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Amp-Hour Meter: Bogart Engineering, TriMetric

Batteries: Three Power PRC-12110X, 110 AH each at 12 V, wired for 330 AH at 12 VDC

Inverter: Exeltech XP250, 250 W, 12 VDC input, 120 VAC sine wave output

Inverter: Exeltech XP250, 250 W, 12 VDC input, 120 VAC sine wave output

DC Receptacles:

To 12 VDC loads

Note: All numbers are rated, manufacturers' specifications, or nominal unless otherwise specified.

DC Receptacles:

To 12 VDC loads

Note: All numbers are rated, manufacturers' specifications, or nominal unless otherwise specified.

create an adjustable angle arm that is attached to the pole with through-bolts. The bottom bolt can be inserted in three different hole alignments to permit seasonal altitude angle adjustments of 45, 60, and 70 degrees. I chose these angles to optimize winter production and prevent winter snows from building up. Three parallel 2 by 4 horizontal supports run east-west off the angle arm to hold the PV panels.

For my 100 watts of PV, I selected two Solarex SX50 modules, rated at just under 3 amps each, wired in parallel for a 12 volt system. Total wire distance from the PVs to the batteries just inside the house was about 24 feet (7.3 m), so I decided on #6 (13 mm2) wire to hold line losses close to 1 percent. On the back of the pole, under the angle arm, a combiner box joins the PV wires with the lightning arrestor and the two feeds from the ground rod and office.

Electrical Details

I put my system's electrical panel inside the office wall nearest the array. It includes a breaker box, main fused disconnect box, TriMetric meter, inverter, and two DC output jacks mostly for small battery charging. The standard, 100 amp, QO-6 breaker box is set up with four, single-pole breakers. On one breaker bar, the solar electricity is received via a 10 amp breaker, and then routed out through another 10 amp breaker to a Solar Converters, 8 amp, maximum power point charge controller.

From there, the PV input goes out to a 10 amp fuse and the disconnect before heading down to the 110 amp-hour Power AGM batteries. Battery output comes back up to a 30 amp fuse and the disconnect, and then into the breaker box, but on its other bar. A 25 amp breaker feeds an Exeltech, 250 watt, sine wave inverter, and a 10 amp breaker feeds two, DC output jacks. An unswitched feed to the answering machine is protected by a 2 amp in-line fuse.

PV System Costs

Item Cost (US$)

2 Solarex SX50 PV modules

$5SQ.QQ

Exeltech XP 250 inverter

DIY Battery Repair

DIY Battery Repair

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