Solar Panels
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Thread: Solar Panels

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    TruckFarmer55's Avatar
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    Solar Panels

    I've been thinking about this for some time now. Not sure if it's a good bad or otherwise idea so I know I'll get opinions here. Stores like harbor freight sell small solar panels with connections and batteries and whatnot. I was thinking of using a couple of these to somehow run my lights and small fans in my greenhouse. Does anyone know if this would work and if so how you would set something up like that?
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    You'd have to do the calculations but lots of people do the same sort of thing. Put a solar panel out someplace where it is in the sun, throw a deep cycle battery (or two) inside. Use the panel to charge the battery (through the proper charge controller) and then either run 12v lights/fans directly off the battery or install an inverter to run 120v lights/fans.

    The Harbor Freight panels probably aren't big enough to keep a battery charged for this though. I think the largest setup they sell is 45 watts. By the time you buy several of those you may find it cheaper to just go buy one 215 watt (or larger) panel elsewhere. But you'd need to figure out how much power your lights/fan would use before doing anything else.
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    Check out some other suppliers. You can find equivalent or bigger systems at a better price with just a little on-line searching. Even shopping at Amazon can probably get you twice the watts for the same dollars. If going solar+battery, try to stay with DC products for fans/pumps/lights & only LED for lighting. Inverters have a certain degree of overhead (loss).

    Nick

    ETA: I did a solar component for an equipment shed at the house & included pics of the process in the equipment shed thread. The solar portion starts here
    Last edited by nikdfish; 02-10-2017 at 01:52 PM.
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    TruckFarmer55's Avatar
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    Thanks a bunch. I will check amazon. We have over a $500 Edison bill sometimes and the electrician can't find out why. (I think the electric company is crooks). So solar panels in the greenhouse will help hopefully keep it low.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TruckFarmer55 View Post
    Thanks a bunch. I will check amazon. We have over a $500 Edison bill sometimes and the electrician can't find out why. (I think the electric company is crooks). So solar panels in the greenhouse will help hopefully keep it low.
    have the utility check your meter, just be warned my next door neighbor was complaining, I told him that's the first place to start as he had an old meter, his bill went up with a new meter.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TruckFarmer55 View Post
    Thanks a bunch. I will check amazon. We have over a $500 Edison bill sometimes and the electrician can't find out why. (I think the electric company is crooks). So solar panels in the greenhouse will help hopefully keep it low.
    Been in that spot before, I used to lay the electric bill on the table and watch it to see if it moved lol, one day during a rain I ran out to the garage one day and grabbed the door and went to open it and unfortunately I know what getting hit by voltage feels like all to well so I didn't need to try it twice , long story short the people that installed the door pinched a wire from a night activated light circuit and who knows how much money that little mistake cost me, had I not found it fire was inevitable. That and adding a wood stove my bill in the winter is rarely over 125. But then again wood isn't free no matter how you get it there is a cost.

    Starting with a green house will teach you a lot and give you confidence to move to bigger projects just don't forget batteries are fire hazards so if your going to do it start off right and build a structure like a small shed to house your electronics and batteries away from all other structures. Batteries give off flammable gases when they are over worked and get hot so if you notice this add more batteries. You probably know this but always hook up the negative last and remove it first.


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    TruckFarmer55's Avatar
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    Yeah we got told our old meter caused it. New "smart" meters came in and the bill went up. They blamed it on our heat being set to high. Jokes on them we have wood heat. And the furnace is unplugged when not in use. Then they said my greenhouses. Jokes on them again, they're actually high tunnels that have no electricity run to them. Electrician was at a loss. So I summed it up to be crooked business.

    Good information. Thanks for the input.

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    I'm sure the electricians probably already checked these but here is a good list of ways to find the high usage items.

    Warren Electric Cooperative

    also tighten the circuit breakers every so often, they do loosen up.
    Last edited by wildbranch2007; 02-12-2017 at 04:39 AM.
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