Tag: Off-grid

How to Size an Off-Grid Solar System

How to Size an Off-Grid Solar System

Renewable energy sources like solar and wind are ideal for powering equipment in remote locations. In this article, we’ll outline a step-by-step process for sizing an off-grid solar system so you can generate electricity even when you’re miles from the nearest power line.

These types of systems power off-grid homes, as well as a variety of industrial applications where equipment needs to be powered at remote work sites. Common applications include lighting, telecommunication equipment, sensors, environmental monitors, security cameras, traffic signals, water pumps, cathodic protection systems, and anything else that requires reliable power in a remote location.

The following guidelines are intended to help size an off-grid solar system based on a given location, energy requirements, and desired days of autonomy (how long the battery bank can supply power before it needs to be recharged).

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Step 1: Determine Energy Requirements

First, you need to know how much energy the equipment uses on a daily basis. This is measured in watt-hours or kilowatt-hours per day. For example, let’s assume the equipment consumes 10 watts of power and operates 24 hours a day:

10 Watts x 24 hours = 240 watt hours per day or .24 kWh per day

How do you find this information? Check the data sheet or manual for your equipment to find out how much power it consumes (in Watts), and then multiply that by the number of operating hours per day. If possible, use a meter to measure the power consumption for an accurate real-world measurement.

If you are using an inverter to produce AC power for a load, remember to account for the inverter’s self-consumption and efficiency losses. Inverters consume a small amount of power while they are operating. Reference the inverter spec sheet, and add the self-consumption to your daily total. Inverter self-consumption typically ranges from under 1 watt, to around 30 watts depending on the inverter.

Efficiency losses can be from 5% to 15% depending on the inverter and how much it’s loaded. This will be accounted for when sizing the batteries. It’s important to invest in a quality, high-efficiency inverter.

Step 2: Evaluate Site Location

Next, determine where the system will be installed to estimate available solar energy.

Use a solar insolation map (also called a ‘sun hours map’) to estimate available PV resources. The system should be sized based on the month with the highest power consumption and/or lowest solar resource, typically December or January.

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has an online resource for mapping available solar radiation. Here is a map of the minimum daily sun hours in January in the United States with a south-facing array:

Minimum Solar Insolation in January

Most of the US has fairly low solar insolation in January. Generally, 2.5 sun hours is a good estimate, but it could be lower or higher depending on your location. We will use 2.5 minimum sun hours for our example.

Solar panels are designed to be installed in full sun. Shade is going to impact performance. Even partial shade on one panel will have a large impact. Inspect the site to make sure your solar array will be exposed to full sun during daily peak sun hours. Keep in mind that the sun’s angle will change throughout the year.

Other Considerations

There are a few other things to think about at this point:

System voltage: Determine what power requirements your equipment has. Off-grid PV systems typically output these common voltages: 12Vdc, 24Vdc, 48Vdc, or 120Vac.

Solar panels and batteries use DC power, and some equipment can be wired directly to the batteries provided it can handle real-world battery voltages. These can range from 10-15 volts for a 12-volt system, 20-30 volts for a 24-volt system, and 40-60 volts for a 48-volt system.

Days of autonomy: The number of days the equipment must operate on battery power with limited solar power. Between 5-20 days is typical, depending on the area and expectations for operating performance. You need enough autonomy to keep the equipment operating through extended periods of overcast weather.

Step 3: Calculate Battery Bank Size

Now we should have enough information to size the battery bank. After the battery bank is sized, we can determine how much solar power is required to keep it charged.

Here is how to calculate battery bank size in our example of 240Wh/day based on lead-acid batteries:

First, we need to account for the inefficiency of the inverter (if you are using an inverter). Depending on the equipment, 5-15% is usually reasonable. Check the spec sheet for the inverter to determine the efficiency. We’ll use a 10% inefficiency for this example:

240 Wh x 1.1 efficiency compensation = 264 watt hours

This is the amount of energy drawn from the battery to run the load through the inverter.

Next, we need to account for the effects of temperature on a battery’s capacity to deliver energy. Lead-acid batteries lose capacity as temps go down and we can use the following chart to increase battery capacity, based on the expected battery temperature:

For our example, we’ll add a 1.59 multiplier to our battery bank size to compensate for a battery temperature of 20°F in the winter:

240 Wh x 1.1 x 1.59 = 419.76 watt hours

Next, account for the efficiency loss that occurs when charging and discharging batteries. Typically we use 20% inefficiency for lead-acid batteries, and 5% for Lithium-ion.

240 Wh x 1.1 x 1.59 x 1.2 = 503.71 watt-hours minimum energy storage requirement

This is for a single day of autonomy, so we need to then multiply it by the number of days of required autonomy. For 5 days of autonomy, it would be:

504 wh x 5 days = 2,520 watt hours of energy storage

As you can see, the battery bank size is quickly increasing due to factors including temperature and required days of autonomy. All of these things affect your battery bank size significantly and need to be carefully considered.

Lead-acid batteries are commonly rated in amp hours (Ah) rather than watt-hours (Wh). To convert watt-hours to amp hours, divide by the system’s battery voltage. In our example:

2,625 Wh ÷ 12v = 220 Ah 12V battery bank

2,625 Wh ÷ 24v = 110 Ah 24V battery bank

2,625 Wh ÷ 48v = 55 Ah 48V battery bank

When sizing a battery bank, always consider the discharge depth, or how much capacity is discharged from the battery. Sizing a lead acid battery for a maximum 50% depth of discharge will extend the battery’s life. Lithium batteries are not as affected by deep discharges, and can typically handle deeper discharges without substantially affecting battery life.

Total required minimum battery capacity: 2.52 kilowatt hours

Note that this is the minimum amount of battery capacity needed, and increasing the battery size can make the system more reliable, especially in areas prone to extended overcast weather.

Step 4: Figure Out How Many Solar Panels You Need

Now that we’ve determined battery capacity, we can size the charging system. Normally we use solar panels, but a combination of wind and solar might make sense for areas with good wind resource, or for systems requiring more autonomy. The charging system needs to produce enough to fully replace the energy drawn out of the battery while accounting for all efficiency losses.

In our example, based on 2.5 peak sun hours and 240 Wh per day energy requirement:

240 Wh / 2.5 hours = 96 Watts PV array size

However, we need to account for real-world losses caused by inefficiencies, module soiling, aging, and voltage drop, which are generally estimated to be around 15%:

96 array watts / .85 = 112.94 W minimum size for the PV array

Note that this is the minimum size for the PV array. A larger array will make the system more reliable, especially if no other backup source of energy, such as a generator, is available.

These calculations also assume that the solar array will receive unobstructed direct sunlight from 8 AM to 4 PM during all seasons. If all or part of the solar array is shaded during the day, an adjustment to the PV array size needs to be made.

One other consideration needs to be addressed: lead-acid batteries need to be fully charged on a regular basis. They require a minimum of around 10 amps of charge current per 100 amp hours of battery capacity for optimal battery life. If lead-acid batteries aren’t recharged regularly, they will likely fail, usually within the first year of operation.

The maximum charge current for lead acid batteries is typically around 20 amps per 100 Ah (C/5 charge rate, or battery capacity in amp hours divided by 5) and somewhere between this range is ideal (10-20 amps of charge current per 100ah).

Refer to the battery specs and user manual to confirm the minimum and maximum charging guidelines. Failure to meet these guidelines will typically void your battery warranty and risk premature battery failure.

Here are standard configurations of PV arrays with battery banks. The battery capacity calculated in the previous step can be compared against this table to find a suitably sized system:

Array Size: PV Watts (STC)Battery Bank Size:
Watt Hours (@ C20 rate)
Battery Bank Ah Capacity
100-17560050Ah @ 12Vdc
200-3501,200100Ah @ 12Vdc
50Ah @ 24Vdc
400-7002,400200Ah @12Vdc
100Ah @ 24Vdc
800-1,4004,800400Ah @ 12Vdc
200Ah @ 24Vdc
100Ah @ 48Vdc
2,000-3,0009,600800Ah @ 12Vdc
400Ah @ 24Vdc
200Ah @ 48Vdc
4,000-6,00019,200800Ah @ 24Vdc
400Ah @ 48Vdc
8,000-12,00038,400800Ah @ 48Vdc

This information is intended to be a general guide and there are a lot of factors that can influence system size. There are also alternative options such as incorporating a backup gas generator or wind generator(s) to reduce the minimum battery requirement.

If the equipment is critical and in a remote location, it pays to oversize it because the cost of maintenance can quickly exceed the price of a few extra solar panels. On the other hand, for certain applications, you may be able to start small and expand later depending on how it performs. System size will ultimately be determined by your energy consumption, the site location and also the expectations for performance based on days of autonomy.

If you need help with this process, feel free to schedule a free consultation with us and we can design a system for your needs based on the location and energy requirements.

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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.

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.

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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.

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Install of the Month – October 2017

Install of the Month – October 2017

"Solar After the Storm" with Cyril Richardson

Have you ever weathered a hurricane?

Come face-to-face with the wind and the rain as it blows at you with twice the speed of a car on the freeway?

It’s one of the most powerful, terrifying experiences on Earth—and Cyril Richardson and his family went through it twice.

First, in early September, 2017, Hurricane Irma devastated the US Virgin Islands that Cyril calls home.

But then, just as they were only starting to wrap their heads around recovery, Cyril, his wife, and their two children had to stare down Hurricane Maria—their second category 5 storm in two weeks.

They made it through both safely, but, like thousands of other Virgin Island residents, they found themselves without power—and with no real hope of having it restored for months.

Luckily, before the hurricanes were even a concern, Cyril had started looking into solar systems. What had started as a plan to simply offset his utility bill quickly became a lifeline.

After considering his options, he chose Wholesale Solar as his supplier, working with Solar Technician Jeremy Allan, who helped design and deliver a custom system within 8 days.

Cyril and his family installed an off-grid system—the obvious choice, given the power system in the USVIs. To cope with both the rough weather and the requirements of his home, Jeremy helped Cyril settle on the dependability of The Ranch 8.85 KW system; this set-up both suits his needs now and can be programmed to work as grid-assisted once power is restored next year.

Cyril Richardson: In his own words

What kind of system did you install?

I bought an off-grid system, which just made more sense for the situation here. The power won’t be restored here for almost nine months, so it makes perfect sense to provide my own power and become self-sufficient.

What kind of battery bank did you get and why?

A 16-AGM (Absorbed Gas Mat) battery bank because it requires little-to-no maintenance. That makes it useful for going off-grid.

Did you have any previous DIY experience?

I own a company that builds and maintains reverse-osmosis water treatment, so I’ve done hands-on work in the past.

Was there anything difficult about the installation?

Pulling the wire through the conduit was a bit more difficult than I expected it to be, but I managed. There was some heavy lifting involved, so I had a couple of guys assist me with carrying the panels onto the roof. I definitely appreciated having extra help.

The batteries for the system were delayed unexpectedly, due to shortages. We were able to work with the manufacturer to ensure the quickest delivery of the freshest set of batteries, however. In the meantime I helped Cyril use batteries that he already had on-site to get his system up and running.
–  Solar Tech Jeremy Allen.

Did everything go smoothly?

I had everything I needed already, and was able to do it without hiring a contractor. It took about 14 hours after everything was said and done. The installation process went smoothly, and there weren’t any major delays.

How did it feel to get your solar project finished?

Very excited! It felt great to finish a project this big and to have power restored to my home. It’s a great relief to have the lights on and everything functioning again.

Did you consider anyone else before choosing Wholesale Solar?

I looked at a few other companies here in the Virgin Islands, but none of them offered the same independence or DIY ease-of-installation that Wholesale Solar did.

What was your total solar install cost?

After everything was said and done my total install cost was around $30,000.

Cyril's Solar Breakdown:

  • Cost of Contractor: None
  • Cost of Electrician: None
  • Total Hours to install: 14 hours
  • Design Output of kWh per year: 15,000-16,000 kWh
  • Federal Tax Incentive: Qualifies for $10,000 U.S. Federal Tax Credit
  • Utility rates per kWh: 13.12 cents/kWh
  • Average Monthly Utility cost: was $175
  • Feed-in Tariff/Net Metering Issues: None (once Grid is Up)

Questions about Cyril's install? Ask us in the comments below.

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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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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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Install of the Month – July 2016

Install of the Month – July 2016

 

RC Car Charging Station with Jeremy A

This fun and unique Install of the Month features our very own Jeremy A! Jeremy is one of our go-to guys for technical design and sales here at Wholesale Solar. Recently he and his son took two of their RC cars to the Camp and Crawl 2016 racing event hosted by the Jefferson State Scaler RC Club. He came up with the brilliant idea of creating a fully portable solar system to provide power for the several days they were going to be off the grid, camping and enjoying the event at the Siskiyou Bowmen range. The two RC aficionados competed against 52 other cars in a three hour battle royale, managing to come in 2nd in the hill climb event.

After many trips to our local crawl course and courses where they host other multiple-day events, it became obvious that there was a way to incorporate solar to fill a void that may have been overlooked for years.

“The idea of the RC Car Charging Station started in the beginning of the year when I first joined our local Jefferson State Scaler RC Club,” Jeremy shared. “All of our RC crawlers are running on battery power, and so are the drones that videotape them. These batteries can be charged with an AC source, or by plugging the charger into your full-size 12v car battery. I’d pull up to RC events and see a line of full size vehicles with their hoods up and their RC car battery chargers plugged in. I knew of a better way, so I got to work putting my idea together.”

“To create the charging station I tested my own RC Battery Chargers to see what the actual draw was,” Jeremy stated. “Knowing that we could have more than 20 people using this charger at the same time I started designing the system with options for both AC and DC Charging with multiple areas to plug in. Being that most chargers are more efficient working directly with DC, I concentrated on a large DC charging spot and only a minimal AC Charge with a 300w Inverter. This inverter was enough to run a fluorescent shop light that illuminated our full camp, a number of phone and laptop chargers along with a number of AC Powered RC Battery Chargers.”

-Jeremy A

This system consists of 670 watts of Suniva American Made Solar Panels, a Midnite Classic, 150 vDC Charge Controller, Morningstar SureSine Inverter, Crown AGM 390ah Batteries and a IronRidge Racking System. This all fit perfectly on an inexpensive garden trailer that I purchased from my local Tractor Supply.

 

System Components in Jeremy A’s Solar Install:

Crown AGM 390ah Batteries Midnite Solar Classic 150 MPPT Charge Controller and Morningstar SureSine 300 Inverter suniva 335 solar panels

 

Even though the event took place entirely outdoors over a few days, Jeremy and fellow campers were able to power their lights and recharge phones and computers. He was even able to power his amp and guitar for some late night off-grid rockin’?! The system was built with approximately 4.68 kWs capacity, and pulling at maximum draw he could power his electrical equipment for about 7.8 hours. The panels themselves are generating 700 watts an hour of electricity from the sun. The solar equipment is inside a NEMA-rated box with the solar panels bolted down to the trailer, with the whole system costing about $2500. As you can see from our Appliance Wattage Table, if he wanted to bring a microwave or air conditioner on his next RC and camping adventure, he would have to upgrade to a larger inverter to draw more power from the batteries or solar panels.

If DIY isn’t your thing, you could achieve a similar portable solar setup simply by combining one of our complete portable battery backup systems, that we call the Rolling Thunder series, with a few solar panels. Just call us and find out how! 800-472-1142

 

Watch The Wraith in Action

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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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Essay: This Off-Grid American Life

Essay: This Off-Grid American Life

By Wil Burlin, Off-Grid Specialist Wholesale Solar

When I first moved off the grid it was because we bought property where there were no power lines yet. I didn’t know what I was getting into.

I also didn’t know that I was about to go on the biggest adventure of my life. Or that I would become a solar enthusiast, off grid system designer and installer. From those beginnings, I have developed a lifelong mission to be as sustainable as possible while living a comfortable “normal” life.

We raised our 16-year-old daughter off the grid in a handmade adobe house, and a few years ago I purchased a new off grid straw bale home. Our daughter has learned to conserve, to problem solve, to become self-sufficient and to appreciate things that would be expected in a typical American home.

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Tiny House Movement Gains Momentum in United States

Tiny House Movement Gains Momentum in United States

Tiny houses offer the benfit of mobility
This tiny house is a built on a Mobile Park Model RV offering the benefit of mobility.

There is a housing trend emerging throughout the country based on people building or buying tiny homes. This tiny-living trend is a social movement where people are downsizing to focus on smaller spaces and simplified living. Tiny Houses come in all shapes, sizes and forms, and the typical small or tiny house is around 100-400 square feet.

Reasons to go tiny

People are joining the tiny home movement for many reasons, such as environmental concerns, financial concerns and seeking more time and freedom. Some of the reasons people are deciding to go tiny include:

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