Can we set up a partial solar system and add on?

2 Posts
Nov 1, 2008 08:23 pm
Can we set up a partial solar system and add on?

Hello, We are so happy to have found this website!!

My husband and I are looking into setting up a solar system for our home, yet we are not able to afford a full system all at one time. Can we start out with a basic system and add on?

We live in South West Florida. 
Our home is a 14 X 52 foot Mobile Home.
We have a well system for water.

After Hurricane Charlie,in 2004,power was out for two weeks.  A 3500watt gas powered generator kept lights and fans going, yet there was no way to pull water from the well nor have refrigeration.

We would hope to start out with a very basic system that would pull up water and allow us to have lights.
As we add on to the system we would increase to support refrigeration, and finally work up to a system that would run the entire home.

Our initial purchases would need to be limited to approx. $1000.00-for panels and inverter-not including batteries or cables, and other small items.

My husband is very capable of installing the system..with directions of course!!

So our questions are:
1)Should we put most of our funds into a moderate capacity inverter? (instead of a small one that would need to be replaced)
2)If we intend to end up with a system that will run the entire home, what size panels should we be buying?
3)Can panels of diffrent sizes be connected together or do they all need to be the same?

I'm sure we will have many more questions, yet will wait to find out the answers to these first.

Thank you so very much, we will look forward to hearing back from you.

Kimmie and Jerry

55 Posts
Nov 1, 2008 10:01 pm
Re: Can we set up a partial solar system and add on?

I cant tell you exactly what to do however my ongoing project is I am lighting 2 rooms of my house off my inverter. Here in Northern Illinois it will take a 80w solar panel and 2 115Ah batteries.I could go into details if u want but at a minimum it 850.00 and that is only for 6hrs of light. What you need to do is find on the internet and this site a load evaluation sheet and solar sizing sheet and sit down and think about what you used when you got slammed hard. You may want to look into if you utilised your generator to its full potential.IE fans and light on solar, draw water once a day and use refrigerator on transfer switch wired into main electrical box.
2 Posts
Nov 1, 2008 10:21 pm
Re: Can we set up a partial solar system and add on?


 Does the fact that we are in Florida factor into how much stored power we would get out of the solar panels?
Most of the stories I read on here from customers spoke about 120w panels, yet I don't know (yet)how much more that would be over your 80w.

Details would be great...on how you are running your system!!
Do you have two batteries being used to power the lights in the two rooms individually or are they connected together, then hooked up through an inverter and into the electrical sockets?

In answer to your question...We would be able to use the generator as needed, to assist our solar set up.

The more I read, the more I'm understanding how this all works. Thanks for helping out Max, I'll watch for more details!!

Kimmie...and Jerry
55 Posts
Nov 2, 2008 12:12 am
Re: Can we set up a partial solar system and add on?

I was motivated by storms to. Had the power go off one time 4 or so years ago and could not find the flash lights made me very mad. I then bought emergency lighting and a inverter and later a generator. Been adding and upgrading since then.I have hard wired in 5 separate plugs but 4 lines.The living room and dinning room are on the same line.
There is just tooo much info to be told in one sitting. Go thru this site with a fine tooth comb and google as much info as you can and then come back with single point questions and you will be able to come up with a good system that will meet your needs the next time a hurricane rolls in. Every part of the system-panels,controllers,inverters and batteries have unique properties that need to be researched.For example I started with a vector 400w inverter and a car battery.DONT do both of those.Vector inverter are not the best and the fans inside them run all the time and draws power from your batteries.And you want deep cycle batteries not car batteries. And it just branches from there.I look forward to more post from you since my start is from storms..

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