Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Saving on Solar Electric

Budget solar electric installations can be interesting. I've been helping my friends with their off-grid house and funds are tight. Heavy gage copper wire is pretty expensive right now. It's expensive enough that we are seriously reconsidering how the solar panels and battery bank will be laid out.

The original layout had the solar panels about 75 feet away from the battery bank. To mitigate power loss, heavy duty wire would be needed to connect to the batteries. The battery bank was going to be located in an existing barn. The inverter would also be in the shed allowing 120 volt AC to be run to the house and outbuildings.

One way to save money would be to put a small power shed right next to the solar panels. That would eliminate the need for a long run of heavy gage wire. The power shed would contain the battery bank and the inverter. Much cheaper high voltage (120 volt) wire could then be used to supply the house and outbuildings.

The small power shed could be built using scrap lumber left over from house construction. He might just decide to hook up an existing shed to his tractor and drag it into place.

When funds are tight, it's good to be flexible.



  1. popped over here from Mayberrys blog ,i live in an old bus in the Scottish mountain i run all my stuff of solar and windpower i converted everything to run on 12 volts so much easier and safer enjoyed reading your blog

    peace and light from the tin can

  2. Thanks for the kind words. 12 volt is simple and darn near bullet proof. Works great for short runs like in a bus or small cabin.

    Your bus sounds interesting.

    Peace and Balance