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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm looking for a solar set up that will run a large sump pump. Eventually I want to do the entire house on solar- but for now- the most important thing (to prevent flooding) is to get that onto a backup. It's already wired into the generator- which is fine for a day or so- but if things get real ugly and fast- I want to get something in there asap to have that system on a reliable (and non fuel-reliant) backup.

Ideas? :) (I know a bit about solar, but I want the advice of those who are far more well versed than myself for this :) ) Thanks!
 

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I would be interested in this as well. I have one small solar panel that I use to charge a car battery. I use the battery to run my small inverters that can power my laptop, small water heater/cooker, fan (anything small voltage item).
I don't grasp the concept of the big solar panels and how to harness the power to run something like a microwave, sump pump or even a small t.v.

Thank you Mama Bear for bringing this up
 

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A backup type can be made from a 12 bilge pump.Tie the solar panel to a deep cycle battery,tie the battery to the pump.Most bilge pumps come with a float switch.The limiting factor is the amount of lift,how high the water must be raised to get it out of your basement. Ever think of mounting a handpump,outside,and just piping it into the sump?You'd have to maintain a watch,like pump it every X number of hours or minutes,depending on how heavy the flow is into the sump.It would give the kids something productive to do.
I'm not sure if it would be really efficient to consider solar to battery to inverter to AC power to sump pump.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
A backup type can be made from a 12 bilge pump.Tie the solar panel to a deep cycle battery,tie the battery to the pump.Most bilge pumps come with a float switch.The limiting factor is the amount of lift,how high the water must be raised to get it out of your basement. Ever think of mounting a handpump,outside,and just piping it into the sump?You'd have to maintain a watch,like pump it every X number of hours or minutes,depending on how heavy the flow is into the sump.It would give the kids something productive to do.
I'm not sure if it would be really efficient to consider solar to battery to inverter to AC power to sump pump.
Why would it not be efficient? I eventually want to power the entire house via solar- so if it generates more power- great. If it's not enough- then I need alternatives. We get enough rain here that a handpump would be constant slave labor round the clock which isn't an option....
 

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A lot of people fail to understand the sheer cost of a full household setup on solar. Even those places do not use the solar electricity for any heating or larger cooking appliances. The power drain is just far too high.

Few things off the top of my head...

Inverters... unless you invest in an expensive sine wave inverter, you may find some motors will not run well on them at all.

Solar panels... Brand names with full guarantees. The good ones will have an output guarantee for 20 or more years. Some cheap panels may only last a few years.

Batteries... now these people often forget about. A large bank of deep cycle batteries are expensive and need replacing after several years if used heavily or cycled too low too many times. They also need maintenance! Gotta keep them topped up with clean water. Most maintenance free batteries don't have the deep cycle or heavy load abilities of the deep cycle 'wet' lead acid's.

I have wondered about having spare batteries as they come packaged before they are sold on shelves. The empty Battery with the acid stored separately in bottles. As the older batteries wear down due to the lead plates degrading and / or the acid becoming too weak, you could assemble the new batteries. Guessing the acid won't degrade in the sealed bottles.
 

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Despite claims to the contrary, I've never found a battery dealer or even the statewide distributor that was able to supply real AE batteries DRY for storage. It would be GREAT if you could find them.

Here's what would be considered a mid size system that is powering a small (1,500 sq. feet) house that's off grid in the S.E.



Total system cost was just around $20,000. but $4,200.00 was a big 12kw diesel genset. Batteries have been changed once in the last 9 years, and that was due to someone not paying attention to directions and ruining the electrolyte in the batteries. Wasn't every long after that that bad cells started popping up.... Replacement cost in 03 was $3,000.00 for the battery bank. They have already got a better time span out of this 2nd bank, partially because they won't allow tards to "help" them with the battery bank anymore :taped: Costly mistake.

The changes I would make if doing it over again- now with the new MPPT charge controller technology I would definitely go that route instead of the standard charge controllers like the C40's. The genset is sized VERY large for this system. The upside of that being when power from the backup generator IS needed (which isn't much) the batts get charged VERY quickly. One reason why in 9 years they have only racked up 75 hours on the genset. They should probably "exercise" the genset for longer periods of time.

They'll be another video up in a while showing a simple AE system that's powering a hunting cabin. The total cost on this system was around $2,000. few less zeros are always a good thing huh?

If you already have a generator, you HAVE a power source. With the addition of a QUALITY inverter (one that will act as a CHARGER also, think Xantrex, Heart) and a battery bank, you can get started off grid.

One piece of advice, if your goal is to eventually go truly off grid, then plan for that. Wasting money on China Frieght panels, $99. "inverters" from Walmart, etc. is just that- a waste of money. Buy quality components that are designed for real AE use. The great thing about AE is that it's fairly "modular." You can get a small system setup with your genset as I mentioned above, then go back (as $$ permits) and add solar panels to it one or two at a time to reduce your dependence on the genset. Neat huh?

Lowdown3
 

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Hi MamaBear, you can certainly take a phased approach to going solar. Start small and expand. If you can give an idea of the power load you want to run initially I can prolly help you. eg. what is the pump voltage, how much current does it draw at startup & running, how many hours per day would it need to run etc. If you don't know these, say the make and model.

I have a full solar setup self-designed/installed and working fine for several years. It is true that the batteries have a finite life, mine are due to be replaced after 6 years.

I have lots of solar resource files; will start uploading them to the Survival Files section asap. Feel free to ask any questions - will help if I can.

Cheers, Herne
 
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