|The Wholesale Solar Plug-n-Play 4400 Power Central is simply amazing! My wife, Sandy and I initially ordered our WSS Plug-n-Play 4400 Power Central from Isaac Cunningham at Wholesale Solar in June 2010.
We are most impressed with it capabilities including 4400 watts of pure sine wave 120/240 volt, 30 amp run power plus its tremendous surge capacity for starting up electric motors. The 6volt, 200 amp hour AGM batteries in series result in 48 volts of direct current and a total of 9600 watt hours of which 7200 are available (at a state of charge of 25%.) The information available from the battery monitor and system controller provides the information needed to manage the system.
Our goal was to be able to remain in our home during the extended power outages after hurricanes strike our rural northern Florida area. We had experienced a 12 day outage followed by another with a five day outage. Motel and restaurant costs got expensive. We had to find a reliable source of power to run emergency essential electrical loads so we could stay in our home during emergencies. Our 15 KW generator has to run at least 18 hours a day to keep the fridge and freezer cold enough--it's noisy and guzzles gasoline at the rate of 1.6 gallons per hour. We thought a solar system might reduce the run time, expense and racket. Our quest for answers began with very little knowledge.
We identified the essential electrical requirements. The well pump has to work--so does the fridge and freezer. We both use breathing machines at night. The gas furnace requires electricity to operate the air handler/fan motor to heat the house in winter. Finally, our hard water situation requires power for a water softener. These were our emergency essential power requirements. We wondered if a solar application could satisfy our need. Searching the web, we found the Wholesale Solar website, www.wholesalesolar.com.
Before calling anyone at Wholesale Solar, I spent a lot of time on the website,. There is a ton of information available on that site which I could not find on other sites. I learned a great deal by reading the available product information, manuals, descriptions and specifications. I also read three small basic-level books on electricity, solar applications and simplified wiring concepts.
We called Wholesale Solar and Isaac Cunningham answered phone. He became our personal coach. Isaac was the best source of information. He led us to define the emergency essential wattage requirements, and then matched our needs to the right system, which was the WSS Plug-n-Play 4400 Power Central. He provided a wiring diagram for the permit application. He added the required cables, circuit breakers, solar panels and racks, and other parts necessary to complete our installation kit. After installation, he helped us understand how to optimize and apply the system's tremendous capabilities in our specific situation. His support after the sale was wonderful! We are very grateful!
Sandy and I, with help from our 13 grandkids, constructed the ground mount and clamped on the solar modules. Then we dug trenches from the solar array to the shed (which houses the inverter-charger, charge controller and batteries), and dug other trenches for six circuits from the shed to the well pump and the house. We constructed a simple chemical containment box, connected electrical conduit, inserted the wires and covered the trenches. The smallest children carried water for the rest of the clan. We had a lot of fun working together, and I had the wonderful opportunity to teach the kids that all honest work is honorable and that even hard work can be enjoyable and satisfying.
The work progressed slowly and steadily. We completed the construction in a couple of months. A younger person, or someone with a little more experience or equipment heavier than a shovel, could have finished sooner. It was a great learning experience for the family. The county code inspector approved our work!
S. E. Williams Electric, Inc. of Gainesville, Florida made all the electrical connections, installed the necessary grounding and insured code compliance under their own permit. This company has a solar-qualified electrician on their staff, who reviewed my plan and performed the actual installation and the startup procedure, and made helpful suggestions. He installed new outlets from the solar system next to the existing outlets for the fridge, freezer, breathing machines and water softener, and directly connected the well pump and furnace fan.
|Then the electrician installed all six circuits through a new electrical transfer circuit switch in the shed. A toggle switch for each circuit allows the user to select either grid power or power from the solar backup system or turned off for any reason. He also installed a system kill switch at the power pole to comply with fire department regulations and code. He grounded the system and the array, and connected the inverter-charger to a 30 amp/240 volt circuit breaker in an existing electrical panel in the shed.
I found the owner's manual for the Magnum ARC 50 to be most helpful. The information provided by the ARC and the Battery Monitoring Kit, is essential. No system should be without either one. I invested some time in recording key readings in a journal.
At Isaac's suggestion, I recently conducted a useful experiment. His suggestion was to turn off the grid supply and test the system using state of charge (SOC) information provided by the Magnum ARC 50. The central question to be answered was, "How long will the combination of the renewable energy from the solar panels and the batteries last without recharging from the grid?"
So with a fully charged system (i.e. SOC = 100%), we disconnected the grid and recorded the State Of Charge several times each day. The target for completion of the test was a 25 percent state of charge. The test began at 7:00 PM on Friday, January 8th, and ended at 5:00PM on Thursday, January 13th. On the last day of the test, the SOC reached a low of 26% at 10:00 AM. By the 5:00 PM termination of the test, the SOC had recovered to 45% using only the energy from the solar array. Our emergency essential circuits were off grid five days and 22 hours.
What a blessing God has given! The system supported our essential loads longer than we even hoped. This deeper understanding changed our operational strategy from one that excessively pampered the batteries to one that takes full advantage of the available solar energy. It minimizes our grid energy requirement on a daily basis!
During utility power outages, we will only use the generator once or twice/week to charge the batteries when the SOC drops close to 25%--this will likely be necessary only in winter when the days are shorter.
Using this newly found knowledge, I reprogrammed the time to connect to the grid for only three hours each evening--solar energy will provide adequate power for the other 21 hours/day. Knowing the system will carry our emergency loads for six winter days, my goal for normal day to day operation is to maximize the use of solar power in order to cut our monthly utility power bill as much as possible.
This goal will be accomplished by sparingly connecting the grid each night to top off the battery bank, bringing the SOC from about 84% at back to 100%. By 10:00 AM, the SOC will have dropped down to about 85% due to the loads overnight. At this latitude, the winter sun begins to recharge the batteries and carry the loads around 10:00 AM, providing about 22 charging amps from the solar array, which continues until about 4:00 PM. This strategy should significantly extend the life of the batteries and keep them at or near full charge in anticipation of extended power outages in the future.
In conclusion, Sandy and I are grateful for all the wonderful help from Wholesale Solar. I have never before experienced such a professional and sincere effort to make the planning, implementation and operation of such a major purchase so pleasant, rewarding and successful. You provided a great product, and service well above our expectations.
Our best wishes to the entire Wholesale Solar Team.