Durandal
Posts: 311
Joined: Wed Sep 21, 2016 8:55 am
Delivery Date: 22 Sep 2016
Leaf Number: 025018
Location: Central Arkansas

Ordering panels

Thu Mar 09, 2017 8:26 am

So, the prices are simply too good for me to ignore, so I stopped ignoring them and pulled the trigger. I'm getting some used panels for $0.12/watt plus shipping, so around $1,200 for 6.6kW of panels. These are "C" grade, so they've got hairline fractures, etc. As a result I'll probably have to sort them out according to their characteristics and build my strings from there.

With some modification of our schedule, we can probably lower the battery storage needs as well. I plan on keeping the grid to run on one circuit primarily for 240v appliances, then pulling off the majority of the 120v off onto a separate battery powered circuit. I have a 48v 5.5kW sustained 15kW peak inverter, so my costs after this will be batteries and a charge controller.

I'd like to use used Leaf or Tesla cells for the battery packs. I hate lead acid with a passion, and want to avoid the hassles of that ancient tech if possible.
Pulled the trigger on going EV on 10/2016 with a 2012 Leaf, and a Tesla Model 3 reservation expected to receive in June 2018.

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DuncanCunningham
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Posts: 450
Joined: Thu Mar 26, 2015 10:02 am
Delivery Date: 15 Apr 2015
Location: Bountiful, UT

Re: Ordering panels

Thu Mar 09, 2017 9:12 am

so keeping the high amps, 240V circuits on grid and powering the rest of the circuits, 120v from battery? and charging those with the cheap panels?

Seems like a structured move to off grid, smart. How about micro inverters? are have you figured it's best to handle everything through strings and one inverter? I'm no expert, just learning.

So you charge the batteries with DC from the panels? and then through an inverter to the house breakers?
Statler: Wake up you old fool. You slept through the show.
Waldorf: Who's a fool? You watched it.

2015 Leaf S (leased until May 2018, Bought out in Jan 2017)
2012 Leaf SL (purchased May 2015)

Durandal
Posts: 311
Joined: Wed Sep 21, 2016 8:55 am
Delivery Date: 22 Sep 2016
Leaf Number: 025018
Location: Central Arkansas

Re: Ordering panels

Thu Mar 09, 2017 9:32 am

So some of my setup is predicated by earlier purchases. A number of years ago I bought a 5.5kW/15kW Peak Xantrax inverter and two panels that ironically cost as much as these 22 panels I just purchased. :roll: I was convinced we were headed for some big time social troubles, and having the ability to set up an off-grid electric system would be good to have... just in case. lol.

So as a result that's why I'm using the single inverter setup. It's a 48v to 120v inverter, and finding a matching one to tie into my already purchased one in order to make a 240v circuit is an effort I don't want to try to bother with. If I want to do 240v in the future, I will simply acquire new equipment and then keep the old 120v inverter as a backup.

Also with it being split up as it is, I can use my grid connected circuit to charge up the batteries of the solar/battery circuit if I encounter a long period of no production. As such, I will probably see if I can get a charger that just keeps the batteries from going below 20% as an example, brings it up to 40% and then stops. I'm not sure if I'll find chargers that smart or not out of the box without having to rig something together.
Pulled the trigger on going EV on 10/2016 with a 2012 Leaf, and a Tesla Model 3 reservation expected to receive in June 2018.

SageBrush
Posts: 1430
Joined: Sun Mar 06, 2011 2:28 am
Delivery Date: 13 Feb 2017
Location: Colorado

Re: Ordering panels

Thu Mar 09, 2017 11:37 am

Sounds great, Durandal
Please keep posting about your progress
2013 Model 'S' with QC & rear-view camera
Bought off-lease Jan 2017 from N. California with 63.9 Ahr after 22k miles
Car is now enjoying an easy life in Colorado

Durandal
Posts: 311
Joined: Wed Sep 21, 2016 8:55 am
Delivery Date: 22 Sep 2016
Leaf Number: 025018
Location: Central Arkansas

Re: Ordering panels

Mon Mar 13, 2017 9:47 am

Panels have shipped, I will take pictures and post updates after I receive them for anyone who is interested. I won't recommend these guys until I can confirm that they're good, but paying $36/panel for 300 watt panels is an incredible deal.
I bought them from:
http://www.sunelec.com
So the panels were $792, the shipping was $380.
Pulled the trigger on going EV on 10/2016 with a 2012 Leaf, and a Tesla Model 3 reservation expected to receive in June 2018.

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JimSouCal
Posts: 860
Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2011 12:54 pm

Re: Ordering panels

Mon Mar 13, 2017 9:57 am

Durandal wrote:...I was convinced we were headed for some big time social troubles, and having the ability to set up an off-grid electric system would be good to have... just in case. lol.
Not necessarily an errant thought... Civilization is perhaps a fragile construct; that said, I think I'd rather take shelter on a boat and fend off pirates... Good luck with the "new" panels and I hope they work well...

Durandal
Posts: 311
Joined: Wed Sep 21, 2016 8:55 am
Delivery Date: 22 Sep 2016
Leaf Number: 025018
Location: Central Arkansas

Re: Ordering panels

Tue Mar 21, 2017 9:09 am

Fresh off the truck:
Image
Selfie with the first panel off the pallet:
Image

I will say, these panels are certainly grade "C" but it looks like the voltage on them is still within spec. I will have to test them all and sort them, but for right now they're sitting in the basement waiting to be installed. I think I will build a deck or gazebo with the panels as a roof, as opposed to just something to get them a little off the ground. Construction costs will come into play, of course.

Now research into batteries, I really don't want to go with flooded lead acid batteries, I will have to see what options are available. My current thinking is to purchase a salvage title Leaf at auction, and take the batteries from that.
Pulled the trigger on going EV on 10/2016 with a 2012 Leaf, and a Tesla Model 3 reservation expected to receive in June 2018.

SageBrush
Posts: 1430
Joined: Sun Mar 06, 2011 2:28 am
Delivery Date: 13 Feb 2017
Location: Colorado

Re: Ordering panels

Tue Mar 21, 2017 9:16 am

This is awesome, and I like your idea of integrating the panels into other useful construction very much. I have seen some nice designs that use the panels as shade or roof.

My panels are in a pile too. My neighbor may be available tomorrow to help me dig the post holes with his Bobcat; then concrete and the rest should be quick and easy. Fingers crossed!
2013 Model 'S' with QC & rear-view camera
Bought off-lease Jan 2017 from N. California with 63.9 Ahr after 22k miles
Car is now enjoying an easy life in Colorado

Durandal
Posts: 311
Joined: Wed Sep 21, 2016 8:55 am
Delivery Date: 22 Sep 2016
Leaf Number: 025018
Location: Central Arkansas

Re: Ordering panels

Tue Mar 21, 2017 9:42 am

I have an electric 120v post hole digger that will do 2' deep, but that will not be deep enough. I will need to buy an auger extender so I can get it to at least 3' depth. They're not too expensive, luckily. I'm also fortunate that our soil is not too rocky, as my digger won't cut through rocks at all.
Pulled the trigger on going EV on 10/2016 with a 2012 Leaf, and a Tesla Model 3 reservation expected to receive in June 2018.

sub3marathonman
Posts: 306
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2010 11:57 am
Delivery Date: 31 Mar 2012
Location: Bartow, FL

Re: Ordering panels

Sun Apr 23, 2017 11:17 am

Durandal wrote:Fresh off the truck:
Image
Selfie with the first panel off the pallet:
Image

I will say, these panels are certainly grade "C" but it looks like the voltage on them is still within spec. I will have to test them all and sort them, but for right now they're sitting in the basement waiting to be installed. I think I will build a deck or gazebo with the panels as a roof, as opposed to just something to get them a little off the ground. Construction costs will come into play, of course.

Now research into batteries, I really don't want to go with flooded lead acid batteries, I will have to see what options are available. My current thinking is to purchase a salvage title Leaf at auction, and take the batteries from that.


You're doing exactly what I'd like to do!!

I've got an older 4.7kw system with battery backup, but I'd like to add another 8kw or so to pretty much eliminate the electric company. I know it can be done, as there is somebody not so far from me who I've heard has done it.

I'd like to build either a gazebo or a walkway with the panels as a roof, so I'm wondering what, if any, progress has been made.

Also, any progress with using LEAF batteries? I've read of somebody that used salvage Tesla batteries, but that's still pricey and a bit more exotic with so many small Ahr batteries.

Were you ultimately happy with the panels you got?

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