New To Solar = Need Help Sizing/Pricing

RealityAskew

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Sep 26, 2021
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4
My wife and I are buying a 40 acre "ranch" and need solar as we will be 100% off-grid. I used to do electronic repair in the Army a million years ago but don't have the skills to do my own solar without killing myself and others. "A man has got to know his limitations" - Dirty Harry.

I've gotten quotes from companies ranging from $45k to over $90k and just need some help understanding the best route.

Here are the specifics of the property to help with sizing/pricing.

1. Home = 1100 sq ft, R18 walls, R30 roof, R something floor. It's a manufactured home that was ground set. The elevation of land is 3100 ft., which means highs in summer of around 100 degrees and lows in winter of around 20 degrees.
2. Well = 480 ft well with pump.
3. Ground Mount = The solar farm will have to be ground mounted
4. Mr. Cool Minisplit = I'd like to use the One Condenser with 4 heads Mr. Cool minisplit system. There are four rooms in the house that will need different temperatures at different times.
5. Electric Appliances = Refrigerator (big side by side), freezer, ceiling fans, floor fans, microwave, washer, computers x 3, running about 10-16 hours per day. I work online remotely and it requires me to be working online most of the day. Other than that and the minisplits, there won't be anything remarkable. The normal coffee maker, occasional freeze dryer (1700w), etc.
6. Generator - We have a 12kw propane generator, but I'd only like to use that for emergencies.
7. Batteries - My expectation for batteries, is they should last all night long running the essentials like AC, refrigerator, freezer, etc.

BTW if you live in northern Arizona (near Lake Havasu), feel free to drop by and install this. Free Beer!!!** Note: said beer will be warm until system installed. :)

I did an online estimator of power and it said 67kw hours per day. Yes 67,000 watt hours. That seems high but the numbers weren't all that crazy.

There is an existing solar system that was installed about the same time as the Model-T was popular. It's got 8 panels that produce roughly 800 watts. Yes, 800 whole watts. Not sure of batteries, inverter, etc. I figured they were all something to be replaced anyway.

I've tried watching YouTube, but the available information is overwhelming and also can be somewhat misleading. I appreciate any help or suggestions this fine community can offer.

Update: I attached the solar estimate I did.

Thanks,
Dan
 

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Supervstech

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My wife and I are buying a 40 acre "ranch" and need solar as we will be 100% off-grid. I used to do electronic repair in the Army a million years ago but don't have the skills to do my own solar without killing myself and others. "A man has got to know his limitations" - Dirty Harry.

I've gotten quotes from companies ranging from $45k to over $90k and just need some help understanding the best route.

Here are the specifics of the property to help with sizing/pricing.

1. Home = 1100 sq ft, R18 walls, R30 roof, R something floor. It's a manufactured home that was ground set. The elevation of land is 3100 ft., which means highs in summer of around 100 degrees and lows in winter of around 20 degrees.
2. Well = 480 ft well with pump.
3. Ground Mount = The solar farm will have to be ground mounted
4. Mr. Cool Minisplit = I'd like to use the One Condenser with 4 heads Mr. Cool minisplit system. There are four rooms in the house that will need different temperatures at different times.
5. Electric Appliances = Refrigerator (big side by side), freezer, ceiling fans, floor fans, microwave, washer, computers x 3, running about 10-16 hours per day. I work online remotely and it requires me to be working online most of the day. Other than that and the minisplits, there won't be anything remarkable. The normal coffee maker, occasional freeze dryer (1700w), etc.
6. Generator - We have a 12kw propane generator, but I'd only like to use that for emergencies.
7. Batteries - My expectation for batteries, is they should last all night long running the essentials like AC, refrigerator, freezer, etc.

BTW if you live in northern Arizona (near Lake Havasu), feel free to drop by and install this. Free Beer!!!** Note: said beer will be warm until system installed. :)

I did an online estimator of power and it said 67kw hours per day. Yes 67,000 watt hours. That seems high but the numbers weren't all that crazy.

There is an existing solar system that was installed about the same time as the Model-T was popular. It's got 8 panels that produce roughly 800 watts. Yes, 800 whole watts. Not sure of batteries, inverter, etc. I figured they were all something to be replaced anyway.

I've tried watching YouTube, but the available information is overwhelming and also can be somewhat misleading. I appreciate any help or suggestions this fine community can offer.

Update: I attached the solar estimate I did.

Thanks,
Dan
I find it difficult to believe the well pump uses nearly the same wattage as the furnace fan…
 

Supervstech

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Are you planning to have this professionally installed, or are you considering DIY?

There are a few builds on here near your size…

That old solar setup could be a life saver for someone in your area, so don’t trash it, put it on Craigslist once it isn’t powering your beer cooler… oh, by the way, 800W should easily keep your beer cold while getting free help!
 

MrM1

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Mar 1, 2021
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N. Central FL
It would be best if you could get some kind of close energy audit of your daily Watt Hour needs. This would help the brain trust here (not me ~ I'm a learner too) ... but would help people who know help you plan

I am in a similar situation. My daughter bought a 10 care farm and it has not power. It will have to be totally off grid and I am in the process of doing a complete design for DIY install. We believe we can do it for less than $15k , but it sounds like your needs are greater. Yes 67k plus is a lot
 

MrM1

I'm Here, But I'm Not All There
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974
Location
N. Central FL
Your well pump number is about right. I have my 1hp shallow well pump on 240 split (to help even out the load on the inverter) and it runs at around 900w. Start up is another story. It literally has an inrush (millisecond ) start up of over 40amps on each leg L1 and L2. Yet my Schneider Conext SW4024 inverter hardly blinks ~ it literally blinks (as in the lights), but it has started the pump for over 3 years now. My point, make sure you get an inverter that will start large mechanical loads like well pumps, ac compressors, etc.
 

RealityAskew

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Joined
Sep 26, 2021
Messages
4
Are you planning to have this professionally installed, or are you considering DIY?

There are a few builds on here near your size…

That old solar setup could be a life saver for someone in your area, so don’t trash it, put it on Craigslist once it isn’t powering your beer cooler… oh, by the way, 800W should easily keep your beer cold while getting free help!
Yes this would likely be a professional install and we have a couple of quotes already, however they vary wildly in price.. For instance, one quote says 10k of battery would be enough and another says 24k of battery is recommended. It's just my wife and I so I don't think we use all that much electricity, but the power estimate seemed to be thorough. It's shocking how much little things like smoke detectors use over a 24 hour period. It's not much but those numbers add up quickly.

That's a good idea on the current solar and would like just donate it to a local person to use for a camper or something.
 

RealityAskew

New Member
Joined
Sep 26, 2021
Messages
4
Your well pump number is about right. I have my 1hp shallow well pump on 240 split (to help even out the load on the inverter) and it runs at around 900w. Start up is another story. It literally has an inrush (millisecond ) start up of over 40amps on each leg L1 and L2. Yet my Schneider Conext SW4024 inverter hardly blinks ~ it literally blinks (as in the lights), but it has started the pump for over 3 years now. My point, make sure you get an inverter that will start large mechanical loads like well pumps, ac compressors, etc.
The local company I'm leaning towards using come highly recommended and are supposedly very good with off-grid. I was surprised by how many companies don't even do off-grid. For instance Tesla won't do one unless it's grid tied.
 

Rednecktek

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Sep 8, 2021
Messages
769
1400 Amp Hours a day??!! It might be time to re-think your power usage there. That's a Metric A$$load of battery!

OK, now that I've got that out of my system, anyone who will install that kind of system for $10k is either lying, not reading the power audit, or plans on adding to the bill after the contract is signed and ripping you off. With that kind of power requirement there's no way to even source the hardware for that much.

Sadly the aircon is about 60% of your total usage right there. That's gonna hurt no matter how you do it.

Also, save that 800w setup, you never know when you're going to want to light up an outbuilding or something and you just happen to have this 800w system lying around! Beer fridge is a MUCH higher priority than a hair dryer. :)
 

RealityAskew

New Member
Joined
Sep 26, 2021
Messages
4
1400 Amp Hours a day??!! It might be time to re-think your power usage there. That's a Metric A$$load of battery!

OK, now that I've got that out of my system, anyone who will install that kind of system for $10k is either lying, not reading the power audit, or plans on adding to the bill after the contract is signed and ripping you off. With that kind of power requirement there's no way to even source the hardware for that much.

Sadly the aircon is about 60% of your total usage right there. That's gonna hurt no matter how you do it.

Also, save that 800w setup, you never know when you're going to want to light up an outbuilding or something and you just happen to have this 800w system lying around! Beer fridge is a MUCH higher priority than a hair dryer.
Yes it does seem like a lot, but power isn't something I really thought about till now and don't have a mental reference point for it yet.

As to the 10k, that was just the size of the battery not the cost, so I guess I should have said 10kw battery system.

The AC will be hard, but here in Arizona it's almost a must. The Earth Ship folks have a nice design that doesn't require much AC, but sadly I'm not going to have an earth sheltered home.
 

Supervstech

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Yes this would likely be a professional install and we have a couple of quotes already, however they vary wildly in price.. For instance, one quote says 10k of battery would be enough and another says 24k of battery is recommended. It's just my wife and I so I don't think we use all that much electricity, but the power estimate seemed to be thorough. It's shocking how much little things like smoke detectors use over a 24 hour period. It's not much but those numbers add up quickly.

That's a good idea on the current solar and would like just donate it to a local person to use for a camper or something.
You could disconnect the ac smoke detectors and install battery power versions…
 
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