I have been reading here trying to learn as much as possible because I have a deep desire to power some of my electronics from my favorite star - El Sol! I live on the island of St. Croix, US Virgin Islands where the cost of electricity is 0.46 per kWh. I've learned on this forum that pv power is about $1.00 per kWh. Down here with our high electric rates, it makes sense to supplement with solar. Another caveat: the second largest refinery in the US just closed and guess where it is- St. Croix. That means our already inefficient power company known as WAPA who already gets subsidized fuel from the refinery (Hovensa) will probably be raising rates in the near future. They will continue to get subsidized fuel until 2013 then they have to find a new supplier which means more $$$$. Plus they are terribly unreliable especially during hurricane season when we get hit with lots of tropical depressions and rain (for some reason rain causes power outages here).
So anyways, I have a kill-a-watt and I know the power demands of our various appliances (coffee maker is a serious power hog). My goal is not to live Off-Grid but to power as many small appliances as possible with pv. I know people on here say to figure out your demand and size accordingly. I am going a different route in that I have a certain amount I am willing to spend so I will power as much as I can based on my budget. I realize even with the high electric rates I will be looking at about a two year payoff if I spend less than $1,500 on my setup- I can live with that. My current electric bill is about $120 per month, so I'm hoping to cut that in half.
So here is what I am thinking - 2 or 3 Suntech panels at 175 watt, 35.2 Vmp . I will most likely buy from Sun Elec since they have a warehouse in Puerto Rico and shipping would be reasonable. If I could, I would support the sponsor of this site, but I need to go about this with my budget in mind.
Next, for a charge controller. I have decided to go with an MPPT controller since I will be charging a 12V battery bank and most panels I have seen in my price range have Vmp in the 35V range. I have been looking at the MPPT made by Isotronics ebay link: http://www.ebay.com/itm/US-MADE-Off-...item19d0012456
PDF link: http://www.intronics.com/products/pdf/MPPT25.pdf
Can anyone vouch for this controller? I like the fact that is US made and it does come with a 1 year warranty. I have also looked at Rouge but the price is $325 vs $185 for the Intronics.
Finally, for batteries I will go with the standard workhorse, (2) T-105 Trojans. I will bite the bullet for a Xantrex 600 watt true sine wave inverter to power my beloved vintage stereo, since music is my passion (no TV in this house mon).
The panels will be mounted on a wood frame I will build and be installed on the roof of the porch on the house I rent which gets unobstructed sunlight all day and has about a 5 degree tilt to the west. I would mount the panels in series and the CC would be about 10 feet or less distance away with the batteries another 5 feet or so. I would have a fuse in between panels and CC, and CC and batteries, not sure what size yet. I would also like to run some wires for DC into the three rooms of the house to power some 02 cool fans, charge cell phone and laptop, and some LED lights.
So I guess so far my questions are:
- Are there any other places to get cheap panels besides sunelec.com?
- Does the MPPT controller from Intronics seem like a good buy or should I be looking at the Rouge or even a PWM type?
- Are there any foreseeable problems with my proposed setup?
- Do you have any suggestions for me?
Once I dial in a few more details such as the exact panels I will be purchasing and exact distance wire runs will be, I will ask for some help on wire gauge sizes, fuse sizing, and how best to run some DC power to three rooms in my house. Thanks in advance for any help you can give me and I am glad to have found such a helpful place.
Aloha and Irie vibes from the Caribbean!