Numpty Solar Question

(Bob Sivell) #1

I had an unexpected windfall of 4 x 1000w solar panels at the weekend; this has meant that the last few days have been spent deciding how to use them to best advantage.
I thought to mount them on the workshop roof, & via an inverter, power the workshop, within the limits of the panels’ output.
The kindly soul that gave them to me said I should use them to supplement the supply to the house(?!) but being an idiot, I can’t see how that would work.
I should add, I like simple solutions, & don’t really want to go down the route of 12v fiddle-faddling, & would prefer to remain steadfastly at 220v, thank you very much.

Please be gentle.

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(Mark Robbins) #2

What you will need is an onduleur (inverter thingy, batteries and charger), solar electricity goes in one end, mains comes out the other. This is ok if you are totally off-grid, but if its to supplement your mains supply you will need, amongst other things, something to synchronise the output with your incoming supply (and the approval/blessing of EDF so good luck with that).

(Bob Sivell) #3

So batteries are necessary, in any case ?
Thinking about it sensibly, connecting to the house would be too complex for me; probably more expensive than I could afford; & as you say “EDF”…nuff said.
I think powering the workshop is likely to be more useful.
As for series & parallel…so many questions ; any recommendations on good reading on this subject ?

(Mark Robbins) #4

You will definitely need batteries, thinking passing clouds :cloud:… Some “onduleurs” have a battery storage system, but not cheap.

(John Withall) #5

Yes it does sound too complicated for you, these voltages and currents can kill so you need to know what you are doing. Deep cycle batteries are not cheap but necessary and a charge controller and inverter. If it all sounds too much you could hand me your windfall and I can put it to good use saving the planet. :grin:

(Bob Sivell) #6

I see you have the best interests of humankind at heart…
Thank you for your generous offer :slight_smile:

(Jonathan Badger) #7

You don’t need batteries to go down the “auto consoummation” route. However, as others have said, you do need the right bit of kit to safely plug/connect to the mains to supplement your supply.
P.S. You say 4 x 1000Watt panels, but generally panels are around 300W each, for size/handling reasons. Maybe you have 4 x 300W which would produce around a 1000W total…?

(Bob Sivell) #8

This is the label on the panel itself.
They come from a large installation on the roof of a factory owned by a client of mine.
What all this mumbo-jumbo is about, I have no idea.

(Bob Sivell) #9

I should add that it was the chap himself that told me they were 1000 W…I’m no longer sure

(Jonathan Badger) #10

They certainly aren’t 1000W!
140W peak output = 4 x 140W = 560Watts total. That’s not enough to run a decent sized drill (you mentioned workshop use). However, hooked up as autoconsommation they would make a continual offset to your electricity bill (add up all the small loads that you might have on all the time, such as internet routers, computers, chargers, etc. & you would find that you get to run them for free).

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(Bob Sivell) #11

Workshop use was more lighting & possibly the incubator for the eggs…but given the actual rating of the panels, I’m not sure that would work effectively.
I will read the link you posted & consider what next.

Thank you

(William Donald) #12

Bob, if you go on a motorhome forum and hook them up using a car battery and a small motorhome style regulator that will not only be affordable, but safer and within most peoples capabilities (once research is done). Then you could rig up 12 volt LED lights and possibly run the incubator (if you can find a 12 volt one).

At a stretch you could use a 12 volt - 240 volt inverter to run the incubator, but you’d want to do calculations to see if the panels and battery have enough power to run it.

(Bob Sivell) #13

This subject obviously warrants more research than I originally thought :slight_smile:
Thank you

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(John Withall) #14

Now the actual output of your panels is known, there isn’t as much danger involved. Even when camper van users setup they are using “leisure” batteries not ordinary car batteries. Leisure batteries can take deep cycling loads whereas modern car batteries can be damaged and have short lives.
All the equipment, charge controllers inverters etc will be a lot more affordable at the output level you have compared to your original 4kw output so have a play around.

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