Feb 04 2016
Feb 04 2016
Dec 30 2015
Mar 31 2015
As the owner of a small solar installation company in Northeast GA, I constantly go through the design and decision making process with new customers. Buying a solar system is in a lot of ways like buying a car. You have lots of options, bells whistles, warranties, and reviews to wade through. Unfortunately, there aren’t nearly as many off grid battery based solar system specialists as there are car salesman. Few installers ever get the chance to work on battery systems. Inevitably, the size of the battery and type of battery is always a big concern. Choosing a solar battery is a big decision. There is a lot of conflicting information out there about batteries. When reading and researching you have to look at the date the article was written, solar technology changes constantly. Here’s some simple facts from a solar installer who owns and services his own 400 amp hour 48v battery bank.
- flooded lead acid (FLA) deep cycle batteries last twice as long in a situation where the battery gets used and can be maintained. Don’t just take my word for it, look at the spec sheets. Still don’t believe me, show me a golf cart, forklift, zamboni, floor scrubber, or any other large battery operated vehicle with a sealed battery.
- FLA are about half the price of sealed batteries
- FLA batteries are actually pretty easy to take care. Auto watering kits allow you to water a bank in less than 5 minutes. You can check SG’s like a scientist or equalize routinely, charger settings are very important but that should be setup correctly at system commissioning by your installer.
- A battery bank is not the only thing in your house that needs to be vented because of potentially explosive gases. Gas dryers, septic tanks, toilets, water heaters, stoves, fireplaces. C’mon folks, if it’s installed correctly it’s not a problem.
- If a battery can survive in a motor, it can probably live in a box on your property. Garages are a great place for a battery bank.
- most battery banks we install are between 400 and 800 amp hrs.
- We find most customers get through about 3 days before a 400 ah battery bank gets to 50%-60% SOC if there is no sun or charging source.
- Most customers run the same loads off a battery charged by solar. LED lights, fridge and freezer, well pump, electronics that plug in to an outlet, communication equipment, washing machine and dishwasher with no element.
- A good rule of thumb is 200 amp hrs per person for luxury solar
- battery worksheets are really confusing and stressfull
- It’s often better to spend money on a generator for battery charging than a larger battery bank.
- Opportunity loads are things you run when the solar has fully charged your battery and is passing directly through your system to your loads. You battery loves this.
It’s April 2015, as Elon Musk touts weekly of his new Lithium battery technology, and salt water batteries begin to come on the scene, we excitedly await a new technology to replace the flooded lead acid battery. Until, we see something that’s a better bang for your buck than the flooded lead acid deep cycle battery bank, we will keep doing what we know works for our customers and experimenting on ourselves and our family members. J/K
Give us a call to talk battery. 770.843.3497
Mar 19 2015
Another Gain Solar ground mount complete. The ground is a great place for solar panels. We installers prefer to work on the ground over the roof. It’s safer and easier. Your panels stay cooler on the ground, the mounts are stronger than the roof could ever be. You don’t have to worry about roof leaks or removing your system when you need your roof replaced. Wiring the array and maintaining the system are a breeze with easy access granted from a ground mount. Yes…. we love ground mount solar
Feb 28 2015
Attention Tiny house movement. Are you beating your head against the wall looking for a solar guy that can design you a tiny power system for your tiny house? Having trouble getting a straight answer or a call back the minute you mention off grid to a solar company? Your tiny house off grid power system is too small for most solar company’s tool fool with much less learn how to design (they don’t know how to do off grid!) They know they can’t make enough money off you anyway….
Gain Solar will custom design a solar power system for your tiny house and your tiny needs. We have lots of tiny systems out in the field already running telecom gear, boat lifts, water pumps, you name it. We will help you breakdown your energy usage into manageable blocks so that your tiny house dream can become a reality. Tiny houses are unique but their energy needs are pretty standard and not to different from those of a small cabin. We have off grid water system design specialists, tiny house builders, and solar guys ready to talk at ya! We can even get your tiny house built for you. We can sell you prewired solar power systems that are plug and play
- Tiny house off grid solar power system design/build and installation
- Tiny house water system/electrical consulting
- prewired tiny house solar power systems ready to go
- tiny house air conditioning
Call Gain Solar Today 770.843.3497
Jan 12 2014
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Dec 22 2013
Our local newspaper, the Gainesville Times interviewed my wife and I about prepping and all things solar. Solar energy can power a variety of devices in the preppers quiver. When it came time for my family to install a backup power system for our family property we went with a Grid Tied Battery Backup Solar Power System. The system sells power back to the power company in regular operation but keeps electricity flowing to a few outlets, the lights, a deep well pump, and refrigeration the moment the power goes out. A large rebate from Jackson Emc, the 30% Federal tax credit on residential solar, and falling prices of the solar panels made the system affordable compared to the cost of installing a gas, diesel, or propane generator. Not having to worry about smelly fuel going bad, running out of fuel, and the silent nature of the solar are just a few of the advantages the solar had over the generator.
Most of our “prepping” activities are just day to day life for us. We grow greens in the winter and fruiting vegetables in the summer. We try to put up any surplus, usually by dehydrating. We buy the grains, beans, and other staple foods that we know we will eat anyway in bulk. It’s cheaper in the long run and we always have food stores. We buy all our organic meat from local farms and friendly deer. We have at least 3 ways to get water out of our well, one of them is a Simple Pump Deep well hand pump. We have multiple ways to purify water(berkey water filter) and cook food (stovetec rocket stove), none of which require electricity.
I’m sure a lot of people prep because they are worried about the times. We prep because its fun, healthy, and feels natural!
Aug 03 2013
Good Home Design: Active solar vs. Passive Solar
There’s are a lot of solar terminology out there; solar flare, solar death ray, solar storm, passive solar, solar system, active solar. I’m talking about active and passive solar right now. Active solar systems are sophisticated electrical, mechanical, or plumbing systems that use the suns energy to create electricity or store heat. Most people think “solar panel” when they hear “solar”. Active solar is seductive technology. Passive solar is the workhorse of solar. A good passive solar design or renovation to your home is going to add far more energy and value to your home. It’s also cheaper. Passive solar homes have better insulation and window orientation that allows winter sun in to heat and shades summer sun for cooling. A passive solar home feels better to live in. It’s also no coincidence that passive solar design and good feng shui have a lot in common.
When I get called out to someones house to do a solar site visit, I’m not just looking for a spot to mount panels, I’m evaluating the whole solar resource. In many instances, adding solar panels to the home falls low on the list of energy saving projects for a home. Most of the homes I see are built without passive solar design in mind. People are blaring their air conditioners while the summer sun pours in or they are freezing in the winter because of their “view” from that big north window. Adding insulated curtains to a drafty window, a removable summer sunshade to to the exterior of a window, or in some case adding in a southern window can all be affordable solar projects to lower you power bill.
Sometimes I get called out to a job during early construction. They have the plans in hand, a “non passive solar design” already purchased from an architect, and they tell me to make it a solar house, or that they want to be “off grid”. Technically, it’s not too late to change the house design. You might spend a little money upfront changing your design but your energy savings will pay it off quickly. I know it’s frustrating when you’ve poured over house plans for months and now that you finally have a design they can both agree, the solar guy comes out to tell you it’s no good. Some people don’t want to hear my passive solar pitch. Such a tragedy, yet I’ve seen it so many times. All I wanted to do was move some windows around…..
Don’t get duped into believing that spending $30k on solar panels is the only way to add solar power and value to your home. Power that you don’t use is money saved and passive solar design will help you use less. Call me out for a straight shootin’ solar site visit. You might be living in a solar house and not even know it.