Temporary ground mount solar for a shed

ttf5003

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Jun 21, 2021
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Hi,

I’m going to be building a log house myself this summer and will be using a shed as my base of operations. I’d like a solar setup just big enough to charge my power tool batteries, lights at night, etc. Once construction is complete I will have permanent power there so I don’t want to spend a fortune. Would love Victron stuff but I don’t think it’s in the cards.

My current plan is

2 6v Interstate Golf Cart Batteries from Costco, $100 Each

Aims 1500w Charger Inverter $515 PICOGLF15W12V120VR

Renogy 200s 12v Solar Premium Kit $367-

I listed above to see if anyone has better ideas in a similar price range.

My real question is that the shed is not conducive to having solar mounted on the roof due to the trees. I would like to basically lay them on the ground as I don’t want to permanently mount them yet since I might need to move them due to material deliveries and such.

I was planning on using RV mounts like this:

https://www.renogy.com/rv-tilt-mount-brackets/

I’ll lay them on the ground and sandbag them to keep them from going anywhere. Is there a better method or something else I should consider?

Thanks
 

45North

Let it shine!
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Those brackets are only good for panels up to 100w. You might be better with bigger panels. Cheaper and less wiring, mounting and connections.
 

chrisski

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IMO, if you do not mount the panels with something as strong as a permanent system, you risk them blowing away.

I have those brackets. Unless you have the 100 watt panels those were designed for, I recommend looking at angle iron and a similar mounting nuts and bolts at a local hardware store to custom fit your panels. They can be used for other panels, but you do need to look at the dimensions of the bars tomake sure they will fit.

I did look at a suitcase design that would take a metal bar and rivet it to the panel After drilling a hole. If you want no adjustable tilt, that would be a lot cheaper.

I’ve got to warn you though, I don’t tilt those Renogy panels anymore because of winds that came oit of nowhere that got up to 35 MPH. I’m not confident that they would have stayed mounted to the roof. Even with sandbags, and how you place them, the mounts may move. I’ve also not had good luck with sandbags holding up to the elements for any amount of time. They’re good for a few days or maybe weeks, but after several months of being left outside the bag starts to rot away. In dry climates they’re better, but still not a permanent solution.
 

Q-Dog

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
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Was trying to find ideal location to mount a few panels. I threw this together with scraps from my porch addition. Size dictated by the legths of said scraps. Added a couple of diagonal braces and secured the panels to the frame. I drug this all over my yard.

IMG_2920.jpg
 

Diysolar123

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Feb 28, 2021
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647
hmmm... if it really is just temporary then...

do not buy name brand new panels, get some used panels.
agree with just laying the panels on the ground if you have the room!! tie them down with some cordage.
consider getting an "all in one" inverter/charger rather than aims+renogy as you are paying a premium for the renogy stuff (https://watts247.com)
 

ttf5003

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Jun 21, 2021
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Thanks for all the replies so far. After looking at it, I agree the separate 100w panels plus mounts would be a waste, and I could certainly Build my own.

But a 200w suitcase would be appealing to me as well. No mount to build/ buy, plus all the wiring is done. That would be easy to move and it does look like they are waterproof so I could leave them out on days I'm not working on building the cabin to top off my batteries.
 

Wellbuilt

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I used a system like you describe on my trailer when building my place .
The aims inverters really suck up power just being turned on, I used a morning star 300 watt unit for what you describe
It dosent have a charger but it has search mode and has a very low idle consumption .
200 watts of solar won’t charge your battery you really need 400 watts min but 300 watts are cheep so I would get 2
for 600 watts of solar .
This system worked good for me from April to Thanksgiving .
I just used a 12v battery charger for extra power .
I had 3 300 watt panels laying flat on the ground and I had deer stomp on them and break 2 .
Then I just made a rack out of 2x6 , flat panels really cut power production in the Spring and fall.
If you are going to buy equipment to use this is cheep and will work for you .
its 24 volt but you can usev2 12 volt battery’s in a pinch 4 GC battery would be better .
We spent 2 years in the old trailer .
E74C99E9-DA60-4A20-9482-0F15430053AE.jpegE86C5FF4-89BF-40A8-AC7E-5647BBB315B0.png
 

ttf5003

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Jun 21, 2021
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Thanks again for all of the ideas. I think my current plan is to go with 2 HQST 100 w panels and build my own stand out of wood as shown above. I didn't realize how much more Renogy was then some of the alternatives. What's a decent controller to go with it? Or are any of the $20 ones ok?

I realize 200w isn't a lot but I plan on working about 3 days up there and then hopefully it will recharge when I'm not up there. Also one of the main purposes of the Aim Inverter/Charger is that I can top the batteries off when I'm running the generator for the air compressor or something else anyway.
 

chrisski

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For your golf cart batteries, my flooded lead acid gold cart batteries say when stored for a while, I think more than a month, to disconnnect them, and if shorter to float charge. I’m not sure how long you’ll be away for.

I’m a big fan of MPPT controllers by Victron. Use what you want, but if you get the cheap controllers read the input specs real well so you don’t exceed those specs.

I’m sure it will charge while you’re away, but the question is the three days you’re there, will you ever deplete your batteries less than 50%, if so they may not charge as much again.

Edit: Renogy does market some kits I consider to be missing a lot needed for the build, and some mistake those kits to be complete with everything needed but things like hardware and batteries can add up.
 

Wellbuilt

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Your battery will die a little every day they are not charged .
200 watts of panel and cheep 20 dollar charge controller = sitting in the dark in the woods .
 

ttf5003

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Jun 21, 2021
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Your battery will die a little every day they are not charged .
200 watts of panel and cheep 20 dollar charge controller = sitting in the dark in the woods .
I think that's a bit dramatic.

I have a camper at the same property that I have upgraded below:
Go power automatic transfer switch
Progressive dynamic charger
Bogart Engineering BMS and Solar Controller
Aims 1500w inverter
2 Interstate 6v Golf Cart Batteries from Costco.
2 100w Renogy Panels mounted flat on the camper roof

My family of 4 have been doing too many 2 or 3 day weekends up there over the past year to count.
Loads are
Water Pump
Fantastic Fan running nearly 24/7
Heat Fan sometimes (pretty big draw)
Electronic Controls for Propane fridge
Lights at night
Inverter so the kids can watch DVDs and TV while I'm working.

Lowest I've seen the batteries after a 3 day weekend is 72%. When I come up the following weekend the batteries are at 100%. Is my shed system optimal, no. And I will be running the inverter a lot more there instead of using native 12v things but I don't think I'll be blacked out after a 3 day weekend either.

I realize the biggest difference between the two systems is the Bogart Solar controller vs something cheap.
 

Wellbuilt

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it’s just math , your panels laying flat may not even get 100 watts . So 500 watts a day in June .
The longer the golf cart battery’s sit at 75% the more its power declines .
The costco battery’s like to be charger hard .
You need to make sure they are fizzing or they will slowly die
Most amis inverters I’ve seen use 50 watts just being on , 1200 watts a day
The charger needs a big generator they have poor power factor
my Makita and Milwaukee use 300 watts each so 600 watts a hour .
Good luck with your project😁
 

12VoltInstalls

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Did you buy all your stuff?

if not the 200W windyNation with P30L pwm is where I started. It did well, the pwm was fine. Rich solar 100W panels do well, too; I have four. I don’t know if Rich Solar has kits or a decent charge controller.
I bought the best reviewed “cheap” true sine inverter I could find: Giandel 1200W. 3 years no problems.

That was well under $500 snd did more than you intend to be asking of the setup.

That’s an inexpensive answer to your question.
 
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