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mick2me

Has the sun set on solar power?

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Mid winter here,but outside its brilliant . Beautiful sunshine to top up my solar input and should reach 20C.Anyone Know the best (and cheapest )way of adding more panels (using the same inverter)

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My advice would be contact the company who installed your system and see what they say, my guess would be a second inverter would be needed, plus control gear, OR a new inverter capable of taking more solar modules.

I don't know if you're subject to blackouts, but you can get On/Off grid systems with a battery backup, should the mains fail for any reason, the inverter will drop off the utilities line and feed the house automatically.... When power is restored, the system reverts back to "exporting" power, charging your batteries and powering your house.

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I would agree that the cost of solar devices hasn't dropped very significantly over the years. I believe that the majority of people believed that it would drop more than it has, and that has not become a reality. There have been various other options such as wind that have made a difference I believe. Overall I feel that the major shift will occur when more people begin to invest into the technology and have it installed on an individual level. When everyone has the desire to replace their current energy supply with renewable energy things will make a major shift and power will become much more affordable for everyone. We need to reach a climax point, however, that has most of society moving toward alternative solutions.

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I have the free panels so all I get is free electric during daylight hours and no feed in tariff. The owners of the panels get that. I have quite a large (for a semi-detached bungalow) roof area that points due south with 12 panels at 210 watts each. When the sun is shining there is no way that I can use all the electricity they produce. Not so good when the sun isn't shining but hey what they do make is still free! I would not be without them and if I move house one criteria will be a south facing unobstructed roof area. Last summers electricity payments were £7 per month and that built up a small excess.

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As regards of costs on solar panels, they HAVE dropped in price since I did my first solar survey around 35 years back. Back then you couldn't get the large power modules available today, and what were around cost over a thousand bucks per panel.. I proposed a very modest 2Kw set up for my cousin that would have cost well over $A35, 000!!! And the inverter would have been square wave output back then, not the pure sine wave output we have now. Batteries would have cost double what they cost today.

This was an off grid system as he didn't have electricity to his potential house site.

I advised go for grid, would be cheaper in the long run, he went that route.

My 8Kw off grid system will cost somewhere around $US15,000 when complete, it uses two 4Kw pure sine wave inverters..I'm also looking for an on grid system for my workshop, reason I choose that one is I have a lot of woodworking machinery with up to 5HP motors and I have a large compressor too.

Now!! Actual cost per unit, will be higher than buying power, but living in a rural community, it will be worth it, as we can get long weather realted power outages during the winter months, fair enough, they don't happen too often, but after being without power for a week, I know what it's like living in the dark ages..

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Well the order goes in over the weekend/beginning of next week for 20 by 295 Watt panels and roof mounting hardware. I had a change of mind from making mounting frames and mounting them on steerable mounts to fixed roof mounts, be quicker in the longrun.

So once it starts cooling off, will be installing the roof mount system, then the panels and then complete the final wiring and switch over to off grid solar.

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Solar modules and roof mounts arrive this week, so as soon as it cools down a tad, I'll be on the roof with tape measure and chalk line, drill and impact wrench installing the mounts.

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And the inverter would have been square wave output back then, not the pure sine wave output we have now. Batteries would have cost double what they cost today.

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I wonder how most modern gubbins in the average house would cope with square wave electricity? I'm thinking incandescent light bulbs & electric fires would be OK but not much else. Owt with a transformer would make a buzzing noise & probably overheat..

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Military used square wave output "inverters" many years back pre solid state... Think back to high voltage power supplies for the B+ circuits of radio's on tanks and field radio equipment. They used elec magnetic vibrators on the primary winding of a transformer, produced a crude square wave.

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Remember the 432 (armoured personal carrier) radios used to buzz & the buzz tone changed when you pressed the transmit button. If the battery voltage got too low it wouldn't transmit, this always happened half way through a fire mission, then it would be panic stations to get the 432's engine started to get the battery charging. Good job it had a separate battery to start the engine...

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I have a solar powered calculator which my father gave me around 25 years ago & it still works even in doors in a bright light.

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I have a solar powered torch. Dead loss when it's dark and there ain't no sun.

Alison

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In our village it seems to be the older people who install solar panels. Most of them won't survive long enough to recoup the installation costs.

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Colly0410 #37

I remember the FV432 very well, used to work on them when I was at COD Chilwell. They had a Rolls Royce K60 multi-fuel engine so almost never failing to proceed.

It is a day to be noted here in South Australia as we have shut down our last coal fired power station. Watch this space for the power outages next summer when the wind powered generators cannot support the demand and we have to use power supplied via an interconnector from Victoria which ironically generates most of its power from brown coal and they do not have enough spare capacity to supply SA.

Bet my spherical objects that the only thing that will be guaranteed will be that our power costs will increase.

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