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batteries to augment solar panels?

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I recently had solar panels installed on my house. This will not help me during the frequent power outages that happen in our neighborhood. I heard that there are companies that will sell an additional system with batteries which will store the electricity from the solar panels, and this then can be used during a power outage. Has anybody installed such a system, and if so, are they happy with it? Does it work well? Who installed it?

Any advise is appreciated.

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29 minutes ago, Constance said:

I recently had solar panels installed on my house. This will not help me during the frequent power outages that happen in our neighborhood. I heard that there are companies that will sell an additional system with batteries which will store the electricity from the solar panels, and this then can be used during a power outage. Has anybody installed such a system, and if so, are they happy with it? Does it work well? Who installed it?

Any advise is appreciated.

This will add a substantial cost to the system and require maintenance of the batteries as well. The outages you will have are during non sunshine hours only.

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If you must watch TV during outages, that can be a problem if the cable company is also 'out'.  However, emergency lighting is rather easy and economical with small battery powered lights, lanterns, etc. You might even consider qas lamps, if you are really ambitious and can find them. I assume you have propane for cooking and heating, if you use heat. 

That said, are your outages really that long?

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The only person that I know who has partial battery backup is Pete Johanson and his handle on this forum is Johanson so you can send him a pm or he may answer here. To do a complete replacement of a house would cost big bucks as pointed out by Alpha 1. There are batteries that don't require much maintenance but they still only have a life of 5 to 7 years.

I agree with RVGRINGO about light but my choice has been rechargeable lights and I even have a powerful rechargeable fan (Geek Aire). Rechargeable battery packs are handy for your computer and use your cell phone's hotspot for a connection.

If you need more, then I would invest in a small generator with an inverter. With the inverter you can hook up your computer or your TV or your fridge or your pool pump or your water system if you only have a submersible pump. The Honda 2000i is one of the best and quietest available and is powerful enough to hook up any one of the choices but not at the same time.

All of my suggestions are more economical than batteries.

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Off grid and hybrid (grid tied with backup) systems are available and we've just installed a really nice one in central Ajijic with lithium ion battery backup; to have 70% less weight than traditional batteries, very compact, long life, and no charging worries or maintenance.   Having said that, when folks have a grid connection available, that is the simplest and least expensive way to go and as Ferret mentions, there are other backup options available.   Each home and homeowner's needs are different and preferences and budgets range widely.

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Cost will depend on what “all” you are trying to power in an outage and for how many hours straight. The more of “both” means a much larger outlay for batteries and ‘system’ and none of us can guess what your requirements are. A properly sized/designed system will be basically maintenance free and will ‘take over’ without intervention when needed. A place like Go Solar will undoubteldy be glad to educate you and give you a quote that will meet your requirements. 

P.S.  Johnason’s system was installed many years ago and probably would not be a good example of today’s products. 

 

 

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True but it would be interesting to know how often/if his batteries have been replaced since that time. I don't think he uses them that often and it's only for a certain circuit.

The other thing that has to be remembered is that it doesn't matter how big the batteries are they should NEVER be depleted by more than 50%. Had lots of fun setting up an off grid system on a remote recreational property in Ontario for my stepsons last year.

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Ferret, did the system you helped set up use lead acid or lithium-ion batteries?  Today’s “go to” battery for solar is lithium-ion which, by design, can withstand  deeper discharges than lead acid, has a longer lifespan, more efficient power usage, has no off-gassing and...... cost more! 

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A good quality inverter to convert that stored energy into AC can be expensive too. My 20 amp inverter, with many addons such automatic generator start was over $2,500 $  Gas generators are a pain because the "new" gas is only designed to last six weeks without adding octane and other ingredients. The diesel ones don't have this problem but they are expensive.

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59 minutes ago, RickS said:

Ferret, did the system you helped set up use lead acid or lithium-ion batteries?  Today’s “go to” battery for solar is lithium-ion which, by design, can withstand  deeper discharges than lead acid, has a longer lifespan, more efficient power usage, has no off-gassing and...... cost more! 

They went with something they understand which was AGM batteries and they got them (4) on sale. Maintenance is pretty much non existent. Since they are also located in a location that is not entirely theftproof, it would be less of a hit if they suddenly disappeared. They really only use the property on summer weekends and it is five minutes from Lake Rosseau. My big beef was that the panels are not facing south but west and only generate from May to September. I gave up arguing... or rather sending e-mails since I had the time to make suggestions and do searches online. That's the only advice they didn't cave to.

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An excellent, well written, and most informative piece on battery backup technology, covering absolute and relative costs, and maintenance / value by one of our most experienced Canadian business associates:

https://www.solacity.com/how-to-keep-lifepo4-lithium-ion-batteries-happy/

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5 minutes ago, Go Solar said:

An excellent, well written, and most informative piece on battery backup technology, covering absolute and relative costs, and maintenance / value by one of our most experienced Canadian business associates:

https://www.solacity.com/how-to-keep-lifepo4-lithium-ion-batteries-happy/

But it does not answer the original question!!

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5 hours ago, CHILLIN said:

A good quality inverter to convert that stored energy into AC can be expensive too. My 20 amp inverter, with many addons such automatic generator start was over $2,500 $  Gas generators are a pain because the "new" gas is only designed to last six weeks without adding octane and other ingredients. The diesel ones don't have this problem but they are expensive.

Try LP (liquid propane) generator. You probably already have a large tank of it.  It also burns much cleaner and eliminates  the gasoline problems.

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That's already been answered....yes there are, of course system info is needed as you can't just plug batteries into a grid-tied system.....

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Already been answered, …..YES, there are......of course, system info is needed, one can't just plug batteries into a grid tied system.

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1 hour ago, ibbocat said:

But it does not answer the original question!!

Yes I think it does... as well as it can be answered with little or no specificity. 

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4 hours ago, Go Solar said:

An excellent, well written, and most informative piece on battery backup technology, covering absolute and relative costs, and maintenance / value by one of our most experienced Canadian business associates:

https://www.solacity.com/how-to-keep-lifepo4-lithium-ion-batteries-happy/

Excellent article! I will be passing that on to the boys for when they finally build a permanent structure on the property.

BTW, I couldn't read it using Internet Explorer 11. I had to use Edge and am finding more and more websites are not accommodating the older browser... like no pictures on Homedepot.com.mx and painfully slow Yahoo.ca start page.

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We lived off-grid in Colorado before moving here. With all the CFE power outages, I would want a battery backup. Even when we had our system years ago, battery maintenance was minimal - once a month check the water levels and top off any that were low. High maintenance?? And the new batteries are much improved.

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There are lots of YouTubes on the subject. I would love to go off grid. They also sell fridges and freezers designed to run on solar or wind. If you have the dough go for it.

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Thank you all for your comments and advise. I found the article on the new lithium batteries extremely helpful and informative. I shall call Go Solar for further information.I now think that it's do-able. As for the price? We shall see.

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His name is Ron Magen and his e-mail is ron@solartechnology.com.mx

BTW, depending on whether you're going completely off grid, even batteries sometimes get depleted and the sun doesn't co-operate. It helps if you can charge the batteries by another means like a generator. So, instead of having just an Inverter, you may want to replace it with an Inverter/Charger to make it simpler. An inverter/charger converts DC to AC to be able to use the batteries but also converts AC (from a generator or the grid) to DC to charge the batteries. That is what I asked the boys to get and the reasons why. We went with Outback for both the Controller and the Inverter/Charger.

Here's a really good explanation: https://www.altestore.com/blog/2015/09/what-is-an-invertercharger/#.XIFq1PZFz-w

 

 

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Enphase is developing a new microinverter called the IQ8 that will be a complete game changer in this area.   Completely seamless on grid - off grid battery integration.   Will also disrupt the UPS market.   Expected to release later this year. 

 

 

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On 3/6/2019 at 11:37 AM, CHILLIN said:

A good quality inverter to convert that stored energy into AC can be expensive too. My 20 amp inverter, with many addons such automatic generator start was over $2,500 $  Gas generators are a pain because the "new" gas is only designed to last six weeks without adding octane and other ingredients. The diesel ones don't have this problem but they are expensive.

Chillin having bought 5 of the 10- 15KW generators for my business I found the best bet was natural gas followed by propane as a close second choice. Bit tanks of propane do not go bad. It is possible to change a gasoline generator to run on both.

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Thank you so much, Ferret, for your excellence information. I will write to Ron Magen asap. 

TKessler, once that new microinverter comes out, would you let all of us know about it? I think that I am not the only one who would like to find out more about this.

 

Thank you again.

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