So let’s set up the conditions for this project.
We’re both technical folks, currently Nathan works remote and Heather is working on other projects (like this blog) that require computer needs. We wanted a system to support a “mostly” normal lifestyle for us off the grid.
In correlation with designing our system, we did some calculating and came up with a basic “power needs” sheet, outlining most of what our power usage might be. Of course, things could change based on consumption needs or items we haven’t factored in.
I’m not going to go into line item details, but for a “normal” 24 hour day, we came up with:
7928.4 Watts, or 170.65 Amp Hours
After the calculations, we decided upon using the following core components:
- 10 – 180w Grape Solar panels (form factor is why we chose these)
- 2 – Victron Energy 150/100 SmartSolar Charge Controllers
- 2 – Victron Energy Quattro 12/5000/200-100/100 120V Inverters
- 2 – Victron Energy 12.8 LiFePO4 12.8V/300Ah Batteries
- 1 – Victron Color Control GX
The main reason we went with Victron is because of the connectivity and monitoring. Victron systems also tend to be pretty modular which will also allow us to expand or change our system as we may require.
We have 600 A/h total capacity with the two Victron batteries. At 90% usage (which is what these LiFePO batteries are rated to) we’ll have 540 A/h available to us.
This means, with a normal 5 hour solar day (which is what we normally fall under in our region) we could see 3.16 days of run time.
The idea wouldn’t be to hit 90% on a regular basis, we would like to keep our consumption lower to extend the life of our batteries.
We went with a 12V system because of ease of integration with the rest of our rig, expand-ability, and we aren’t afraid of working with big, thick wire. There were other options, of course, but, this is what works for us.
Here’s the roof diagram:
For those that are interested, here’s a PDF of the planned system diagram:
We bought most of our components through AM Solar in Springfield, OR. Mitchell, who works there, was and has been wonderful to work with, and has been very helpful and informative prior to and during our install. He looked over our diagrams and helped us work through our planning stages as we got nearer to what we needed to order.
When it came time to order, we knew we would be in the area, and we planned it so we could drop by and pick everything up versus having it shipped freight.
Here was how the panels and batteries made it home, we stuffed the rest in our pass through also:
We’ll follow soon with a few posts chronicling our install. It’s still in progress!
I may not get into serious details on these posts, but if anyone has any questions about any of this, please feel free to leave a comment or message us using the contact form.