Author Topic: How to solar power my....Lab!  (Read 4164 times)

MJLorton

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How to solar power my....Lab!
« on: May 23, 2012, 11:17:31 AM »
Hi All,

Ok...plan to ultimately solar power our home but I plan to get started by running my lab off solar power.

I'm looking for input on possible ways of doing it....I will be measuring my current consumption as part of the exercise but the inverter / charger / solar regulator will be over spec'ed to cater for running part of the house later.

I'm looking for input on the method, type and brand of kit to use.
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Option 1:
* Use 2 x 250 watt mono-crystalline solar panels (confirm final numbers after consumption tests)
* Use my existing Outback FleXmax 60 solar regulator to charge normal lead acid or lead crystal batteries
* Use a 3000 watt pure sine wave inverter to power the lab

Pros: Least cost as I already have the FlexMax 60 and a "dumb" pure sine wave inverter would be a moderate cost.
Cons: There is no intelligent fall back to the main grid supply should the battery bank run too low.
======================================================================================
Option 2:
* Use 2 x 250 watt mono-crystalline solar panels (confirm final numbers after consumption tests)
* Use my existing Outback FleXmax 60 solar regulator to charge normal lead acid or lead crystal batteries
* Use Victon energy (MultiPlus) / SMA / other inverter-charger combo to run the lab

Pros: I own the FlexMax so no outlay there. An intelligent inverter / charger would allow fall back to the main grid feed when battery bank runs low.
Cons: I would need to purchase the intelligent inverter / charger...not cheap. Using the FlexMax to charge the batteries and then inverting back to AC is not very efficient.
========================================================================================
Option 3:
* Use 2 x 250 watt mono-crystalline solar panels (confirm final numbers after consumption tests)
* Use a Victron energy / SMA / Other grid tie inverter to feed the "lab grid" which also feeds into a Victron energy (MultiPlus) / SMA / other inverter-charger combo...connected to battery bank.

Pros: This should be the most efficient and intelligent system....
Cons: Cost of both grid tie and inverter-charger combo
=========================================================================================
Option 4:

Provide your own proposal....!

==========================================================================================

Here is the link to the Victron energy inverter charger I would think of using:
http://www.victronenergy.com/inverters-chargers/multiplus-12v-24v-48v-800va-3kva/
The grid tie from Victron:
http://www.victronenergy.com/solar/bluesolar-grid-inverter/

Grid tie from SMA:
http://www.sma-uk.com/en_UK/products/solar-inverters/sunny-boy/sunny-boy-1200-1700-2500-3000.html

I hope to have a lead crystal battery for review and testing soon....

Cheers,
Martin.
Play, discover, learn and enjoy! (and don't be scared to make mistakes along the way!)

kibi

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Re: How to solar power my....Lab!
« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2012, 04:38:55 PM »
Martin,
I'm pro to any option that doesn't feed into Eskom. They'll be more that happy to take energy from you, but I doubt they'll be as happy to supply it back to you.
I'm not sure if any plans exist for feed in customers over there yet?
I'm more for the off grid solution. I'm planning to run my bench off grid in the near future, as you say, small steps.

If I may contribute to option  number 4. Charge your batteries from the 500W array and then any excess energy is dumped into your geyser.

The strange thing is, over here in the UK, you don't hear much about Victron. In Zim, I worked on a lot of their UPS systems in big companies. Victron is a big name in Zim.
Also, I assume you got hold of the Outback when you were living in Cleveland? Jolly nice product I think.

MJLorton

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Re: How to solar power my....Lab!
« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2012, 05:23:42 AM »
Martin,
I'm pro to any option that doesn't feed into Eskom. They'll be more that happy to take energy from you, but I doubt they'll be as happy to supply it back to you.
I'm not sure if any plans exist for feed in customers over there yet?
I'm more for the off grid solution. I'm planning to run my bench off grid in the near future, as you say, small steps.

If I may contribute to option  number 4. Charge your batteries from the 500W array and then any excess energy is dumped into your geyser.

The strange thing is, over here in the UK, you don't hear much about Victron. In Zim, I worked on a lot of their UPS systems in big companies. Victron is a big name in Zim.
Also, I assume you got hold of the Outback when you were living in Cleveland? Jolly nice product I think.

LOL...no...I don't plan to feed into Eskom as for one....our prepaid meter would "tamper trip" and require a call out for a "secret code" to be entered....which could take hours / days...in which time we would not have power...

I do want a system that can fall back to Eskom if the battery bank runs low....so the Victron inverters seem to do that well and are configurable.

I bought the Outback here but besides the charge controllers they don't seem to do much else here.

Interesting to hear you worked on Victron kit....were you happy with the build quality?

Cheers,
Martin.
Play, discover, learn and enjoy! (and don't be scared to make mistakes along the way!)

JoseLog

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Re: How to solar power my....Lab!
« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2013, 04:30:53 PM »
Martin.

I have some solar panels, and some grid-tied micro inverters, like the ones of Enphase: http://enphase.com/products/enphase-microinverters/
which doesn't have any communication capability.

What if i use a Solar Switch? the one offered by Victron Energy: http://www.victronenergy.com.es/upload/documents/Brochure%20-%20Solarswitch%20-%20SAL064122020%20-%2002%20-%201103%20-%20EN_web.pdf

The Solar Switch is able to communicate with the Multiplus.... but, could these microinverters charge the batteries with the excess power from my solar panels?.

besides, don't know if this is the right topic for this forum but... is there any Victron Energy product (hybrid inverter-charger) capable of feeding energy into the grid, while charging the batteries or something like that???

Thanks a lot.

Best.