100w single panel setup advice for shed

dm6156

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You can have both an inverter and 12V fixtures are the same time. I do; seldom ever turn on a 120V light but they are there…

At the sub-1A level do 120V switches present any hazards? Almost all my 12V lights are on standard 120VAC wall switches. The only one that bothers me is the 120V twist-timer that switches my 6.5A 12V water pump and the 12V-3V DC 500mA power supply for the tankless water heater.
However, it mostly switches on a load, seldom if ever does it switch the load off (it’s mainly to make sure there’s no major water flow if a line breaks).

And upstream manufacturing LED light assemblies are so inexpensive that a) you can roll your own, and b) have plenty of spares on hand. RV hi/lo LED ceiling lights are ~$12-$20. Some of my lights are 10? milliamperes and the ceiling lights are like under 300mA on high.

It’s plenty inexpensive to have 12V lights and 120V also available.
I didn't consider 12v lights for inside. Something to think about. I could run the inverter and set up a 12v fuse block to battery if I decide to add any 12V powered devices.

I didn't think about having the outside security light wired to a switch to turn it on/off, just having it plugged into inverter. I ordered some 3 blade plugs and have some romex from an earlier project that I was going to use. I think I'll add a switch just inside the door. Like many motion security lights, it has selectable range and duration. I was planning on setting to small/medium range so it will kick on when I cross existing bridge by shed and having it kick off after 1 minute. Sometimes wildlife set off the existing battery powered light.

Now I need to find a small breaker box to connect the PV to so I can scale. I was thinking about something like this from homedepot - Homeline 125 Amp 12-Space 24-Circuit Indoor Main Lug Plug-On Neutral Load Center with Cover, Ground Bar

Solar panel to 30A charge controller to (30A) fuse to 100aH battery to breaker box to light switch to security light
Now, having breaker box, instead of wiring inverter to battery, wire inverter to breaker box.
wire shop light (pull chain switch) to breaker box.

Then I can ground solar panel to breaker box - is it ok to run ground wire in same conduit (buried) as pv wire?
When I bury the conduit, I'll leave in a rope to pull more cable.

In future, I can add more panels into charge controller and more devices (outlets, lights, etc) to the breaker box.

Thanks

Dan
 

12VoltInstalls

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didn't think about having the outside security light wired to a switch to turn it on/off, just having it plugged into inverter.
I’m not saying this brand is good I’m just showing that stuff’s available
10-50W 12V Outdoor Security https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01IU8CT0M/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_fabc_MKGGDSA76R3T6CY8T9WH

 

Rednecktek

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That breaker panel is for A/C breakers and circuits, NOT DC and yes, there is a difference. If you want to bring all your PV in through breakers you'll need to get DC breakers and boxes which are either online or marine supply stores and significantly more expensive.
 

dm6156

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I tested my dewalt battery charger and it was 83watts / 1.2 amps while charging.

I forgot about the dc aspect when looking at breaker box. I will check around for DC breaker box, I'm not far from several large lakes and there are many marine dealerships/service centers.

Thanks

Dan
 

dm6156

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I’m not saying this brand is good I’m just showing that stuff’s available
10-50W 12V Outdoor Security https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01IU8CT0M/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_fabc_MKGGDSA76R3T6CY8T9WH

For now, I'm going to try to keep the 120v lights (shop light inside + outdoor motion). After getting it all hooked up and seeing how it all works, then I'll decide what to change - do i swith to 12v lights or do i add more panels/batteries. 12v would be cheaper, but upgrading would allow me more options for use in future besides just storage.

I did pick up a light switch

Within the next 2 weeks, I should have received everything - the two big outstanding components are 100w panel and AGM battery. The shop light was "delivered" last Friday, but wasn't really. I received an empty brown cardboard box with a shipping label with no product inside (not even packaging the light comes in from manufacturer). Took me a minute to explain to the csr rep that I couldn't read her the sku from the packaging as I didn't get any packaging, only a brown cardboard box 😆.'Of course now the light is coming a slower shipping route.

Thanks

Dan
 

Geno Solar Addict

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I’m just happy to find that someone here has a similar setup as me and same usage plans! I started out with a little 100w harbor freight kit and the little 35Ah battery lol. I have since upgraded. The new single piece 100w harbor freight monocrystalline panels actual surprised me for my build. Even on a shady day I get about 60watts per panel. Yeah they were cheaper than what you seasoned vets use but they are working great at keeping my 200Ah lifepo4 battery charged.
 

dm6156

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Been a while, time for an update. I finally got to "complete" the installation. I still need to tweak a few things such as tidying up wiring and finding a permant spot for the panel. I'm waiting until summer when leaves are back in to find a spot to maximize sun exposure. I need to make new cables to connect the inverter to the battery (fused) so I can put lid on battery box.

To go over my setup here in north Georgia:
100W renogy panel (aluminum adjustable mount)
100Ah renogy agm battery with box
older 400w modified sign wave inverter (probably 15+ years old) - 2 outlets
5000 lumen 4' LED shop light
LED dawn to dusk motion security light above door
Renogy Wander Li 30a controller
Renogy BT1 bluetooth module
renogy battery temp sensor

I added a light switch for the security light, the shop light has pull chain and both are plugged into the inverter.
With the inverter running 14-15 hours overnight (4:30-5p to 7:30a), I lost .3V.
I've taken a peak at the DC Home app to monitor the controller and seen battery change at or near 14.9V @ 0.48A when I look

According to the app, a few times I took screenshots, I've seen the solar panel at 17.9V, 6.9W @ 0.39A and 20.10V, 6.63W @ 0.33A

I'll see how it holds up this weekend, they are calling for rain/ice/snow saturday afternoon through sunday.

thanks
Dan
 

RVLiFe

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That would take almost two months to charge 50Ah worth of battery. You’re going to need more panels my friend.
 

dm6156

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Georgia
That would take almost two months to charge 50Ah worth of battery. You’re going to need more panels my friend.
I agree, based on the number it looks bad.

But, I'm not so sure about that because of a few factors:

1. It's an overcast day and the battery is back to12.5v and the panel has had no direct bright sunlight - sun's not been out in full today - overcast. Neither light has been on, only inverter.
2. This is a storage shed so it's not used often early morning or at night where I need light so the LED shop light won't be on much. I haven't tested it with my watt meter, but if it becomes too big a drain, I'll switch to some 12V led light strips (as someone else mentioned).
3. The main driving factor for going solar was the security light which won't be on much and the ability to add some landscape lighting (shed is across creek from my firepit/ patio). At that point, i may need to add panel(s).

So far the single panel seems to be able to keep the battery full with the inverter running for my current needs. BUT time will tell, especially this weekend with the expected rain/snow.

thanks

Dan
 

RVLiFe

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I agree, based on the number it looks bad.

But, I'm not so sure about that because of a few factors:

1. It's an overcast day and the battery is back to12.5v and the panel has had no direct bright sunlight - sun's not been out in full today - overcast. Neither light has been on, only inverter.
2. This is a storage shed so it's not used often early morning or at night where I need light so the LED shop light won't be on much. I haven't tested it with my watt meter, but if it becomes too big a drain, I'll switch to some 12V led light strips (as someone else mentioned).
3. The main driving factor for going solar was the security light which won't be on much and the ability to add some landscape lighting (shed is across creek from my firepit/ patio). At that point, i may need to add panel(s).

So far the single panel seems to be able to keep the battery full with the inverter running for my current needs. BUT time will tell, especially this weekend with the expected rain/snow.

thanks

Dan
Well, I think you are on top of it all and you know your limitations and expectations. I’m also certain that you’ve had fun messing around with it all and I know that you know where to get advice so you are well in your way to success. I’ll be doing something very similar to my storage shed on my lake property so it’s been an interesting read with what/how you have done things. I too will be using a 400 Watt inverter but I’ll only plug it in when needed and not all the time. I’ll be using 12V lights to light up a pier and stairway.

Good job!
 

dm6156

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Well, I think you are on top of it all and you know your limitations and expectations. I’m also certain that you’ve had fun messing around with it all and I know that you know where to get advice so you are well in your way to success. I’ll be doing something very similar to my storage shed on my lake property so it’s been an interesting read with what/how you have done things. I too will be using a 400 Watt inverter but I’ll only plug it in when needed and not all the time. I’ll be using 12V lights to light up a pier and stairway.

Good job!
Thanks. Yes, I learned a lot and it will help when I'm ready to upgrade my travel trailer to add solar.

That sounds like a nice hang out spot for sunsets!

Good luck with that project. Are you planning on using landscape light or pure 12v? I currently have 12v landscape lighting (also 1 spot light) plugged in to standard landscape inverter for my house, I should plug in my watt meter and see what they draw - i just thought about that after reading your comment. It's interesting to see the products people chose and why.

Thanks

Dan
 

RVLiFe

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Thanks. Yes, I learned a lot and it will help when I'm ready to upgrade my travel trailer to add solar.

That sounds like a nice hang out spot for sunsets!

Good luck with that project. Are you planning on using landscape light or pure 12v? I currently have 12v landscape lighting (also 1 spot light) plugged in to standard landscape inverter for my house, I should plug in my watt meter and see what they draw - i just thought about that after reading your comment. It's interesting to see the products people chose and why.

Thanks

Dan
Sunsets are amazing but we don’t go there until late spring. It’s too cold this time of year and my wife and I are full time RV‘rs so we are currently set up in Gulf Shores AL enjoying the weather here until then.

Most outdoor lighting is 12V so I think this should be pretty easy to do without using an inverter along with maybe some 3W LED bulbs. I’ll buy a cheap Renogy Wanderer SCC that has load outputs on it and I think that is all I’ll need. I believe that you can program it to turn on/off for sunset/sunrise. I’ve even seen some cheap PWM controllers that will probably do the job of maintaining a single 12V AGM battery. I’m pretty sure there are some threads on here that have additional info when I’m ready.
 

dm6156

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Sunsets are amazing but we don’t go there until late spring. It’s too cold this time of year and my wife and I are full time RV‘rs so we are currently set up in Gulf Shores AL enjoying the weather here until then.

Most outdoor lighting is 12V so I think this should be pretty easy to do without using an inverter along with maybe some 3W LED bulbs. I’ll buy a cheap Renogy Wanderer SCC that has load outputs on it and I think that is all I’ll need. I believe that you can program it to turn on/off for sunset/sunrise. I’ve even seen some cheap PWM controllers that will probably do the job of maintaining a single 12V AGM battery. I’m pretty sure there are some threads on here that have additional info when I’m ready.
Very cool. I used water proof connectors with gel in them when i installed my landscape lights. Been about 4 years without issue. Yeah, i wasn't thinking about that, just i needed to plug mine in. You can do a lot with 12v, could you use 12v time?

Good luck. Post pictures when you get around to completing it.
 

dm6156

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If I get direct sunlight every day , I have no issues with the system (charge battery from 12.2v to 13V). This is due to my inverter running higher than stated in specs. If the weather is overcast, on the 2nd day it will deplete the battery so I have to turn off inverter to prevent that.
I think in summer with 2-3x the sunlight (7hr+), I'd have no problem going 1 day without sunlight.

I'm still impressed, on overcast days, the system charges the battery a lot more than I expected.
In direct sun, I see up around 80W @ 3.5A) - still tweaking the panel angel for max W/A.

I'm considering adding another pannel (I'd like to add 200W), however the specs are different from the existing 100W).
100W = 20.4V (Vmp), 4.91A (IMP)
200W = 22.6V (Vmp), 8.85A (IMP)

I know that would mean either I add them as separate arrays (need combiner box type setup) or the 200W runs a 4.91A (50% capacity).
I'm also considering adding a 2nd battery (another 100aH or a 200aH AGM).

I'd still like to add a string of 12v landscape lighting at some point in the future, so i know i have to upgrade at some point regardless.

current setup
100W panel
100aH AGM battery
30A PVM controller (with battery sensor)
400W inverter (always on)
30W security light (dawn to dusk + motion activated always turned on)
90W shop light (almost never turned on).

Looking for input on my next step.
1. Add 2nd battery, either another 100aH or a 200aH AGM (wire in parallel for total of either 200 or 300aH) and switch to MPPT controller (currently have 30A PVM).
2. Add another 100W panel (200W total) - Keep single 100aH battery and current PVM controller.
3. Add 2nd battery (200aH or 300aH in parallel) and 2nd 100W panel for 200W total.
4. Add 200w panel (300W total) + combiner box (differnet panel outputs) + 2nd battery.
5. some combination of 1-4.

This is fun seeing "real world" vs specs.

Thanks

Dan
 

Rednecktek

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I know that would mean either I add them as separate arrays (need combiner box type setup) or the 200W runs a 4.91A (50% capacity).
I'm also considering adding a 2nd battery (another 100aH or a 200aH AGM).
Those are close enough VoC that you should be able to parallel them and get almost the full 13ish amperage, aren't they? If the 200w was kneecapped by the amperage production of the 100w then everyone's SE/SW arrays would be kneecapped as well and I never hear of that one happening.
 

dm6156

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I think I'm going to go with adding the 200watt panel (wired in parallel) and add another 100aH battery (also wired in parallel).
I am also going to upgrade to MPPT (40A) controller. The 40A controller can rupport 520W in 12v configuration. That will allow me to add another 200Watts of panels should the need arise but also increase charge efficiency.

thanks

Dan
 

dm6156

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Georgia
So adding 200W now is 300W… a 40A controller will work fine to 600W nominal.
I’d keep it for now.

I was looking at the manufacturer specs, it says the 40A MPPT controller can support 520Watts -that's where the numbe came from. I understand i may not be getting the full 300watts now or 600watts if I go that large in the future.

It will be interesting to see what max watts/amps will be in summer with a total of 300watt of panels.
For now, In winter time, I've been tweaking the angle of the panel and have seen 80watts/3.5amps max - that may or may not be the max I can get from the current setup.

When the 200Watt panel arrives, I'm considering sitting it at a different angle than the 100w to take advantage of most sun without moving them (it's a manual process, in figuring out best location for panels to permanently sit). I'll sit 200w where it gets most during day and the 100w where it gets sun when 200W isn't in full direct sunlight.

Also, I'm noting where sunlight is and where i may need to trim some branches.

Thanks

Dan
 
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