Dear Forum folks, after many hours of reading and research, Iím seeking your assistance with my solar system education and plans! Iím full timing in a 1981 Excella (at least another year; several more if I install a little woodstove) and want to have off grid ability. Please chime in on my process, ideas, and questions below!
Iíve been taking notes but donít yet have a total number on my overall power usage. My AC load seems pretty modest...biggest pull is my Vitamix blender (.02 kwh to make a smoothie), my electric blanket that I use to heat the bed briefly before crawling into bed (.03 kwh), my beloved Miele vacuum (.2 kwh 1x/wk). My most common AC use is to charge computer and phone, and play shortwave radio (6W) and speakers (19W). My DC needs are harder for me to measure (water pump, LED lights, furnace fans in winter, two Maxx fans in summer, converter). Fridge is on propane. Not planning on using air conditioner (I survived last summer without it).
So, I want to have enough power without paying more than I need for the system. Imagining I can either take the system with me if I sell my trailer in a few years (and use for a small house) or include in the airstream sale cost. I sat down with a knowledgeable solar friend and came up with the following tentative system (prices from altEstore):
- four 6-volt, 190 amp hour AGM Deka batteries model #8AGC2 $270 each = $1080. MK 8AGC2 AGM 190Ah (20 Hr) T881 Terminal
- two 270-watt Solar World modules (so 540 watt total), model #SW70 mono V2.5, $269 each = $538. SolarWorld 270 Watt Solar Panel, Sunmodule SW270 Mono V2.5 Frame
- 30 amp mppt charge controller, 150V Midnite Solar The Kid, $315. Midnite Solar The KID, 30A MPPT Charge Controller, 150V, Black
- invertor (here Iím not sure yetÖseems I need more load numbers to decide) maybe Outback 2800W, 12V
model# VFX2812, $1795. Outback VFX2812, 2800W, 12V Inverter
(might be more than I need? If so, maybe the Samlex 1500
for $615 plus an Iota 75 amp battery charger converter with ds IQ4, 4 stage charging for $328)
- $500 in miscellaneous parts for installation
- thatís a grand total of $4,228!!! (without installationóplanning to have a friend help with that and barter some of that expense)
Thereís also these solar kits that the folks over at Out of Doors Mart use a lot (which donít include batteries) from Go Power (price ends up about the same as above piece meal system):
320 watt: Solar Elite Charging System (320 watts) | GPElectric
(can find for about $2,700, without battteries)
480 watt: Solar Extreme Charging System (480 watts) | GPElectric
(on ebay for $3680, without batteries)
Planning on housing my batteries inside, under the as-yet-unbuilt couch at the hitch end (canít remember the proper airstream term here). I just measured my battery boxes and realize that the Dekaís are too tall to fit which would mean taking the boxes off and fitting all four under the couch. Not planning to mount modules on the roof since Iíll be parked long chunks of time (in shade in the summer) and want to be able to move the panels around (pole?, lean on ground?, weíll see).
Thanks for any flags of concern (what have I missed or misunderstood) or insight (like which invertor, is this system more than I need, etc.) as I move forward!