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-   -   Solar Install Costs...$8k (https://www.airforums.com/forums/f37/solar-install-costs-8k-92968.html)

Mike91208 06-26-2012 04:43 PM

Solar Install Costs...$8k
 
Just received a quote for the installation of a 400 watt charging system from an AM Solar dealer in my area: $8,343!

That's about $2k per 100 watt. No question, it would be top drawer, but is this typical? (I almost choked on my coffee when he got back to me with this price!)

Foiled Again 06-26-2012 04:47 PM

Go price a pair of 2000 watt generators. They will work when the sun DOESN'T shine!


Seems way high to me.

purman 06-26-2012 05:41 PM

You can get a 100 watt panel from Northern Tools for $400. 400 watts seems a ton. What are you doing watching tv?

AWCHIEF 06-26-2012 05:50 PM

Mike, that is totally out of hand. Get another quote from somewhere else if you are not up to doing the job yourself.

purman 06-26-2012 05:57 PM

Plus you can get a charge controller for $90 that does up to 450 watts. You could do it yourself for less than $2000. or buy the stuff for $1,700 and have someone else install it.. $8,000 they must be crazy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

RickDavis 06-26-2012 06:33 PM

My 250 watt system, including charge controller and Bogart monitor set me back about $1800 on a do it yourself basis.
At that time 8 years ago panels were going for about $5.00 a watt.Now they are below $2. a watt. Have actually seen them pushing $1.00 a watt a few places
Either he has a high markup or a very high labor charge

Wabbiteer 06-26-2012 06:33 PM

You need to spell out details on what the system you chose to be quoted was - and what labor charges were called out on it too...

Either of their 100w panels are pretty much a deal at $1.90 or $2.50 a watt when bought separately.

Their prices on the Magnum line of pure-sine inverters and chargers are low/middle of the pack too, and thats a great inverter.

Their mounting systems are a little pricey but come complete except for sealants.

Their battery line is only AGM type and they have a full selection with that 'full' list price schedule too.

Some how $8000+ does not compute unless you requested upgrades to every available option!!



Stay far far away from the harbor freight / northern tools panels 'thin-film' panels.

garry 06-26-2012 06:41 PM

Check out this site lots of info and good prices.

RV and Marine pre-packaged solar power kits

IMO $8000 is out of line.

Mike91208 06-26-2012 07:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Wabbiteer (Post 1166201)
You need to spell out details on what the system you chose to be quoted was - and what labor charges were called out on it too...
Some how $8000+ does not compute unless you requested upgrades to every available option!!

Labor charges were about a third of the total price. There are all kinds of variables here, I realize, but without getting into all the details, I basically wanted 400 watts of power, installed. No upgrades involved. Thanks, everyone, for your replies!

Soyboy 06-26-2012 08:50 PM

My 150 watt AM Solar system with a 200W Morningstar Charge Controller with remote readout and all the wires clips connectors etc. etc. cost about $1,500. I installed it myself. BTW the installation of the panels and Charge Controller was very easy. Hardest part was having to remove the pantry / Microwave cabinet in order to install the wire. For the record I ran the wire from the roof down the fridge vent (using a grommet in the alum on the side of the vent coming out of the roof). Anyway your quote sounds way high. I also want to say that I was very happy dealing with AM Solar. Good folks and very helpful with the pre and post purchase questions.

Friday 06-26-2012 08:52 PM

I have some friends in the 'green' business. Things are busy for them, so they quote high. That's why they are called quotes - get a few of them to see who is screwing you the least.

The local RV dealer here does 150 watts for $1200 installed... adding more/bigger panels is pretty much just an increase in the parts...

Ultradog 06-26-2012 08:58 PM

I don't get it.
You've got a 3 ton camper being pulled by (I'm guessing) a 3 ton vehicle.
Probably gets 12 mpg on the road.
Is this an attempt to go Green somehow or are you really doing that much boondocking?
It seems that a 2KW generator at $800 and 200 gals of fuel at $4/gal = $800 would last you about forever. And that's not counting the increased air drag from all the paraphernalia attached to your roof.
What am I missing here?

steverino 06-26-2012 09:06 PM

One more datapoint for you, AM Solar 300 watt system, with upgraded 45A morningstar controller and cables, in the event I wanted to add more panels some day. Materials $2500, and a weekend of my time to install.

To store the output of your 400 watts, are you upgrading/adding batteries as well? Adding an inverter? Those components could account for part of the quote as well.

A description of my install is at the link in sig.

tee3411 06-26-2012 10:17 PM

I built a solar system for my 1.5acre property in northern Az. I have a 1974 30ft Silver Streak trailer with a 12x20 attached living & bed room building.. I have 3 used panels totaling 285 watts, 10 - 6volt deep cycle batteries,3000 watt inverter which cost me less than $2500.00 For my 25ft AS Caravanner I'm installing 1- 100 watt panel and 2-Ge 6volt Trogan batteries aprox $500-600 That should be good for boondocking for a few days. Generator back if longer stay without shore power....Tee

purman 06-26-2012 11:18 PM

Like I said at the beginning, What are you trying to run? a tv. 100 watts will charge your batteries no problem during the day. 200-300 watt is more than you will probably ever want. If you need energy that bad get the generator and a propane kit for it.

Personally Solar for the house is not really cost effective, just like geo thermal. Takes to long to recoupe your money. Unless you live in the middle of nowhere and have no choice.

Same can be true for the AS. How much do you dry camp?
Generators are cheaper and provide more power. And are not effected by weather!!!!

I have a 15 watt panel on a tripod so I can move it around in the sun to recharge my battery. Cost me a $100 and works great. I like to camp in the shade if possible so having it on a stand makes since to me. If it was on top of the AS, it wouldn't work as well.

lewster 06-26-2012 11:30 PM

Let's put this into perspective.

The system that was quoted contains quite a bit more than simply 400 watts of solar panels and a charge controller, but we can start there. Then add a Magnum MS-2012 pure sine wave inverter/charger with a 100 amp fully adjustable, temperature compensated 3-stage charging section and 2000 watts of inverter power.

Then add 2 new Lifeline GPL-6CT 300 amp/hour AGM batteries. Then re-wire the trailer to utilize the Magnum's battery charging capability and dump the garbage converter provided with the trailer. Then run a minimum of 6AWG wire (sorry, but the 10AWG from Airstream is good for one panel, maybe!) from the solar array to the controller, and then to the batteries. Use 4 AM Solar GS-100 panels which are the smallest, lightest and most efficient 100 watt panels currently available and mount them to the roof WITHOUT A SINGLE ROOF PENETRATION. After all, don't new Airstreams already leak enough right from the factory?:blink:

Then re-wire the AC circuits to power the inverter/charger and then connect it to the internal AC circuits that will be run by the inverter when no shore power is present.

Add in little things like proper fusing and circuit breakers in the charge lines as required by RVIA and NEC code, using 2/0 cable from the batteries to the inverter with a class T fuse and a new auxiliary 120VAC circuit breaker box for the new inverter circuits.

Add in 30-40 hours of installation labor plus materials and you now have a more complete picture of what is required for this type of system. This is a premium system and one that is generally not done by the DIY type. Also, the solar components from AM Solar are in a class by themselves and are not at all comparable with anything from the likes of Northern Tool of Harbor freight.

At peak sun, this system will put 30-35 amps into the batteries with the boost obtained by the MPPT controller and the 'hotter' voltages from the GS-100 panels.

Any questions?:D

barts 06-27-2012 01:22 AM

Here's what I really like about our 200W AM solar DIY installed system.... there's nothing to think about. I never worry about the noise rules, someone stealing my generator, carrying gasoline in my truck, etc. It just works; the batteries are charged 100% at the end of the day whether or not I remember that I've got solar panels.


- Bart

Gene 06-27-2012 04:21 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ultradog (Post 1166263)
Is this an attempt to go Green somehow or are you really doing that much boondocking?
It seems that a 2KW generator at $800 and 200 gals of fuel at $4/gal = $800 would last you about forever. And that's not counting the increased air drag from all the paraphernalia attached to your roof.
What am I missing here?

For the most part, a trailer isn't practical either.

As for the cost, premium jobs cost a lot. A sub-premium set up like mine costs a lot less and is the toy we wanted.

Gene

RickDavis 06-27-2012 04:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ultradog (Post 1166263)
I don't get it.
You've got a 3 ton camper being pulled by (I'm guessing) a 3 ton vehicle.
Probably gets 12 mpg on the road.
Is this an attempt to go Green somehow or are you really doing that much boondocking?
It seems that a 2KW generator at $800 and 200 gals of fuel at $4/gal = $800 would last you about forever. And that's not counting the increased air drag from all the paraphernalia attached to your roof.
What am I missing here?

In our case we really do boondock that much. In fact usually only see electric hookups at rallies.

It is also quiet and requires little or no maintenance ( a bottle of windex). No rope pulling, noise, loading and unloading, gasoline to carry, security of generator etc.
But I do have to agree a generator is cheaper and having solar does not .eliminate the need for a small generator occasionally.
For our style of camping I would not like to be with out the solar because of the convenience.
" Green" was not a consideration at all in our decision to go solar.

If finances was the only factor in these things we would be driving an econo car and staying in cheap motels

ROBERT CROSS 06-27-2012 05:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ultradog (Post 1166263)
I don't get it.
What am I missing here?


Not much.....:rolleyes:

IMHO.....most solor installz are ego based, not greenly inspired. Seems a lot of folks have a real aversion to pull cord power, we do not.

For us the dollars spent on a Sol panel install would take much too long to recoup here in the NE.
For others, not so much.

Pull-n-play awhile a day....I'm fine with that.

TETO :nuke:


Bob
:flowers:

Skater 06-27-2012 06:10 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ROBERT CROSS (Post 1166335)
Not much.....:rolleyes:

IMHO.....most solor installz are ego based, not greenly inspired. Seems a lot of folks have a real aversion to pull cord power, we do not.

For us the dollars spent on a Sol panel install would take much too long to recoup here in the NE.
For others, not so much.

Pull-n-play awhile a day....I'm fine with that.

TETO :nuke:


Bob
:flowers:

I know for us it's darn nice to have our batteries recharged without having to do anything - in fact, we were recharging the batteries while we were out hiking a couple weeks ago. :) I'm now keeping the converter off and will only use it when needed (heavy shade or multiple days of rain, that kind of thing) even with 120 volt power available. Since the solar cells are permanently mounted to the roof, I'm not worried about theft, and they're completely silent.

Of course, we didn't install the system, it came with the camper, so that makes it a lot easier and cheaper for us. :) I replaced the solar controller with a three-stage model, and that's all I've spent on the solar system.

On topic, though: I'm not surprised there was more to the story than we originally heard, like the inverter.

AtomicNo13 06-27-2012 06:13 AM

WOW, thats crazy! Unless they are installing a system that could power a MIG welder! Who needs that in a camper?

I'm doing mine for $320 a panel x2 (240 watts per) and a Morningstar controller with all the bells and whistles. Throw in some shop supplies, mounts, wire, relays, Band Aids and ?? I'll tip the scales around $1200, and I have the satisfaction of doing it myself!

Run, don't walk from that quote!

Ultradog 06-27-2012 07:03 AM

I wonder about the asthetics of having all that stuff on my roof too. But I do understand the part about the toys - how most of them are not all that practical but hey, who's to say I can't have my tractors the way I like them.
To each his own I guess.

kevin242 06-27-2012 07:21 AM

I bought 2x80w panels, wiring, charge controller with digital readout for $429 and here is their 405w set up for $1100:

Solar Panel Panneau Solaire KIT 405W Watt (3 * 135W) 405 Watt Mono 12V MC4 RV | eBay

purman 06-27-2012 08:17 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lewster (Post 1166307)
Let's put this into perspective.

The system that was quoted contains quite a bit more than simply 400 watts of solar panels and a charge controller, but we can start there.

Any questions?:D

Yeah, How do you know what was quoted? He didn't say what was quoted.. Is this what you would charge for the same thing? if someone came in wanting a 400 watt solar system? Just wondering.

Mike91208 06-27-2012 08:27 AM

The system does include an inverter. Sorry, but I don't speak solar and was given the impression that an inverter was standard in such an installation. Next year we take off for probably two years on the road and I wanted a system that would be robust enough to handle all kinds of power needs. Given the cost, however, I'm now thinking along the DIY lines.

purman 06-27-2012 08:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mike91208 (Post 1166389)
The system does include an inverter. Sorry, but I don't speak solar and was given the impression that an inverter was standard in such an installation. Next year we take off for probably two years on the road and I wanted a system that would be robust enough to handle all kinds of power needs. Given the cost, however, I'm now thinking along the DIY lines.

Figure out what you want to do? Do you just want to keep the batteries charge? Run stuff of the solar while parked. 400 watt will run a small tv, laptop all kinds of stuff.

But figure out what you want to run that isn't standard such as the fridge and lights. Figure out the amount of watts it takes and then add a little extra for good measure to your system. DIY isn't always to bad. I have an inverter for the car to run the lap top and have used it in the AS when boon-docking. It works fine.

lewster 06-27-2012 10:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by purman (Post 1166383)
Yeah, How do you know what was quoted? He didn't say what was quoted.. Is this what you would charge for the same thing? if someone came in wanting a 400 watt solar system? Just wondering.

INSIDE INFORMATION! I have spies everywhere:brows::brows::lol::blink:

Skater 06-27-2012 12:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mike91208 (Post 1166389)
The system does include an inverter. Sorry, but I don't speak solar and was given the impression that an inverter was standard in such an installation. Next year we take off for probably two years on the road and I wanted a system that would be robust enough to handle all kinds of power needs. Given the cost, however, I'm now thinking along the DIY lines.

Inverters really have nothing to do with the solar system. You could have an inverter in a camper without a solar panel at all. They just convert the 12 volts DC power into 120 volt AC power.

purman 06-27-2012 01:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lewster (Post 1166471)
INSIDE INFORMATION! I have spies everywhere:brows::brows::lol::blink:

Man:sad: why to skirt the question. I was hoping for that insider info:brows::brows:

lewster 06-28-2012 10:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by purman (Post 1166556)
Man:sad: why to skirt the question. I was hoping for that insider info:brows::brows:

I SAW THE QUOTE, so I know exactly what is included. Is that enough for these inquiring minds? After all, I had no idea this was to become a legal proceeding. :blink:

Gene 06-28-2012 10:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lewster (Post 1166975)
I SAW THE QUOTE, so I know exactly what is included. Is that enough for these inquiring minds? After all, I had no idea this was to become a legal proceeding. :blink:

I figured that. Lew is well known and respected in solar RV circles, especially in Oregon, so I expected he heard about it. It just means he is connected, not a co-conspirator.

Gene

danlehosky 06-28-2012 10:20 AM

Hummmm.... A conspiricy theory involving solar panels. Alumigate?????? This could play well in our plans.

Dan

Gene 06-28-2012 10:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by danlehosky (Post 1166984)
Hummmm.... A conspiricy theory involving solar panels. Alumigate?????? This could play well in our plans.

Dan

We are all unindicted co-conspirators.

Gene

purman 06-28-2012 10:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lewster (Post 1166975)
I SAW THE QUOTE, so I know exactly what is included. Is that enough for these inquiring minds? After all, I had no idea this was to become a legal proceeding. :blink:

Thats all we inquiring minds wanted to know. didn't know if it was a guess or what. :blink: Now the legal proceeding and law suits can be canceled. and no photon torpedoes (resently installed, instead of solar panels) don't have to be used:brows:

plus I love a good conspiracy:brows:

danlehosky 06-28-2012 10:40 AM

Ya know Gene, you're right. Anyway I'm gonna say one thing off topic and then I promise to stop. I would've bet my bottom dollar for years that Pat Buchanan was Deepthroat. I'm done. I am in secret negotiations with Lew for a solar installation this summer. I have the gens but like Bob (or was that Ron Popeil) says "set and forget".

Dan

Ken J 06-28-2012 10:50 AM

As far as I know - Lewster is the most competent and knowledgable Airstream solar guy I know - if he installs it, it will be great - he's not a hobbist, he is a degreed engineer whos knows how to do it right - yea you could go the Harbour Freight route, but if you are seriously using your Airstream, it will be more hassle than its worth. Solar is not cheap - but it sure is nice. If you are needing 400 watts, you need a serious system. I've seen a set up that Lewster did and it is AMAZING!

Ken J.

pmclemore 06-28-2012 12:26 PM

As long as it powers the disco ball, that should suffice.

Pat

lewster 06-28-2012 03:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pmclemore (Post 1167036)
As long as it powers the disco ball, that should suffice.

Pat

Actually, the solar is CHEAP compared to the price of a good disco ball.:blink::lol:

Life is a Highway 01-26-2020 07:26 PM

Gasp
 
I was quoted, $5500 for a 2000 watt inverter Victron BMV-712 battery monitor two Lifeline AGM 6 volts , 4 Zamp 100 watt panels with feet and a victron 100/50 solar controller. Then I way $140 a hour and nothing in writing on how long it takes other than 40-55 hours.

That is insane I get it on the parts and the labor talent but- GASP

GMFL 01-26-2020 07:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Life is a Highway (Post 2326949)
I was quoted, $5500 for a 2000 watt inverter Victron BMV-712 battery monitor two Lifeline AGM 6 volts , 4 Zamp 100 watt panels with feet and a victron 100/50 solar controller. Then I way $140 a hour and nothing in writing on how long it takes other than 40-55 hours.

That is insane I get it on the parts and the labor talent but- GASP

Equipment cost is what it is. Wire, fuses, lugs, switches, combiner box, ect add up.
Zamp panels are not the cheapest choice.
Victron 2000 watt inverter is $1155.00. ( the 3000 watt is only a few dollars more at $1284.00)
Victron 100/50 $323.00
Victron 712. $226.00
Lifeline $376.00 ea
Zamp 100 watt. $899.00 a pair. (RENOGY ECLIPSE $187.00 each)

$5500.00 is right on the equipment. (Renogy Panels would save you Some)
As far as labor 100.00 to 135.00 is about right. I might would do it for a little better rate but it’s still a big job and 40-50 hours is in line with how long it would take. I would budget a week.
If you would drive up from FL and be willing to help we should talk.
Being part of the install is a great way to learn the system.

wulfraat 01-26-2020 11:18 PM

Solar Install Costs...$8k
 
8 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ken J (Post 1167003)
As far as I know - Lewster is the most competent and knowledgable Airstream solar guy I know - if he installs it, it will be great - he's not a hobbist, he is a degreed engineer whos knows how to do it right - yea you could go the Harbour Freight route, but if you are seriously using your Airstream, it will be more hassle than its worth. Solar is not cheap - but it sure is nice. If you are needing 400 watts, you need a serious system. I've seen a set up that Lewster did and it is AMAZING!

Ken J.



^^^^ X2.

You get what you pay for if you have the very best pro install the very best equipment, all done the right way without compromise.

Lew did my install and I couldn’t be happier to this day. Just a few odds and ends and such... couple batteries, a solar panel or two, a charge controller, easy / quick DIY right? I think not. Worth every penny and I got 30% back in tax credits.


800watts of solar - Eight AM Solar SP100 panels up top. Ability to tilt if needed
Victron 150/85 MPPT controller (Smart w/BT)
Victron 12/3000 Multi-Plus inverter/charger with 50A pass-though
* PowerControl (ability to deal with limited generator or shore power)
* PowerAssist (ability to dynamically supplement the capacity of shore or generator power with batts)
* Real-time uninterrupted 120v power supply when disconnecting shore / genset power sources
Victron Lithium batteries (600ah total - 2 X 300ah batts)
Victron CCGX monitoring panel with wi-fi and automatic upload to VRM portal
Victron BMV-712 battery monitor (Smart w/BT)
Victron Digital Control Center and BMV monitoring panel
Victron BMS
Victron Battery Protects (2)
Victron Lynx 1000 distributor
Victron component networking via VE.Bus and VE.Direct communication buses. WiFi / Internet uplink to Victron VRM portal via CCGX
AM Solar AMS control module for cold weather and other automatic system disconnects
Inverter, battery, solar disconnects for manual manipulation / inclusion / exclusion of components from the system,
New 120v panel and sub panels
New 12v panel
Miles of heavy gauge cabling, fasteners, heat shrink, disconnect switches, etc
WeBoost 50db LTE/4G/3G signal booster with Surecall external antenna and large internal panel antenna mounted mid-ship for re-broadcasting through the trailer.

ROBERT CROSS 01-27-2020 07:16 AM

Our late adopter solar works well for us🤓, and we still have both arms and both legs.😂

Bob
🇺🇸


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