Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Solar's doing my head in

I'm in full-on negotiation mode at the moment, searching out the best prices for all the components we need for our solar system. I'm keeping track of it all in the World's Biggest Spreadsheet but seriously, my brain is going to burst soon I'm sure.

So far I'm looking at:

16 / Simax 250W monocrystalline solar panels - $245 ea from Low Energy Developments
24 / Surrette S-600 6V/600Ah lead-acid batteries - $597 ea from AtoZ Batteries
1 / SMA Sunny Island 5048 5kW inverter/charger - $3993 from TCK Solar
1 / SMA Sunny Boy 4000TL 4kW panel inverter - $1573 from SolarMatrix

Total so far for the components - $23,274 delivered, including GST.

Still to add to all that are AC and DC switchboards, mounting hardware for the panels, a vented battery box (which I'll build myself), wiring and fuses. Call that another $2,000. Then add another $1500 or so for light fittings, power points, switchgear, etc. With luck I'll see the whole thing installed for under thirty grand.

This gives us 4.0kW of panels (call it 3.0kW after transmission and conversion losses) and around 2.5kWh/day of battery capacity before we need to start the generator (10% discharge on the battery).

Geez, I hope that's enough!

At some point soon I need to stop thinking about this and start doing. The trouble is, the more I keep digging around on the Internet the better the prices I find. It's hard to know when to stop...

At least this week the weather is looking good - after about 4 or 5 weeks waiting I might actually finally be able to get my load of crushed rock delivered so I can get on with my tank stands. Friday should see a frenzy of activity - Savva the plumber should be on site to finish all the flashing and get a start on the solar hot water install, and Nenad the electrician will be back to complete the upstairs wiring rough-in and get stuck into the garage.

Then I've got stair treads to cut out of sleepers, garage doors to weld up clad and mount, tank stands to build, trenches to dig for water plumbing, water tanks to order and install... at least the days are going to start getting longer soon! Gotta look on the bright side :)

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