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Old 10-17-2017, 06:55 PM
MichaelK Male MichaelK is offline
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Default Bringing my new solar system on-line

For several years, my meager 400 watt solar system supplied a bit of power at my cabin. But, a long-term goal of mine was to design and build a much larger system capable of powering my 240VAC well pump. This would reduce fuel consumption on the homestead significantly.

Using a clamp meter I determined that the 1.5hp pump was using 10 amps to run. This Fluke meter also has "in-rush" capability, and measured that starting amperage at 37-38 amps (500 mSec). That means I needed a substantial inverter to supply that much power. I selected Schneider's XM6848 120/240VAC inverter that has up to 12kw of surge (5 seconds).

I coupled this to 15-300watt Renogy panels, wired three in series per array, a 3S5P configuration. The 115VDC from each array was funneled through a combiner box which feeds a Midnight 200 charge controller. The Midnight charges a bank of 8 L-16 batteries wired in series for 48V. Here's a pic of the array frame, made out of welded unistruts.
solar mount front view.jpg

The frame fits over a single steel pipe sunk in 48" of concrete, which allows the array to track the sun left and right. The horizontal stabilizers at the bottom also allow for season angle changes. Here is the array with the panels installed.
solar array.jpg
Though I did most of the wiring myself, my BIL is a retired electrician, so I had him inspect my work.

Last month we flipped the breaker to start the well pump, and the XM powered it up with ease. I'm now in the performance qualification phase of the system. My rule of thumb is to run the pump only while the panels are capable of making >2400 watts of power. This happens after about 9:30 in the morning. If the arrays are swung over to face SE, the batteries are mostly charged by then. By noon though, there's enough excess power to bring the batteries up to float. I position the arrays manually to track the sun when maximal power is needed. On days Iím not pumping water I can just lock the arrays in a south-facing position and forget about them.
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Old 10-17-2017, 10:39 PM
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Are pumping into a storage tank and then gravity feed or pressure pump to the cabin?
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Old 10-18-2017, 08:32 AM
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12vman Male 12vman is offline
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Very nice! I'm still chuggin' along on 512 watts..
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Old 10-18-2017, 01:07 PM
MichaelK Male MichaelK is offline
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I just got a really, really good deal on more solar panels from a local-pickup company called solarblvd. Got 250watt grid-tie panels for 75$ each, and picked up another 2kw. Will be positioning them in a more remote location that lets me orient them in either a due East, or due West direction, and then will run a long wire over to my controller. Will be running these panels at 120VDC to correct for voltage drop.

These are planned for a second outbuilding that will become my workshop, and I want a completely separate solar system for that building, but will put splitters in the solar cables so I can direct extra power to one building or another as I see fit.

My idea is to direct system-two arrays either east or west, in either the early morning or late afternoon, to supplement low solar resources. That way I'll be able to run the pump even longer during the day. During the noon hours, I can redirect power back to their home systems to keep batteries fully charged.
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Last edited by MichaelK; 10-18-2017 at 01:17 PM.
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Old 10-19-2017, 01:21 AM
Kachad Male Kachad is offline
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Wow, nice upgrade!
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