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My Off Grid Solar System

Thought I would share my system and a few pictures. The system was originally built to power a 1200 square foot shop and later expanded to charge the Tesla at full 120v power.

Full power is about 4mph back in the battery. Not stunning but if we got rocked by a hurricane I could charge the car slowly.

The sun hits the panels from 9am to 7pm in the summer. Peak power is of course around 10am to 4pm. Estimated 30 to 35 miles back in the battery a day if the sun is out.

When Irma side swiped us years ago we gas ran out 5 days before the storm hit. Shocking to drive to a pump and have yellow caution tape on it.

My co-worker was one of the first people I knew to get a Tesla and the power did not go off until 3 hours into the main event. He drove without a care in the world while I hunted for gas. I learned a lot of lessons from that storm.

Some of this was built from wire and parts I already had and will be upgraded over time.

I have 2 225AH 6 volt Deep Cell Golf Cart Battery's and 2 Crown 6V Battery's. Trojan T105 is what I have been swapping in lately. I had some Crown Battery's but there is no exception for the T105. I used them in 2010 and I was dumb enough to believe the salesman and got 4 Crowns in 2019. 1 died in a year and now I have 3 6v's crows left. Since you are always supposed to have all your battery's the same age and type I was forced to use them since I had them. We will see how this works but no more Crowns ever again!

The panels were bought overtime before I moved here. They are simple 12v ones that I got off amazon. I used my amazon prime points and over 6 years I have 18 panels. Not all were free but they were heavily discounted since I buy a lot of things from them.

Some things I learned.....

Hurricanes break things. These panels can be lifted with my forklift and they fit in the bays. Deployed after the storm to run the fridge or charge the car.
Solar panels do not replace a gas generator in a storm. Won't run higher drain items for long. I have a gas generator as well.
I need more panels. This is the bare minimum to charge the Tesla with 120v power. I plan to add 3 to 6 more panels and another set of battery's with a second charger.
12v panels were ok years ago for what I needed but as the system grew I started wishing I bought 24v 210watt panels. Any new panels will be 24v to a new charger.
Buy a MPPT charger. More efficient.

Not sure I will ever get a payoff on this system. It was bought to have a second source of power and piece of mind.

So to close on a positive note here is what I like.

All the lights in the shop are LED and run off solar. I like leaving them on and knowing there is no real cost anymore.
It powers the computer - large screen TV - recharges all the battery's for lawn equipment - recharges cell phones and can even power shop vacs for awhile if needed.
I picked a 3000 watt pure sine wave inverter so big loads pull off the battery and fill up later. I have a green electric reel plugged into the inverter that I use all the time for buffers and car waxers. This inverter has a hard wired 120v out that was tied into a standalone sub panel. The sub panel feeds the overhead lights and I have a separate breaker for 3 120v outlets I ran around the shop and I painted them green to remind me that it's solar.

Solar is a pretty cool addition to your property and the feel good of using it is very nice. Hope someone found this useful.


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Interesting set up. I have a much smaller solar setup on my much smaller shed. Just 2x 100 W 12 V panels, a 30 A PWM solar charger, and old car battery (~700 Wh), and a 800/1600 W inverter. The first panel and charger came as a kit for about $100 from Amazon, the second panel and additional cables required cost about another $100 from Amazon. The inverter was $80 iirc, also amazon. I already had the battery lying around. It’s not a huge amount of available energy, but I’ve never ran out of power in the shed when I’ve needed to use it. It charges my lawn gear (whipper shipper and blower), and my battery tools, plus runs the lighting and my drill press and dremel. Also runs a ventilation fan. Basically this was just cheaper than having an electrician wire up the shed, and sufficient for my uses.

Could provide basic emergency power for some lighting, radio, phones, TV to the house if required.
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