Friday, November 9, 2012

Putting together an off-grid solar system

I am in the process of sizing and ordering a solar power system for my pumps.  I have a 250w panel, and a charge controller and switch panel should come in the mail shortly.  I still need a battery, but I have one in mind from the local marine supply (Cabela's) that shouldn't cost too much.  This is all very experimental.  The solar supply companies charge a TON for these items, so I am piecing a system together from general DC power suppliers, mostly designed for boats and RVs.  If it works, it will prove that you don't need the word "solar" on the label of your components and therefore don't need to pay the premium for trendiness.  If it doesn't, the cost of the individual components isn't subtantial enough to be considered a waste.


  1. Sounds like a good plan but I would be wary of playing around with materials that have no guarantee of providing a working solution. Still, if the cost is something you're happy to absorb should things go awry then there is nothing wrong with a bit of experimentation.

    1. Thanks for the input. I have definitely thought about the possibility of it not working and I am prepared to accept the loss. The charge controller was $21 shipped and the fuse panel was $28 shipped. The battery and solar panel(s) are considerably more costly, but less likely to get fried. I am happy with my spending so far. Add another $100 for wires, connectors and disconnects, and I stand to see a pretty rapid payback. Considering what is would cost for romex, underground conduit, a 100-foot trench, plus GFCI connections inside the greenhouse, I am going to nearly break even from the start. Will update when (if) it all gets up and running. Cheers!

    2. Will defintely look forward to the update then. Sounds like you have gotten the cost well in-hand and it all does sound surprisingly cheap all things considered. Best of luck with it all!