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Off Grid/Grid Tied Solar Design Education

Posts: 3046
Location: Western Slope Colorado.
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I sure need to learn more about this. I have a solar array grid tied with battery back up. The batteries are 6 years old, and are at 94 % and about 52 volts. I know that much from read outs. I don't really know what it means.

I learned about the Iron Edison company, who sell ? is it Nickel Iron Batteries that are supposed to last forever. I need to learn enough to understand if the edison batteries are worth what ever they cost, compared to what ever something else costs.

I think if you do write your book it would need some clear information on the different kinds of batteries, what it means to take proper care of the batteries. I asked the solar installers if I had to do anything to maintain the batteries, ensure longer life, what ever, and they said no, it would not make any difference.

I wanted the battery back up because without the batteries, if the grid goes down, you can't use the electricity being produced from the PV panels. Sheesh! The solar installers told me not to do it. They said it was a waste, and that the grid never goes down. (They live off grid). I wanted the batteries because I believe that in the upcoming decades the grid will become less and less reliable.

Also, when they generate power at a distance and bring it to the settled areas, don't they lose power amps watts ohms something per mile traveled. I am told that when my panels are producing more than I use, that my panels feed the grid, and it is likely used at my neighbor's house, and virtually none is lost in that short distance traveled.

I hope you'll explain that too. Whether the majority of people are on or off grid, educated citizenry can contribute to good decisions being made re things such as subsidizing yet another nuclear power plant, building a solar farm hundreds of miles from where there is a demand for power.

I use less electricity than my panels generate, but I don't get much money from the power company. They buy "my" surplus wholesale and sell it retail.

I hope you'll consider including basic consumer education in your program. I'd love to not be an idiot about all this, especially because I have the panels, and will be replacing batteries soon.

If anyone can give me any good info or tell me where to look for information that will help me with the upcoming battery purchase, I'd really appreciate it.


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Here is a website I found that has tons of information about on and off grid solar "free sun power.com"
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Alex, there is definitely "a demand" or at least a wish list. Have been looking for a way to build a solar system to run the well house water pump, the furnace and maybe a couple of plugs. Over 10 years all the contractors contacted want 10 to 15 thousand $ or more for a system which would have no battery back up and would shut down when the power goes off. Not very useful. I have the basic skills to build and plumb a building as have done much of that for myself. I am not the only senior with limited income who wants to pursue solar. We (I) need a list of materials and sources if not Home Depot, Lowe;s etc and basic blueprints for a simple system which could be a starter and added to at a later date as finances allow. Your idea of a web site addressing these problems would be a boon to many. If and when you get your idea up and running, post it on FB and other social media and you could trigger a landslide of people who need you and your knowledge. For those of us who are just starting on the solar path, a single source would be helpful.
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