Wednesday, December 3, 2008

solar energy system components

My solar energy system is still taking shape, but here are the components I am looking at at this time, including some sample web sites that describe them:

1. Panels: Evergreen Spruce 195W — These are polycrystalline panels that we have chosen because of both their electrical and mechanical properties. I will try to spell these out in detail in a later post. We will mount them in sets of 3, to get 72 V and 585 W peak power.
2. Battery charge controller — The charge controller makes sure that the charging efficiency is maximized by regulating the charging voltage to the battery bank (48V) while minimizing power loss.
3. Batteries — These are a big issue, as we want to use the solar energy collected when the sun is down, but battery technologies are far behind the rest of the technologies we are considering, the costs are very high and stay high, as I estimate we will spend $800-1000 per year average to keep the battery banks at full strength. That is more than we expect to save from taking most of our electricity use off the grid.
4. Inverter — Inverter technology is very good these days. The inverter we have chosen is 4400W (model MS4448AE), which has 94% peak efficiency.
5. Automatic transfer switch

There are a lot of options on the market, which is very good. I am still doing my homework to compare systems and technologies.