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Solar Panel Installation Options & Ideas (I have DIY electrician experience, but not solar)


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1 hour ago, johanson said:

I have had to replace my 6 volt deep cell batteries once and it is about to happen again within a year or so :( And yes if I were much younger and not in my early 80s I too would be contemplating lithium batteries. 

I know Canadian cottage friends who built a 12-volt lead-acid assisted solar offgrid system in the late 1980s on an island 3 hours north of Toronto.   (I only met them as house neighbours in the 2010s, but they had the offgrid cottage for more than 30 years at the time, as a better-than-camping getaway)

It utilized lead acid battery storage.  Since panels were so underpowered and expensive back then, the batteries were necessary to just build up enough charge to power useful 12 volt RV appliances.   (The refrigerator compressor was propane powered).   I helped them find 12-volt LED bulbs to replace 12-volt incandescent, and that extended the life of the ancient solar system, even though the panels were replaced once.   

Might be time to help them upgrade to LiFePo4 and electric fridge.  It's amazing how much more power you can generate nowadays, and luxuriously leave a few modern LED lights on 24/7 if you were scared/ of the dark.  The ROI on solar systems here is now only a few years.

Also... you might want to know about the new 6 volt lithium batteries that works with lead-acid chargers:
You should know that they finally released 6 volt LiFePo4 batteries that are compatible with lead-acid battery charging controllers.  Drop-in replacement -- because those batteries have a BMS (Battery Management System) that safely converts lead-acid charging patterns into lithium charging patterns -- safe BMS charging electronics built directly below the battery terminals!   

(A BMS built into a lithium "car battery" is just essentially a small power brick built into a car-battery-sized beast, that acts as a sort of a safe charging adaptor, accepting incompatible electricity and turning it into lithium compatible charging).

The heavier lithium iron phosphate (LiFePo4) batteries don't catch fire like the other lithium-manganese batteries (the lighter kind used in high capacity EVs).  So if you're waiting 1 year, pay attention to those new lead acid drop-in compatible 6 volt lithium batteries.   

Battery tech is changing so fast at the moment.  They may not have yet arrived to many Mexico suppliers yet, but is already manufactured elsewhere.  In a year, you might have additional drop-in options; no need to replace the lead-acid charger!

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6 hours ago, Ferret said:

Now Go Solar has panels the same size that can produce 450 watts in those same conditions.

Also 550 watt mono panels have been available and installed for a number of months, now, with 595 and 600 watt panels just in the process of arriving.     🙂

"Bigger isn't necessarily better"....but for micro-inverter based systems, it does mean that now a 4 panel system can be installed with a single micro and cover well over the DAC level of CFE consumption.       So very cost effective and simple way to go for small to medium households.   

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6 hours ago, GDouglas said:

We may merge to one meter once we go solar, for simplicity of solar, right now it’s essentially two separate sets of house wiring on a house that’s no longer a duplex.

CFE Chapala is pretty much requiring this for any single legal address anyway.....they no longer allow a "solar meter" account and a regular meter to continue side by side.     

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There is another option to consider if keeping both CFE services is the higher priority.      An inverter-charger system can offer the capability to power the house from solar or grid, give auto backup from batteries when needed, and not export to the grid.     Think of it as using an offgrid system, but in a home that also has the grid connection.....or like having a hybrid inverter, without the export to grid capability.        Most users who have a grid connection do like to take advantage of exporting the excess power and getting credits for it, however each user has different priorities.    

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On 2/28/2022 at 7:53 PM, Go Solar said:

Also 550 watt mono panels have been available and installed for a number of months, now, with 595 and 600 watt panels just in the process of arriving.     🙂

"Bigger isn't necessarily better"....but for micro-inverter based systems, it does mean that now a 4 panel system can be installed with a single micro and cover well over the DAC level of CFE consumption.       So very cost effective and simple way to go for small to medium households.   

How do these compare in size with the older 225 and 250 panels?

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3 minutes ago, Mainecoons said:

How do these compare in size with the older 225 and 250 panels?

The 550 watt panels are 1.1 x 2.2 m in size.

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2 hours ago, Mainecoons said:

How do these compare in size with the older 225 and 250 panels?

Good question!

2 hours ago, Go Solar said:

The 250 watt 60 cell panels in your system are approx 1 x 1.65 m each in size.     

As long as I'm getting 21%-22% efficiency panels, and the price-per-watt is reasonable, I'm OK with any panel size of a good durable panel. 

I've heard good things about Panasonic a few years ago, but most manufacturers now make >20% efficient panels.

[Still debating what to do with the two-meter situation, which is a showstopper that delays things by a couple months probably]

 

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