkansas summer heat. John stuck with it though, squeezing in time to complete his install in the early mornings before it got too hot.

If you’re interested in knowing more about how to get backup power, you can read more here or give one of our sales techs a call at 1-800-472-1142. If you want to be prepared for anything, you might want to look into the intricacies of how the Outback Radian power center makes it possible to have a grid-tied system that seamlessly supports backup power as well, by reading about it here or calling one of our expert techs. We also have our Fall Sale going on now through October 31st, so there’s never been a better time to make sure your home is as well-prepared as John’s.

Components in John’s System

1 Outback Radian Power Center
36 SolarWorld 280 Watt Solar Panels
1 Radiant Solar Technology Battery Enclosure
8 Crown AGM Batteries
2 Midite Combiner Boxes
2 Midnite Surge Suppressors
IronRidge Roof-Mount Racking

Interview with John S.

How long was the full installation process from receiving your equipment to flipping the switch? How many people did it take?

It took about 5 months. I worked when the weather permitted (a good amount of rain this year). I usually worked for a few hours in the morning while the temperature was still good.

I had an electrician change the Main Panel from a 200 amp panel to a 225 amp panel and wire about half of the house circuits to the “critical circuit” panel that I had installed as part of the installation process. I had help from two men on lifting the power center up onto the wall bracket. I had someone help me hold the six panels mounted at the top of the roof on the 30 degree slope so I could get them bolted down. I had someone help me pull the large cable connecting the Power Center to the Combiner boxes through the buried 2-inch PVC conduit. I installed the rest.

I wanted to save money in the long run and have a power backup system in case the grid goes down for any reason.
– John S.

Did you have any previous construction experience?

Not in a professional way but I had previously performed other home projects that dealt with a small amount of construction and wiring.

What was the most confusing or difficult part of the installation?

The most tedious job was digging the 5-inch wide, 18-inch deep, 110-ft long trench through layered rock by use of hand-tools and a jackhammer. Confusion at the beginning was expected until I became familiar on how all the components go together and work together through reading the provided manuals and literature. Reading about the major components on the internet also helped lift the fog of confusion. Information about solar power installation from the internet helped me understand what was need to stay in NEC compliance. This especially applied to conduit installation requirements dealing with DC circuits.

Were there any unforeseen additional parts or tools you needed?

I did obtain two 60-amp manual disconnects and mounted them outside near the grid power meter. One was used between the Power Center (Grid Input) and Main Panel and the other was used between the Power Center (AC Output) and the Critical-Circuit Panel with battery bank backup. The disconnect between the Power Center and Main Panel was recommended by the local electric utility. The disconnect between the Power Center and Critical-Circuit Panel is for firefighters in case they needed to de-energize the house circuits being backed up by the battery bank. This disconnect was added by me after initial comments by the local building inspector about making sure all house circuits could be de-energized by emergency responders in cooperation with the local electric utility personnel.

I also bought the SolaDeck roof feedthrough box for running the panel wires through the roof deck into the two 1-1/4 inch conduit pipes as seen in the photos. I also bought the Radian Solar Technology Battery Box to house the battery bank. I built a cedar box to shield the RST Battery Box from the elements since I wanted the batteries on the outside of the garage wall where my Power Center is mounted. I also added a 14KW Kohler Generator after the original purchase.

How/Why did you choose to self-install?

I decided to self-install for two main reasons: (1) so I could install it the way I wanted it installed based upon my own analysis on what would be the most efficient and aesthetically pleasing, and (2) to save money on the cost of installation and state & local sales taxes (10.25%). I probably saved about a total of $14K.

I probably saved about a total of $14K.
– John S.

What was your primary reason for adding solar to your home?

I wanted to save money in the long run and have a power backup system in case the grid goes down for any reason. I also like the idea of using renewable energy from an environmental point of view.

 

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Install of the Month – August 2016

Install of the Month – August 2016

Coming directly from our System Design and Salesperson Todd E.:

“This month’s Install of the Month has to be my favorite yet! I really love the Craftsman styling of the home, it is not a Tiny Home, but has similar qualities with its efficient design aesthetics.”

“Gary had electrical needs very similar to my own home, so the system design was very easy. What is really the stand out feature of this system is the ability to run his mini split Panasonic Air Conditioner! Gary even sent a photo of his Magnum ME-ARC showing his system putting 24 amps into his battery bank while running that AC unit, and doing laundry. Amazing.”

“This system has 15 Astronergy 255 watt panels (current model 260 watt), a single Four Star Solar Magnum MS4448PAE power center, with a Midnite Classic 150 charge controller.
He has 16 Rolls Surrette L16 batteries for a total of 800 amp hours at 48 volts. That is roughly 12 kWh of power per “reasonable” cycle. The panels were mounted to his comp shingle roof using Quick Mount flashings and IronRidge XR100 racking.”

“Gary made his own battery box out of Hardieplank cement board siding. Smart choice, its fireproof! I reminded him that his battery cable conduit run should be lower than his battery box vents so that the hydrogen gas does not flow right up to the inverter. Hydrogen naturally rises and needs to exit the battery box, but you need to keep it away from your sensitive electronics. [Editorial Note: Lead acid batteries need to be vented because the chemical reaction releases gases as water molecules are split into hydrogen and oxygen. Read more about battery maintenance.]”

“This medium size system is the most popular one I sell. It will easily provide typical energy needs for a family of 2-4 people as long as you put the high energy demand items on propane, things like the water heater (on demand propane heaters are great!) clothes dryer, kitchen stove, and space heating. For an investment of under $20 grand, he now lives where he wants and is not tethered to the power company, does not have to worry about black outs, or disconnection notices for late payments. Once you go off grid, YOU are in charge. Off grid property is almost always a much better deal (read CHEAP LAND) and therefore leaves you money to build your house and buy your solar. Your property taxes are generally lower due to the low purchase price of the property. It’s a win win, as long as you don’t mind the lack of neighbors.”

“Thanks for sharing your project / vision with us Gary! Job well done!”

System Components in Gary W’s Solar Install:

We don’t get a lot of rain or cloudy days here, but I’ve only had to crank up the generator once since we got the solar system up and running, and that includes electric use by the contractors. – Gary W.

Interview with Gary W.

How long was the full installation process from receiving your equipment to flipping the switch? How many people did it take?

Took a day to install the panels; two guys on the roof, two on the ground. I installed the power center and wired up the batteries, and the electricians did the hardwiring. One day and one guy each. Actual time from delivery to switch-on was a few months, but that was because we were building the house.

Did you have any previous construction experience?

Nothing like this. I had a million questions for Todd.

What was the most confusing or difficult part of the installation?

Now that I know how, it would be a snap. It was difficult because I had no experience or knowledge of the parts or connections. I wish systems came with a simple install manual, but Todd tells me that such an instruction set would be difficult to come up with since there are so many variables. So you just buy the stuff and ask questions, and before you know it, you’re an “expert!”

Were there any unforeseen additional parts or tools you needed?

Nope.

How/Why did you choose to self-install?

Probably the same reason everyone does: money. Also, being out in the boondocks didn’t keep the delivery truck from coming, but it might have made it hard to get an installation company to come out here, 60 miles from the city.

What was your primary reason for adding solar to your home?

No choice. No power lines nearby, and the electric company told me each pole would cost me $10,000. I’m so happy I went solar – with free energy handed out by the sun every day, it’s a no-brainer.

Living literally in the shadow of the Power Link, I am off the grid. No power lines, water, gas, or cable come to my property.

I read on the Wholesale Solar site that “To capture the maximum amount of solar radiation over the course of a year, a solar array should be tilted at an angle approximately equal to a site’s latitude, and facing 15 degrees of due south.” With this in mind, I oriented the house exactly south and specified an 8/12 pitch roof. The latitude of Campo California is 32.6°, and the 8/12 roof is 33.7°. That’s as close as I could get for a fixed roof mount array.

With just the AC running, I’m putting about 35 amps into the batteries, which are usually at 100 percent by about mid-day. I also have a one horse well pump and a one-horse pressure pump, but I have the well pump on a timer to only come on in the middle of the night to top off my 5000 storage tank. That’s to avoid an unexpected surge when I’m using a lot of power for other things. Too big a surge can shut down the system, but it only requires the push of a button to restart.

We don’t get a lot of rain or cloudy days here, but I’ve only had to crank up the generator once since we got the solar system up and running, and that includes electric use by the contractors. I couldn’t be happier with my system and the fact that all this free energy falls on my house every day. Thanks to Wholesale Solar and especially Todd for all the help, advice, and encouragement (not to mention great equipment) that made my little homestead possible.

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Breakthrough Savings on Crown Batteries

Breakthrough Savings on Crown Batteries

Batteries are key components in backup, off-grid and other solar-with-storage systems, however ordering batteries from an online supplier is often cost-prohibitive due, primarily, to the associated shipping costs.  Let’s face it; batteries are heavy and therefore expensive to ship, making the total cost of a battery or battery bank largely dependent on how far away you are from your supplier.

Wholesale Solar now has a way to overcome this obstacle, thanks to our friends at Crown Battery.   Having been chosen as Crown Battery’s premier distributor for renewable energy products, Wholesale Solar now has full access to Crown Battery’s extensive, nationwide distribution network, which allows us to provide substantial savings on shipping, as well as preferred pricing, on all Crown batteries.

Crown Battery has been supplying premium quality batteries to the industrial and heavy equipment markets for nearly a century.   Drawing from their extensive experience and application-specific R&D, Crown Battery now manufactures premium quality batteries for the renewable energy market, all of which are backed by an exclusive Wholesale Solar/ Crown three year replacement warranty.

Started in 1926 in Fremont, Ohio; Crown Battery prides itself on absolute quality, with over 99% of their batteries manufactured at state-of-the-art facilities right here in the USA.  Being an American-owned company ourselves, Wholesale Solar is excited to work with a company who is as equally dedicated to providing quality American products and services.

To learn more about the breakthrough savings you’ll receive when ordering a Crown battery or battery bank for your back-up, off-grid or other battery based system, call Wholesale Solar at 1-800-474-1142 or visit us at www.wholesalesolar.com.

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